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.

Time is running out for Israel to adapt

My latest column for New Matilda is about the realities facing the incoming Israeli government:

The ground is slowly shifting in international attitudes towards Israeli policies. But the longer Israel delays changing direction, the fewer options it will have, writes Antony Loewenstein

As the new Israeli Government under Benyamin Netanyahu begins its tenure, a small report in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz this week highlighted the reality of the situation in Palestine:

“Construction activity on West Bank settlements has increased in the transition period between the February general election and the formation of the new government, Ha’aretz has learned.

“One notable example is the extensive earthworks being carried out in preparation for the construction of a road to connect the settlement of Eli, north of Ramallah, with the Hayovel outpost Yuval, just south of the Arab city.

“The earthworks are being carried out on private land owned by residents of the Palestinian village of Qaryut. The mayor, Abd al-Latif Lavum, plans to submit a petition today to the High Court of Justice demanding the issuing of a stop order to the Civil Administration to halt the work.”

Such brutal facts make Netanyahu’s talk about “economic peace” — that is, reducing Israel’s economic pressure on Palestinians in the hope they will become more pliable if their stomachs are full — completely irrelevant.

Saeb Erakat, one of the leading Palestinian peace negotiators under President Mahmoud Abbas, virtually begged the Obama Administration in last week’s Washington Post to pressure the new Israeli regime to cease settlement building and engage seriously with the Palestinians.

Tragically, it is a forlorn hope, not least because it is being expressed by Fatah, a party, that has negotiated repeatedly with the Israelis for years and achieved absolutely nothing in return other than expanded colonies.

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert chastised his Palestinian opponents recently by claiming he “offered a deal that has never been offered by any Prime Minister in the history of the State of Israel. A deal that dealt with the heart of every problem”.

Talk is cheap in the Middle East. Only facts on the ground matter. And these facts, highlighted by human rights group Gisha, remain dire for the human rights of the imprisoned Palestinians.

Even the ineffectual European Union is warning the Netanyahu Government that it must not “walk away from the peace process”. Perhaps the EU should follow the lead of US diplomats who recently assessed Jewish settlement activity at an Israeli-occupied district near Jerusalem — a rare public examination of illegal colony expansion.

But this has all happened before. Washington calls the settlements “unhelpful”. Israel provides a spurious excuse and continues building. The Palestinians yelp that such moves “hinder” peace but have no power to stop it. The occupation deepens. A two-state solution, long professed as the ideal outcome by the Western world, becomes more unlikely — arguably impossible. One leading Israeli commentator now even argues that the Arab League initiative to bring the entire Arab world into peace with Israel could not now be implemented even if Israel agreed.

With notable exceptions, the global Jewish diaspora remains largely mute and therefore complicit in the process. One leading Jewish American leader, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman, now happily and unashamedly agrees Zionism is racism, on the basis that it is a valid form of nationalism like any other.

How is this being pro-Israel? Such questions were consistently asked during the recent Australian visit of American/Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper, including at his talk at Sydney University.

John Mearsheimer, co-author of The Israel Lobby, asked Jews this same question last week, demanding to know how their silence in the face of a Greater Israel narrative would allow the Jewish state to survive in the long-term.

One commentator on the post added a pithy response:

“The US should publicly state that for every Jewish Israeli living in one of those illegal colonies, one Palestinian will be allowed to return to Israel and reclaim his or her properties. We’d be pleasantly surprised at how fast the colonies disappear.”

As with the global financial crisis, waiting for America to provide leadership on this is a fool’s game. The creators of the mess are unlikely to find the best solutions to fix it. Although the Obama administration has indicated a few differences in policy to the Bush years — although not towards Afghanistan and Pakistan, continuing the disastrous drone-bombing of “terrorists” and infuriating the civilian population — it is far too early to tell whether the Middle East will change.

Veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, writing in the New Yorker, indicates that Washington is looking to improve its relations with Syria, reflecting the belief that this could be easier than negotiating with the Palestinians. Furthermore, Iran would then be isolated. But Hersh includes a key paragraph that demands attention, arguing that during January’s attack on Gaza the incoming Obama officials had no real issue with Israel’s bombardment:

“[T]he Obama team let it be known that it would not object to the planned resupply of ‘smart bombs’ and other high-tech ordnance that was already flowing to Israel. It was [retired Marine General and national security adviser candidate James Jones] who came up with the solution and told Obama, ‘You just can’t tell the Israelis to get out.'”

Change, indeed.

Political posturing which promises a new direction without delivering it is unhelpful at best and damaging at worst. It never ceases to amaze me how the Zionist faction of the mainstream Jewish community continues to write as if the “peace process” will continue, no matter who runs Israel or America.

Take the recent revelations of IDF human rights abuses during the Gaza war. The accusations are severe and warrant independent investigation. Human Rights Watch also released a report providing evidence that Israel illegally used white phosphorous on civilian areas.

Rather than react with horror, many Zionist spokespeople have attempted to smear the messengers, particularly the IDF soldiers making the accusations. David Horowitz, editor of the Jerusalem Post, worries that the global outrage against Israel is affecting Zionist resolve:

“The notion that the tried and true methods of anti-apartheid trade protest could be widely adopted against Israel in Britain and then Europe may seem unthinkable to some.

“But it is not unthinkable to those who are internalising the degree to which Israel is being demonised and delegitimised post-Operation Cast Lead, and the extent to which this process makes defending Israel uncomfortable even for those on that continent who do have the rare capacity to distinguish between legitimate criticism and distortion, manipulation and outright falsehood.

“Put simply, Israel has rarely looked this bad in European eyes.”

Some, such as a former chairman of the pro-settler Yesha Council, argue that simply setting up a PR ministry would solve the country’s image problems. The issue, dear Zionists, isn’t the message. The problem is your shocking behaviour.

But this is perhaps where hope may lie. Israel only knows the language of discrimination, humiliation and violence (witness its decision to worsen its treatment of Hamas prisoners held in Israel, in a pointless effort to pressure the group to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit). These moves have never worked and they won’t now. A policy of domination has proven a failure for years and yet the Zionist establishment wants to continue it.

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen argued last week that Hamas had to be engaged and that the US should abandon the practice it followed under Bush of no longer tolerating Israeli behaviour no matter what. In its editorial that paper also stated that Hamas had to be included in any Palestinian unity government.

Pressure on the Obama Administration to break with decades-old policies is rising. Even a growing number of American Jews want intense force placed on the Israelis, according to a study by progressive lobby group, J Street.

Talk about the one-state solution is also spreading, prompted by the stalling and obfuscation of the political and media elite. Meanwhile Jewish attacks against Arabs in Israel are soaring.

If the status quo is sustainable, I’d like to know how.

one comment ↪
  • Marilyn

    Well it is not and nor should it be. Israel is not and never has been a jewish state and neither should it be.

    Ant. By wiping out the 20% of the population that are not jews you are as bad as the zionists old sun and I know for certain you don't mean it.

    So don't say it.