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.

Where to now for Jewish America?

My latest column for New Matilda is about the American Jewish community and its inability to see the writing on the wall regarding Israel:

In the US, moderate Jewish voices on the Middle East are gaining strength, but many American Jews are still reluctant to criticise Israel, writes Antony Loewenstein

During the “Salute to Israel” parade in New York in May, over 100,000 Jews marched in solidarity with the Jewish state. It was an awesome sight of organisation, dedication and passion. But something was missing: Arabs and Palestinians were near invisible. There was no room for that 20 per cent of Israel’s population or for the millions in the West Bank and Gaza. There was, however, a handful of protesting Arabs, dissident Jews and ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta.

Last Sunday’s Tel Aviv beach event in New York’s Central Park — a massive amount of sand was flown from Israel to re-create the “fun” of the country’s biggest city — was equally devoid of Arabs or Palestinians. As one protester’s sign at that event read, “When do we Jews notice that Israel is insane?”

Both events are symptomatic of the challenges facing the world’s largest Jewish Diaspora community.

I’ve been in the US for the last month speaking to a range of individuals about the shifting relationship between Israel and Washington (see Tony Judt’s piece this week in the New York Times). Something is afoot and it’s worrying the establishment.

Executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, said recently that the US President’s “strongest supporters among Jewish leaders are deeply troubled by his recent Middle East initiatives, and some are questioning what he really believes.” He was horrified that any US leader would demand Israel cease settlement building or even empathise with Palestinian suffering. Hoenlein offered no alternative solutions, presumably endorsing indefinite continuation of the status-quo: Israel ruling over millions of Palestinians.

The extremes of the debate remain alive but the voices of realists are getting an increasing amount of air-time. Tony Judt, commemorating Israeli journalist Amos Elon in the New York Review of Books, argues that Zionism has “been corrupted into an uncompromising ethno-religious real estate pact with a partisan God, a pact that justifies any and all actions against real or imagined threats, critics, and enemies”. Jewish-led pogroms in the West Bank are just one indication that Judt is right.

Meanwhile, Noam Chomsky told me in Boston last week that he doubted America’s relationship with Israel would fundamentally change (a point he made directly after Obama’s speech in Cairo). His cause for pessimism was the separation rhetoric from reality. “What Israel and America will likely continue to do is what [former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert] called ‘convergence’; take over what they want, take over everything inside the separation wall and let everybody else rot.” This week’s announcement of more illegal, West Bank settlements supports this theory.

Chomsky challenged me on my description of the situation in Palestine as apartheid. He claimed that the bad days of South Africa are not a good analogy because “the situation there was far more humane. In South Africa, the government and population relied on black labour, so they kept the Bantustans up and developed them to an extent because they were crucial. Just like how slave owners fed their slaves. In Palestine, the situation is different. They [the Israelis] don’t want the Palestinians, nor do they care about them. They don’t really rely on them anymore and they don’t need them for labour. They get cheap labour from Thailand or Romania. That’s what’s taking place.”

Chomsky told me that it was likely that the occupation would continue indefinitely, “as much as you can predict anything in foreign affairs”.

It is a view echoed by a leading American intellectual from a completely different school of thought. John Mearsheimer, American professor of political science at the University of Chicago, wrote the following in the American Conservative magazine in May:

“The United States and Israel fundamentally disagree about the need to establish a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel. President Obama is committed to a two-state solution, while Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is opposed and has been for many years. To avoid a direct confrontation with Washington, Netanyahu will probably change his rhetoric and talk favourably about two states. But that will not affect Israel’s actions. The never-ending peace process will go on, Israel will continue building settlements, and the Palestinians will remain locked up in a handful of impoverished enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza. Anticipating this outcome, Obama has told Congress to expect a clash with Israel.”

Mearsheimer told me this month that his thesis remains accurate. “At a rhetorical level, Obama has introduced change that no-one really anticipated, including me”, he said. “He’s been very tough on the Israelis rhetorically, but the proof of the pudding is in policy. What matters are facts on the ground. Is he willing to get tough with the Israelis when they’re expanding the settlements? Will he get tough on the Israelis when they’re not serious about creating a viable, Palestinian state? My guess is that Obama will back off and the Israelis will prevail. And in large part the [Zionist] lobby will make it impossible for Obama to put serious pressure on Israel.”

We discussed at great length the likely trajectory of the Middle East conflict and Mearsheimer said that he believed “apartheid” was the right word to describe the situation, “a position I share with Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak. Both of them have said in the last year that if there is no two-state solution, Israel will end up in a South African-style situation. I think one could make an argument that Israel is already an apartheid state. This would be a disaster for Israel and I don’t understand for the life of me why Benjamin Netanyahu and his hawkish allies in Israel and the US don’t understand that the two-state solution is the best outcome for Israel.”

But a change in American Jewish thinking is equally important. “It is essential that the Nakba narrative be acknowledged”, writes Jewish blogger Phil Weiss. “We know how vital it was to Jewish liberation in America in my generation to have the Holocaust recognised.” The Palestinians are rightly waiting for a similar moment.

Yet something is stirring. Jewish writer Eric Alterman wrote on The Daily Beast after Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at Bar-Ilan University that the Israeli Prime Minister’s address ignored the disastrous reality Israel is facing: “Either expel millions of Palestinians from their lands to preserve the state’s Jewish character or give up on democratic rule entirely, embracing a nightmare future much like that in South Africa under apartheid.”

My sense of the overall feeling in the American Jewish community is one of inertia, anger and impotence. Jews are overwhelmingly pro-Democrat and voted for Obama, but many seem reluctant to seriously pressure Israel to end its disastrous occupation. Meanwhile in Israel, according to a new poll, only 6 per cent of Jewish Israelis now regard Obama as pro-Israel.

Despite the inspiring nature of recent events in Iran, they have also highlighted, depressingly, how much less vibrant Israel’s dissenting community is compared to that now making itself felt in the Islamic Republic.

But for some in the insulated Zionist community, that’s a simple “win-win”. A headline this week on America’s leading Jewish news network, JTA read: “Iran turmoil likely to benefit Israel”.

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