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.

The many kinds of Jews

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the Jewish obsession with Israel. There is an unhealthy ability to defend the worst crimes of the Jewish state simply because many Jews deny they could have happened and then they create an Israel in their minds, a pure state that can really do no wrong. Delusion is another term for this. These people are seemingly incapable of getting past their ethnically-based prejudice.

Another side of Judaism, largely flourishing in the US, is how the religion is shifting in the modern age. A good friend now living in New York wrote to me today saying that during the upcoming Passover he would visit The City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism. What does this mean? Rabbi Peter Schweitzer from the congregation explained in 2003 about his beliefs. New York magazine from 2008:

On a recent chilly Friday night, a few dozen members of the City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism were gathered downstairs at the Village Community School on West 10th Street for Shabbat. For them, this is a monthly ritual that includes lighting candles and singing Jewish songs that have been carefully excised of a deity. “Where is my light?” asks the song “Ayfo Oree.” “My light is in me.” According to the congregation’s leader, the humanist rabbi Peter Schweitzer, who wrote much of the secular Shabbat service, as well as the lyrics and verse for the congregation’s life-cycle events like weddings, funerals, and bar and bat mitzvahs, Judaism is mostly a culture—religion is just one component. So he simply takes a red pen to the God parts. “We offer a different door in,” says Schweitzer. “One that doesn’t ask you to compromise your lack of beliefs.”

….

Schweitzer sees Humanistic Judaism as an obvious extension of a North American Jewry that is already highly secular—one that for decades has made “the deli a more significant cultural force than the synagogue.” Many secular Jews continue to feel a strong connection to their cultural roots. “Jews need a place to go, especially during high holidays, where they don’t have to check reason at the door,” he says. “This is honest religion. A real gift.”

Interestingly, according to the JTA, “Humanistic Judaism is a minor presence in Jewish life. Though sometimes called the fifth denomination of American Judaism, the main locus of growth is in Israel.”

The questions remain, however. Do these more liberal beliefs affect the moral compass of Jews when considering Israel? Do they remain silent over a war in, say, Gaza?

How compassionate and realistic are they? The only way to judge even the most liberal of Jewish people is how they respond to a situation such as the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Are they pained? Are they silent? How do their ideas about secular Judaism translate into understanding Palestinian suffering, Zionist oppression and war crimes?

It matters.

5 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    How about they have a brain snap and stop pretending there is such a thing as a secular jew and look at themselves as human beings.

    Then look at the hungry Palestinian child as a child and not a muslim.

    I just bet they might feel some compassion instead of the brutality that is so often displayed.

    Ant, remember the hatred so many felt for the "boat people"? Then they made friends with the Afghans, the Iraqis, the Iranians and Sri Lankans and millions of us forced the law to change.

    Now there is no hysteria or rage and it is accepted that 4 of the original Tampa mob should finally be accepted here.

    I am reading 1967 by Tom Segev which is a long and difficult book and it shows this hatred has been fostered for decades rather than face the reality.

    Jews were not the only people to die in WW11 and the Palestinians and arabs in general did not do it.

  • In response to "Marilyn":

    Of course there can be a secular Jew or even an atheist Jew, since Judaism is an ethnicity, not only a religion. The only correct interpretation of Israel as a "Jewish State" is the ethnic interpretation of the word "Jew" (otherwise Israel would be a theocracy, and all claims for its being undemocratic or racist would become irrelevant).

    There are Palestinians who are not Muslim, of course, and the Jewish-Muslim divide (if there is such a thing) is not a cause for the conflict.

    Besides, I've never seen such a misinterpretation of Tom Segev, but I suppose this is not surprising, under the circumstances and bias.

  • ej

    'Judaismm is an ethnicity, not only a religion.'

    Hello?

    Then where does one fit a non-ethnic Jew who has converted to Judaism?

    A significant proportion of contemporary Jewry is descended from non-ethnic Jews who converted to Judaism over the centuries, as in early (i.e. Christian calendar) days Judaism was a welcoming proselytising 'religion'.

    Moreover, nothing prevents theocracies being undemocratic or racist. On the contrary, the likelihood is that they will be both undemocratic and racist.

    nb from Uri Davis' Apatheid Israel (p.48):

    'Israel is a theocracy in that all domains pertaining to registration of marriage, divorce and death are regulated under Israeli law by religious courts.'

  • hey, i will be checking out their super secular seder– held several days after passover! will report back re gaza– an easy litmus -M

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