Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Checkpoint Zero

Despite the extensive coverage of the Middle East in the media, there is little understanding of the realities of the Israel/Palestine conflict. For example, does the average person realise that Israel illegally occupies Palestinian land?

In this sixtieth anniversary of the Jewish state’s birth, it’s more timely than ever to publicly discuss what is going on. A new play, Checkpoint Zero, currently showing in Sydney, is one such example of this process. Artistic Director Don Mamouney explains:

Not many people realize that the Palestinian Authority for example is largely controlled by Israel and in fact has very little authority or that Israel has imposed an apartheid like regime on Palestine. Daily life for Palestinians is one of constant frustration and humiliation. At every step their ability to carry out even the most commonplace activities are thwarted by closures, curfews and checkpoints backed
by a Kafkaesque labyrinthine bureaucratic system.

Checkpoint Zero celebrates the courage and obstinacy of the Palestinians and the many Jewish people both within and beyond Israel who have joined with them in their struggle for justice.

I saw the performance during the week and found it a moving experience. Although at times overly melodramatic, the stark and caged stage reminds the audience of daily life for Palestinians. It tells an unlikely though not unheard of love story between a female IDF soldier and a Palestinian male living in the West Bank. The struggles of falling in love are powerfully revealed, not least the fear of being caught.

The IDF soldiers are mainly portrayed as racist men and women who regard the Arab population as a continual threat, nothing more. As a Jew, it was at times painful to see this, though it’s undoubtedly true that one of the main purposes of the ongoing occupation is to humiliate and wear-down the Palestinians. Resistance is supposed to be seen as futile, and yet it continues. As it should.

The play doesn’t mention this fact, but Israel implements openly racist policies towards such “mixed” relationships. This from 2006:

Israel’s Parliament has passed a law preventing Palestinians who marry Israelis from living in Israel. The move was denounced by human rights organizations as racist, undemocratic and discriminatory.

Under the new law, rushed through yesterday, Palestinians alone will be excluded from obtaining citizenship or residency. Anyone else who marries an Israeli will be entitled to Israeli citizenship.

Now Israeli Arabs who marry Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza Strip will either have to move to the occupied territories, or live apart from their husband or wife. Their children will be affected too: from the age of 12 they will be denied citizenship or residency and forced to move out of Israel.

Checkpoint Zero lacks nuance in parts, but its overall message is a powerful one. Ultimately, Arabs and Israelis are far more similar than many would like to accept.

In my view, until Diaspora Jewry acknowledges the reality of their homeland and its actions, the situation is unlikely to change. US pressure must be forthcoming, but the Israel Lobby is currently determined to prevent any kind of peace deal between the two sides. Peace is bad for business.

I was glad that the play showed that some Jews are appalled by the actions of Israel and fight courageously against it.

one comment ↪
  • moshe

    Butt head the Arabist pawn spews more propaganda. Prior to the League of Nations Palestine Mandate of 1922, the peoples of the Middle East a non Arab empire ruled. When did thes so called Palestinians become exiled from their homeland, that butt head so blithely declares, " For example, does the average person realise that Israel illegally occupies Palestinian land?"

    The European Turks, its OK if they rule the Middle East but god forbid if Jews practice their Internationally recognized Rights of Self Determination and return unto the Homelands. Yo Butt Head, go marry an Arab woman I'll dance at your wedding and bless you to have many children.