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.

Salute to Israel 2009

My following report was published on Mondoweiss today:

Last year I was told a story about a friend’s visit to Israel on the Birthright program. After visiting Auschwitz and waving the Israeli flag, his group were shown around Israel. One night they were in the Jordan Valley and as the sun was setting a guide decided to role-play as a Palestinian from the West Bank (the group had not visited the Palestinian territories nor spoken to any Arabs on the trip.)

The guide, playing a Palestinian, told of certain hardships in the West Bank due to the occupation but said he understood why Israel had to implement such a tough “security” regime because his brother was a “terrorist” who wanted to kill Jews. The only “interaction” with Palestinians for these young Jews was with an Israeli Jew who was role-playing.

I was reminded of this during Sunday’s Salute to Israel march through central New York. 100,000 Jews paraded in the streets held under the banner of Tel Aviv’s 100th anniversary. The parents of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit also attended. Arabs and Palestinians didn’t exist; they were invisible. The world’s biggest public display of pro-Israel feeling had no room for 20 percent of the Israeli population (let alone the millions in the West Bank and Gaza.) Like the Birthright tour, mainstream Zionism wants to completely shield Jews from the uncomfortable facts of the Israeli occupation and Palestinian self-determination.

3586422027_2081554a60 The event was thoroughly disheartening . Young Jews and old, colourful floats, countless Israeli and American flags, fans with the tag line, “I’m an IDF fan” (in support of Friends of the Israel Defence Forces, pictured right with the author) and t-shirts advertising Israeli airline El-Al. Flyers were distributed celebrating kosher food, the hardline Zionist group Stand With Us and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Some marchers carried small signs with a picture of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the words, “Have you seen Gilad Shalit?” New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer marched down the road alongside friends waving signs with his name.

The sheer organisational firepower was awe-inspiring, though it was hard not to conclude that the participants were largely going through the motions. They may have loved Israel, but it wasn’t a real country, rather an abstract nation in the Middle East that defended democracy, human rights and freedom (I’ve discussed this Jewish psychosis in the past). How many of these Jews had ever visited the West Bank and Gaza, other than as IDF soldiers? Were they even mildly concerned with Jewish-led pogroms in the West Bank?

The Bruce Springsteen song, ‘Born in the USA’, blared in both English and Hebrew, but the irony was tragic. Jewish immigration to Israel has virtually stopped, so the vast majority of Jews in the West have no interest in moving to the self-described Jewish state. Instead, billions of taxpayer dollars are spent on maintaining an illusion; a garrison state with a ghetto-mindset. The American Jews at Sunday’s parade were happy to have their comfortable lives in multi-cultural America but seemed to have no problem backing a country that proudly discriminated along racial lines.

My American friend attended the parade a few years ago and told me that there was a special section for the “counter-protest.” This year, behind many separation barriers on 5th Avenue, stood no more than 30 Jews, Palestinians and others loudly opposing the march. I entered the cordoned-off area and mingled with them. One Jewish woman in her 70s, holding a sign with murdered Palestinian and Lebanese children and the words, ‘The IDF at work: Beirut 2006 and Gaza 2009’, told me that she was deeply pained by the rally. Israel, she said, “is not [Albert] Einstein; it’s not [Martin] Buber; it’s not Judaism.” I asked why more Jews and Palestinians hadn’t come and she muttered something about organisational issues. A lone Moroccan man held a Palestinian flag and paced back and forth in the police-cordoned area.

Around 20 Jewish protestors, clearly unable to handle the sight of critics, shouted abuse at the Muslims and Jews peacefully protesting the rally. Only a separation barrier divided the groups.

A handful of Muslims stood against the masses (including one with the disturbing sign, “Close Guantanamo Bay. Re-Open Auschwitz”) but the bulk of the counter-protest were members of the anti-Zionist, Jewish Orthodox group Neturei Karta. Heavily bearded men in their 20s and up (including a survivor of the Holocaust, I was informed), the global organization controversially (and in my view, mistakenly) attended the 2006 Holocaust Conference in Tehran. I’ve always held a grudging respect and skepticism of the organization, men seemingly unafraid to speak their minds and endure ridicule in the process.

A Haredi Rabbi and spokesman for the group, Yisroel Dovid Weiss, spoke to me for around 45 minutes. While some of his colleagues shouted to the crowd that Israel was a “Nazi state” – the Neturei Karta have stated that, “What we want is not a withdrawal to the ’67 borders, but to everything included in it, so the country can go back to the Palestinians and we could live with them” – Weiss rationally explained why Israel and Zionism had “brain-washed” the Jewish people. It was only God, he believed, who could grant a state to the Jews (or anybody else.) He seemed hurt that many protestors in the parade told their children not to even speak to the Neturei Karta. They seemed perfectly harmless, if eccentric, to me.

Wearing a “Free Palestine” badge, a black coat, white shirt and black hat, Weiss argued that Zionism was the “work of Satan”. His religious fervour, though calmly argued, was irreconcilable to my own beliefs, but his understanding of the Israeli occupation was informed and moving. “When soldiers harass women and children at checkpoints”, Weiss said, “this helps hate and breeds suicide bombing. What do we expect in return?” He had just returned from Iran, where he said his group had been building alliances with like-minded organizations. In times of crisis, strange bedfellows occur. They tirelessly visit university campuses and speak to anybody who’ll listen. They see it as God’s will to spread the message. Weiss invited my Jewish friend and me to a Friday night Sabbath.

Weiss revealed the physical attacks his members experienced in the US and Britain and articulated the reasons why a global boycott on Israeli products was just and necessary (a position shared by his colleague in Manchester).

Weiss compared Israel’s hopeful decline to the USSR and South Africa, two states that eventually collapsed under their own repression, internal contradictions and economic isolation. He held hope that because this conflict was a racial, not religious, struggle, outside pressure would hasten its conclusion.

I didn’t for a second presume that Weiss represented a mainstream view, but his sympathy for Palestinian suffering, caused by Israeli aggression, was deeper than many liberal Jews. A crazed nationalism has captured the hearts and minds of the Zionist community. Even as a strongly atheist Jew myself, I empathised with Rabbi Weiss’s humanity.

The march petered out around four hours after it started but the parade never seemed to end. Marching bands practiced in the streets alongside 5th avenue. Floats waited for their cue. Israeli flagpoles were twirled. Participants would have gone home with a satisfied feeling that Israel had been defended one more day in the world’s most influential Jewish Diaspora city. In many ways, attempts to isolate Israel probably only harden the resolve of the country’s staunchest backers.

But until the realities of the conflict seep into the minds of mainstream Jewry, parades will only reinforce the unspoken truth; Israel cannot sustain itself on Herzl’s “dream” for much longer.

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