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.

Gaza: where to from here?

My latest column for New Matilda is about the likely future for Gaza and the conflict:

Now that the shelling is (mostly) over, it’s clear that Israel has achieved the exact opposite of its objectives in Gaza, writes Antony Loewenstein

Palestinians are slowly emerging from the rubble of their lives in Gaza. Credible stories have come to light of Israeli troops wilfully destroying homes, bulldozing entire blocks and leaving offensive graffiti on walls such as, “We came to annihilate you”.

Last weekend Defence Minister Ehud Barak called the IDF the “most moral army in the world“. The victims of Israeli aggression may disagree. The President of the French section of Médecins Sans Frontières has written that “it is difficult to recall a comparable slaughter of civilians in so little time.”

The state of the long-term stand-off between Israel, Egypt and Hamas remain unclear, though a period of relative calm now appears likely.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Israeli TV on the weekend that she fully supported the Gaza onslaught and believed that nearly all the goals of the campaign had been met. “The operation in Gaza was very important to me,” Livni said. “I supported it and I convinced [others] to go through with it.”

But what was really achieved? Hamas remains in control of the strip, its ability to fire rockets is largely intact and the US-backed Fatah is weaker than ever. The Islamists, like Hezbollah after the 2006 Lebanon war, will be instrumental in rebuilding Gaza, despite the opposition of the Western world. Even the Israeli residents near the border with Gaza don’t believe the war achieved very much. It was, wrote Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy, an “utter failure” on all levels. Much of the Western media, locked out of the war zone, seem to agree.

In Israel, only a handful of prominent Israelis are publicly wondering how Jews have become utterly indifferent to Palestinian suffering.

Much of the 3 per cent of Gazan industry still operating after the 18-month Israeli blockade has been destroyed, revealing the true intent of the bombardment: the deliberate impoverishment of an occupied people and their indefinite reliance on international aid.

The Independent‘s Patrick Cockburn visited the West Bank last week and found a strong belief among the Palestinian people that Hamas is now the only resistance party able to stand up to Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been negotiating with the Americans and Israelis for years and achieved nothing. One leading Fatah leader said that the “era” of Hamas began on 27 December, the first day of Israel’s offensive against Gaza.

A growing number of international legal experts are demanding that Israel pay a price for its indiscriminate attack on Gaza and face trials for war crimes. Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, described the sealing of Gaza to ensure nobody could leave, including civilians, as a “distinct, new and sinister war crime”.

The Israeli Government has granted legal aid to any IDF troops charged with Gaza war crimes, but the Jewish state can expect an avalanche of suits across the world.

“As far as the international arena is concerned, Israel is entering what is probably its darkest era,” a Jerusalem source told Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. “The Palestinians and their friends will try to make Israel look like a leper, like China looked after the Tiananmen Square massacre (of 1989), or like Serbia did under (former president Slobodan) Milosevic.”

A recent headline in Haaretz was startling in its honesty: “How IDF legal experts legitimised strikes involving Gaza civilians“. The head of Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, was scathing in his assessment of Israel’s war, arguing that the Jewish state seemed determined “to make Gazans suffer for the presence of Hamas — a prohibited purpose for using military force.”

Aside from prima facie evidence that war crimes were committed (including the Hamas firing of rockets into Israel), Israel finds itself isolated like never before. Pro-Israel British politicians can see the writing on the wall, exasperated that there is a “frenzy of hostility” towards Israel. Western ambassadors are warning that Israel’s image has been irrevocably harmed after the murder of hundreds of children during the conflict. Even last weekend’s American 60 Minutes feature on the Israel/Palestine issue harshly condemned the illegal occupation and highlighted the impossibility of a two-state solution.

The way forward is clear. Hamas must be engaged immediately (its leader Khalid Mashaal said last week that his group could not be ignored and had “gained legitimacy through struggle”). The Middle East schism has widened, with the US-backed “moderates” on one side — Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia — and the so-called resistance groups on the other — Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah. Even one of the “moderates”, Saudi Prince Turki, a former ambassador to the US, wrote last week that unless Israel and the US radically changed their relationship with the Palestinians, a “jihad” against the Jewish state would be launched.

Instead, the candidates in Israel’s upcoming election, on 10 February, have excelled at ignoring these realities. All of the main candidates view the Palestinians in an equally demeaning way, with the likely next prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, telling Tony Blair last weekend, “I will have to meet the needs of natural growth in the population. I will not be able to choke the settlements”. Netanyahu would prefer to impress the Wall Street Journal by beating his chest about “terrorists” in Iran, Gaza and Lebanon.

The role of the Obama Administration is central to all these negotiations but the initial signs are far from encouraging. Although the appointment of George Mitchell as a Middle East envoy has upset some elements in the US Zionist lobby (who feel that he has been too “even-handed” towards the major parties in the past), the early statements by Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mitchell himself suggest a business-as-usual approach.

Talking peace is a fine thing, but a Palestinian state is a pipe-dream until Israel’s occupation is addressed. As Haaretz journalist Amira Hass wrote during the war, history did not begin with the Qassam rockets launched against Israel.

If President Obama is really serious about resolving the conflict, as opposed to merely talking about it, like virtually every president over the last 60 years, new directions are needed. The Bush doctrine of excluding “extremists” must be reversed. It hasn’t only failed it has emboldened more radical elements in the region. The pragmatic side of Hamas — exemplified by their acceptance of a two-state solution and displayed consistently by various media outlets — must be embraced. Without this, Palestinian disunity — which has been a key aim of Israeli and American policy, but brought disastrous results — will continue.

The Jewish state has chosen a path that guarantees opposition. The boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign has been strengthened by the Gaza war. For example, Oxford City Council has endorsed boycotting Israeli products and companies and many students and lecturers in Montreal have launched a campaign to begin an academic boycott of Israel.

This tide is set to strengthen worldwide.

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