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.

Some Jews like debate, while others, well…

The following letters appear in this week’s Australian Jewish News:

FORUM FOR DEBATE

I WAS dismayed that The AJN publisher decided that his readership was not entitled to (or capable of) making up its own mind as to events it wishes to attend (AJN 13/03). The AJN, or any other newspaper, should be a forum for debate and competing ideas, even those with which the publisher and many readers may disagree.

BEATIE PEARLMAN
Bondi, NSW

THE USUAL SUSPECTS

AS expected, the usual suspects are bleating about The AJN’s decision not to publish details of Jeff Halper’s speaking engagements in Australia, but as usual their objections are misplaced (AJN 13/03).

From The Independent and The Guardian in the United Kingdom, to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, the Left has a surfeit of newspapers willing to promote the ideologies it subscribes to. And together with an equally friendly electronic media and an endless supply of blogs, there is certainly no shortage of outlets available for them to share their particular view of the world.

But by the same standard, The AJN has every right to publish, or not publish, whatever it views as being connected to and of interest to its core audience, in this case, the mainstream Jewish community.

Prof Halper appeals to a vocal community of Israel-haters, both Jewish and non-Jewish, many of them virulent anti-Semites. His Jewish supporters who complain about censorship should understand that most of us don’t particularly want to hear from a handful of Jews who get their thrills by advocating for Israel’s enemies, and who also receive disproportionately more media space than they ever deserve.

ALAN FREEDMAN
St Kilda East, Vic

NO CREDIT

THE headline of your editorial in last week’s Australian Jewish News “Shul should cancel academic’s visit” brings no credit on your paper or the wider Jewish community (13/03).

It is most unfortunate that the Emanuel Synagogue has felt obliged to deny a Jewish venue for members of the Jewish community to hear and debate Professor Jeff Halper’s views.

Denying Jewish space to an Israeli voice critical of the Israeli occupation has brought down on our community only widespread criticism.

The editorial in The Sydney Morning Herald of March 13 was an example. These ill-conceived actions have given Prof Halper’s visit widespread publicity.

Let the breeze of robust debate on Israel blow through our community and drive out the atmosphere of fear. Let us rid ourselves of this malaise that is so harmful to our communal health.

VIVIENNE PORZSOLT
For Jews Against the Occupation

SINGLING OUT ISRAEL

HOUSES in Australia that have been built without permits are knocked down every day. This is standard practice in all democracies, so one must ask: why single out Israel?

The simple answer is hatred.

With Israel it’s even more complex, as Arabs are building on land they don’t even own.

A recent article in The Jerusalem Post pointed to a huge acceleration in illegal Arab housing on unused Jewish National Fund property. Clearly these will ultimately have to be removed too.

The problem is not with Israel, but with those who thumb their noses at Israeli law and property.

I don’t think it paranoid to say these lectures are part of a strategy to unfairly delegitimise Israel by parties seeking Israel’s destruction. It’s sad that we find people who were born Jewish at the vanguard of these efforts.

You would think that one need look no further than the fact that Prof Halper believes that Israel sits at the centre of a right-wing conspiracy to establish American-Christian hegemony over the entire world.

How can any shul, seeing this irrational rewrite of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, even consider allowing this kind of bigotry to sully its halls (AJN 13/03)?

MORRY SZTAINBOK
Bentleigh, Vic

DEFINITION OF A SHUL

I ALWAYS thought that a synagogue is a house of God, a place to pray, or to meditate perhaps.

How wrong I was. It seems that it can also be turned into a venue of political debates (AJN 13/03).

To all those learned academics, who so loudly criticise Israel, I only have one suggestion: please move to Israel, preferably to Sderot, and then voice your loud accusation from there. I do not know of any other nationalities that criticise their own countries from abroad.

Being a Holocaust survivor, I wish to remind all those outspoken persons against Israel, that the Holocaust would not have happened had we had Israel in 1939.

I hope it will go on existing forever.

HELEN LEPERERE
Elsternwick, Vic

WITNESSING HALPER

I ATTENDED Professor Jeff Halper’s evening lecture at the University of Melbourne on March 11, and now fully understand his value as a skilled propagandist for his anti-Israel pro-Palestinian hosts.

In front of a packed hall, he denounced Zionism and used conspiracy theories to argue that the US uses Israel as a “laboratory for urban warfare, for cutting-edge counter-insurgency and the training of police worldwide, which is a slippery slope for all our freedoms”.

He claimed Israel had no interest in peace, having rejected Palestinian offers, and used concerns about security as a tool of racist repression.

He espoused his theory of “matrix of control” to compartmentalise the Palestinians into apartheid cantons for easy control. At no time did he acknowledge any serious threats from Palestinian terrorism or Hezbollah and Iran.

Prof Halper used selective photos of Israel’s security barrier, referring to it only as “the wall”, whose purpose he stated was “to surround and lock in Palestinians”. He omitted to mention the need for the barrier, and when he did show one photo of the fence, he stated it was dangerously “electrified” rather than electronic with sensors.

While Prof Halper acknowledged that 90 per cent of Israelis had supported the recent Gaza operation, he implied that they were all either mad or morally bankrupt. He avoided discussing events leading up to and necessitating the operation.

Without any challenges to his toxic views, it was clear from the enthusiastic applause at the end, and money collected for his work, that he had succeeded in promoting his sinister anti-Israel agenda to this receptive audience.

MARY WERTHER
Camberwell, Vic

OUTRAGEOUS EXCLUSION

IT is outrageous that Robert Magid, the publisher of The AJN, pulled advertisements for Jeff Halper’s talks because he doesn’t like the pro-Palestine groups that hosted him, including Independent Australian Jewish Voices, with whom I also have strong differences (AJN 13/03).

While The AJN is a private business, it presents itself as an authoritative journal and as a responsible newspaper to the Jewish and Australian community.

It should not engage in censorship of talk, i.e. free speech about Israel by people knowledgeable about Israel.

If the newspaper will take advertisements from all sorts of right-wing, pro-occupation causes, in the interests of balance, it should allow advertisements for other viewpoints.

Prof Halper has deep concerns about the land where he has chosen to live.

Prof Halper is provocative and pulls no punches in his criticism of the occupation and the current policies of the Israeli government, and believes that the population is being manipulated so as to justify iron-fist policies.

It is clear that he cares deeply about Israel’s future, though his vision is one that not all people would agree with, but it is far from the demonisation presented by “official” spokespersons.

He is also critical of the current Palestinian leadership and terrorism, and offered a detailed alternative vision for Palestinians to consider. He is a proponent of non-violence and a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

LARRY STILLMAN
Elwood,
Vic

DISAPPOINTING COMMENT

I WAS disappointed to read comments by AJN publisher Robert Magid in The Sydney Morning Herald (12/03), where he disparaged members of the “dissident” group, Jews Against the Occupation.

Magid accused members of using “their Judaism to bash other Jews and issues associated with the Jewish community”.

Just how well does Magid know me? I am a member of the “dissident” Jews Against the Occupation.

I am also an elected member of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the official voice of the NSW Jewish community.

I am also a member of my local synagogue and active in our social justice committee.

None who are truly familiar with me and the work I do would accuse me of using my Judaism to bash other Jews or our community.

Rather, they understand that despite alternative political views, I am fighting to have a progressive voice heard in our community.

Our community, like all others, is made stronger by our diversity, and Magid would do well to remember that.

ANGELA BUDAI
Roseville, NSW

LOVE ISRAEL, HATE CENSORSHIP

I AM a member of the small Torah class referred to in your article “Divide over shul hosting Israel critic” (AJN 13/03), whose conversation with Prof Halper was cancelled.

Please know I hold dear the existence of Israel and also hold dear the right to hear and debate a diverse range of views on a diverse range of topics without censorship. I would like to think these are not mutually exclusive.

LOUISE HYMAN
Double Bay, NSW

BEWDY BOB

I AGREE with the published remarks of AJN publisher Robert Magid in the SMH last week when asked why he pulled the advertisement by the group, Jews Against the Occupation, regarding the visit by Professor Jeffrey Halper (AJN 13/03).

Good on you, Robert. I am sure that the vast majority of the Jewish community agrees with you as well.

BENNO PERLMAN
Bondi, NSW

EXTREMIST VIEW

JEFF Halper has come to Australia making little attempt to disguise his intention to demonise and delegitimise Israel.

His views are not those of Shalom Achshav or Meretz, which offer legitimate leftist views within the Israeli camp.

He does not seek a peaceful two-state solution. He believes in and speaks regularly for a one-state solution, and that state would not be a Jewish state.

It would be an imposed solution that respects neither Jewish nor Palestinian national aspirations.

The dishonesty of this view lies in its pretence that such a “solution” would be peaceful and would not rapidly deteriorate into a bloody civil war that is in nobody’s interest. Ultimately, the two peoples would again have to be separated.

It is precisely for these reasons that for more than 60 years, a two-state solution is the only solution that has received endorsement from the international community, from Israel and, since 1993, from large sections of the Palestinian people.

Prof Halper is a polemicist, not an analyst. He certainly has nothing to say about the Jewish or Israeli right to human rights.

All that said, he has the right to be heard, but not in a sacred Jewish space.

And no-one has an obligation to provide him with a platform to express his views. As a member of Emanuel Synagogue, I am glad my shul has not lined up with the motley collection of Israel-haters who are his sponsors.

DAVID D KNOLL
Coogee, NSW

TOTALITARIAN PAPER

THE AJN’s rejection of advertisements promoting Israeli Professor Jeff Halper’s recent visit to Australia has brought to attention the totalitarianism that has enveloped our community and its weekly newspaper (AJN 13/03).

Professor Halper is a distinguished scholar with a perspective that is at odds with many in the leadership of mainstream communal institutions.

Is that not a reason to welcome him into our community to listen to his perspective and engage in dialogue and debate? Are we to assume that Jews in Australia are somehow not intelligent enough to be exposed to views that might challenge their own?

And is it not the very role of journalists and the press to continually confront us with an array of opinions?

Perhaps rather than demonise those with whom we disagree, a more appropriate course of action would be to engage them. No doubt there will be those who will argue that Professor Halper alienates many with his language and his politics, but how would they know? They refuse to hear him out.

Whether or not you subscribe to the politics of scholars such as Prof Halper, this is indeed a dark chapter within our community. What happened to the balance that The AJN is always championing?

Clearly, this newspaper believes that freedom of expression extends only to those that agree with its nefarious politics.

DAVID SLUCKI
Caulfield South, Vic

7 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    What a bunch of whining creeps. Listen up. There are 120,000 jews in Australia so why don't you all shut up and stop screaming at the rest of us.

    As for homes being demolished in Australia because they don't have permits, what utter bollocks.

    Israel is not entitled to grant permits to Palestinians to build their homes on their own land and is certainly not entitled to bulldoze them just because they want to judaize the land.

    You ignorant people. Wander off and try to bulldoze your neighbours home for the fun of it and see how far you get.

    Whether you like it or not the West Bank does not belong to Israel and it never has.

    I cannot begin to express my disgust for the belligerent, blinkered whiners here and I congratulate those who stand up to their bullying bullshit.

  • ej

    Alan Freedman is clearly a fruit loop (witness his always disgusting letters that he manages to get published at the drop of a hat).

    The Independent, the Guardian, the SMH and the Age as anti Israel (which he makes synonymous with being 'left')?

    What a joke? All four newspapers are pro-Israel; they just happen to be more sophisticated about it than, say, the NYT. AFter all, the Guardian has the useless Jonathan Freedland as resident (lite) Zionist; the INdependent the execrable Howard Jacobson; and Fairfax kowtowed to the local lobby by installing the green behind the ears Jason Koutsoukis in Jerusalem, while continuing to print the usual Zionista heavyweights on their opinion pages without offsetting counterparts (e.g. Rubinstein in the SMH yesterday).

    As for Halper's sympathetic listeners being anti-Semites, this is a contemptible slur.

    Then again, there is the venality of Morry Sztainbok, who opines that house demolitions are fundamentally legitimate. Just like the theft of Jewish property by the Nazis, eh? Arabs building on 'unused' Jewish National Fund property! What world do these people inhabit?

    Do they read anything, know anything?

    As previously mentioned, who gives a rat's arse about 'debate' in the Australian Jewish community, when large sections of it (and those who preside over all official organisations) have clearly lost their marbles and their humanity and stump ardently for ongoing ethnic cleansing.

    Israeli criminality has to stop. The main game is to ensure that these local flunkeys for ethnic cleansing are reduced to impotence.

    Then they can continue to bleat in the AJN about their righteous calling but nobody will give a shit.

    In the meantime, these lowlife continue to disenfranchise my voice by tying down the gutless people who run the Party machines on both sides of politics.

  • ej

    Given that the pro-Israel lobby debases both the rules of language and its usage as a vehicle for functional social intercourse, it becomes dysfunctional to engage with the pro-Israel lobby, period.

    Humour may be the only weapon. Hence the merit of this letter in today's British The Independent:

    "Following Israel's self-appointment as the world's most moral army, may I appoint myself as the world's greatest lover. When after five minutes this claim is questioned and then ridiculed, I will aggressively question your editorial standards and bias."

    Chris O'Donoghue Epsom, Surrey

  • paul walter

    Hmm…

    The letters we instructive, but to me as exemplary of the wider Western crisis of confidence and morale, as to imperialism, colonialism and neocolonialism for those challenged by its reality as to the lives of millions of victims world wide.

    The US propagandises so intensely that it has itself lost touch with reality on the constant diet of its own myths and fantasies. Israel is just the West writ small.

    Here in Australia, despite a change of government, we continue apace with the "harmonisation" of our interests,laws, policies and viewpoint with our allies (masters?) despite issues of practicality and morality. To watch our own politicians in action is to discover the true resulting de(a)basement that is our own complicity in world tyranny.

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