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.

Australian thinker mentions the Holocaust, again

Raimond Gaita is a leading Jewish, Australian intellectual.

Like so many of them, he expresses profound ignorance and intolerance towards the Palestinian narrative and the recent Gaza war.

Truth is forgotten when it comes to backing the Jewish state. The moral blind-spot is revealed yet again.

Independent Australian Jewish Voices writer Michael Brull investigates.

UPDATE: I am informed that Gaita is not Jewish, so let the record be corrected.

  • Sol Salbe

    Sorry Antony but as far as I know (and Wiklipedia concurs)  Raimond gaita is not Jewish.  His nearest connection is a Jewish wife.

  • Michael

    yep, I don't think Gaita is Jewish either.

  • Michael

    also, thanks for the mention

  • Raimond Gaita

    In the hope that your readers attend more justly to what is actually said, I'm pasting in extracts from my talk that you reckon shows ignorance, bigotry and intolerance.

    "Neither justice nor realism, in my judgment, require someone who acknowledges the crimes that were part of Israel’s foundation and that continue to this day, to seek its replacement by a bi-national state. The claim that justice requires it, is often in part, but crucial part supported by the claim that Zionism is a colonial settler enterprise that dispossessed, as did other such enterprises, in Australia for example, the indigenous inhabitants of the colonised lands. I fear this will offend many people, but I think it is misleading in the context of the discussion of Israel as Jewish State to call the Palestinian Arabs the indigenous inhabitant of the land. *When, however, you put that way of identifying them together with the idea that Israel is a colonial settler society, then you invite the thought that the Jews stand in much the same relation to the Arab population of Palestine as the white settlers stood to the aboriginal population of Australia, or to the Indian populations of America or Canada, for example. It’s a thought –many people have it − that ignores the complexity of the Jewish relation to Palestine (and indeed of Jewish identity, which is travestied in the claim that it is essentially a racial concept, that became racialist in its Zionist development)* I don't think any Jew could justifiably say, flatly, that in returning to Palestine she was returning to the land from which she had been exiled in biblical times, though many are tempted to say just that. Nor, however, could a Palestinian Arab justifiably say, flatly, in response to her, "No. You are foreign settlers". The strong feeling of many Israeli Jews, that living in Israel marks a kind of return, takes nonsensical and sometimes very dangerous, forms. But it is not always nonsense and not always dangerous, not, at any rate, to someone who believes in a two state solution. Insofar as one acknowledges that justice does not require Jews to become mendicants for a place in what was Palestine, insofar as one believes they have a claim to be there − even if one believes it is a claim only to a homeland rather than to a state, or only to be one nation in a bi-national state – then that claim is partly based on a relation to the land which is falsified if Jews are described as the non-indigenous inhabitants. Are they therefore the indigenous inhabitants? To say that would be even more misleading. One should therefore draw the conclusion, I believe, that the concept of ‘an indigenous inhabitant’ hinders rather than helps thinking justly about the conflicting claims of Arabs and Jews to the same territory.  *And in this connection it is important to remember something when on reads writers – Jacqueline Rose, for example – who advocate a one state solution and who enlist in their support earlier anti-state Zionists like the theologian and philosopher, Martin Buber, or the founder of Hebrew University Jehuda Magnes or Hannah Arendt. Rightly or wrongly, they did not believe that Jews who came to Mandate Palestine should, morally speaking, have petitioned the Palestinian Arabs for their right to settle there. "*

    That is the section of my talk to that caused such great offence.

    It is not inconsistent with the acknowledgement, that I readily make, that the Palestinian Arabs were dispossessed of their lands and homes before and after the establishment of the State.

    Here are two further extracts from the same talk.

    “Sixty yeas after the Holocaust, the Jewish state is pariah amongst nations. There can be no doubt that she has committed crimes against the people she dispossessed when the state was established and that she continues to commit crimes against them. It is, as I remarked earlier, Israeli historians who most compellingly dispelled the illusion that things became seriously morally bad only after the occupation of the west bank and Gaza in 1967.”

    “She must lift the siege and do things that show serious intent to allow the Palestinians to develop a state they can accept without humiliation. That means more than putting a halt to settlements. It means dismantling them. Indeed, it means, I believe, putting the settlers on notice that Israel will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, a date for their departure. Most of all it means fully acknowledging the wrongs Israel did to the Palestinians and that, I believe, entails that she can no longer treat the west bank as something to bargain over. As Gideon Levy has argued in Haaretz, to treat the occupation West Bank as a bargaining chip in negotiations is to be like someone who stole someone property and then, with a gun at her head, sets the conditions under which he will negotiate its return. Only if Israel does this will it be clear that she finally recognises the Palestinian people's need of a sovereign state in which they can develop the cultural and political institutions that will enable them to flourish as a people. Only then will her demand that Hamas renounce its charter and recognise the legitimacy of a Jewish state have the moral authority it deserves, but currently lacks.”

  • Michael

    I am glad that Gaita has put this in print. I will put this on my blog. I would be much obliged if he could provide the entire text of his speech.
    I think  my rendition of his comments was accurate enough. Perhaps he could now explain in what sense it is "misleading" or "hinders" clear thinking to call the Palestinians the indigenous population of Palestine. I can agree that calling Palestinians the indigenous population may not serve the interests of apologists of Israel's government (etc). But these are not exactly the same thing, Dr Gaita. If you do think that Palestinians are the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, do you think it would be unfair to suggest that your position advocates dishonesty on behalf of Zionism? Do you think that you showed the same consideration to Palestinians in your speech as you did to Jews?
    And I remained underwhelmed by your conclusion, though I appreciate you oppose the occupation. But why should Israel negotiate with the Palestinian Authority? What legitimacy does Abbas, Fayyad et al have? And why is it necessary for Hamas to recognise the legitimacy of a Jewish state? And why is it that you devoted such attention and disdain to critics of Israel's policies in Gaza and the blockade – only to perfunctorily call for an end to the blockade, without discussing the reasons why someone might oppose it?

  • Marilyn

    Considering that there has never been a jewish state I find it puzzling that intelligent people could ever demand that the Palestinians recognise one.

    It's as lunatic as demanding that aborigines here recognise a white Australia and agree to having their history written out.

    Perhaps Gaita doesn't understand that the whole jewish claim to Palestine is a myth, that Solomon and David were not real, the passover did not happen and the exile by the Romans is a fairy tale.

    I want to know how Australia would have reacted to the viciousness of the jewish squatters if Herzl had managed to set up this bogus jewish homeland in WA as he wanted to? Or in Brazil?

    The mere fact that he used several different propositions shows that there is no historic binding to Palestine, it is simply colonisation.

    And for Australian Deputy PM Gillard to schmooze with that facist thug Leiberman while we lock up refugees from Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan is beyond grotesque.

  • Raimond Gaita

    I’m surprised at the degree to which Michael Brull misrepresents what I said in my lecture on Gaza that was filmed by Slow TV and dismayed by how recklessly he attributes disreputable motives to me. I assumed that people who publish blogs on the website of Independent Jewish Voices, some of whom have been seriously misrepresented and even vilified, would have been more sober, intellectually and morally.

    Rightly or wrongly many people, including those who advocate that there be one state of Arabs of Jews between the Mediterranean and the Jordan, believe that long before the founding of the state of Israel, Jews had a claim to settle in Palestine. The nature of that claim, its basis and its scope is contested. In my lecture I suggested that it is misleading to call the Palestinian Arabs the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine because, in the context in which it is commonplace to call Israel a colonial settler state, it implies that Jews who came to Palestine and established political instiutions there had no more right to do so than the British and other white settlers had the right to do so in Australian – no right at all, in fact.

    One can, of course disagree with that. Even while seeing the case for it, one can reasonably believe that it is even more misleading, and certainly politically more dangerous to justice for the Palestinians, to say, as I did, that the application of the concept of ‘an indigenous inhabitant’ distorts a just appreciation of the way in which Jews and Arabs have a claim (albeit differently) to the same land. But one should not disagree because one believes that my suggestion denies, or any way softens, the harsh truth that the Palestinians suffered a terrible injustice when they were dispossessed at the hands of the Jews. Nor should anyone disagree because they fear there is a quick route, or perhaps any route at all, from my suggestion to a justification for a Jewish State. Indeed, I said explicitly that though anti-state State Zionists like Jehuda Magnes, Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt “did not believe that Jews who came to Mandate Palestine should, morally speaking, have petitioned the Palestinian Arabs for their right to settle there”, they also did not believe that the Jewish claim extended beyond the right to establish a homeland. That is why, in my previous reply to Brull, I quoted the following from my lecture: “Insofar as one acknowledges that justice does not now require Jews to become mendicants for a place in what was Palestine, insofar as one believes they have a claim to be there − even if one believes it is a claim only to a homeland rather than to a state, or only to be one nation in a bi-national state – then that claim is partly based on a relation to the land which is falsified if Jews are described as the non-indigenous inhabitants. Are they therefore the indigenous inhabitants? To say that would be even more misleading. One should therefore draw the conclusion, I believe, that the concept of ‘an indigenous inhabitant’ hinders rather than helps thinking justly about the conflicting claims of Arabs and Jews to the same territory”.

    It is true that the balance of my talk was pro Israeli insofar as I argued against a bi-national state in favour of a two state solution and insofar as I devoted more time to defending Israel against critics than I did to detailing Israeli injustices against the Palestinians. My lecture was the third in a series (that I convened) whose audience had, in the previous two lectures, shown palpable hostility towards Israel. Ghassan Hage (there by my invitation) was to speak the next week and I knew he would argue, passionately, an anti Zionist case. The audience at the series did not need more criticism of Israel. Nor after Gaza does much of the audience for Slow TV.  It is true that even after Gaza, much of the Palestinian case needs to be made more strongly to politicians in Australia and elsewhere, but the intelligentsia has, for the most part, accepted it.

    Even so, I made clear that that I believed that the Palestinians were the victims of crimes before and after the establishment of the state, that Israel had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza (and though I didn't say so because I thought it didn’t need saying, not only in Gaza), that Israel lacks the moral authority to demands recognition from Hamas while it refuse fully to recognise the Palestinian right to, and need of, a state. Though I denied that “Zionism is intrinsically racist, that racism is of its essence”, I acknowledged the “probably true claim that for racist reasons common in colonial settler societies the full humanity of the Palestine Arabs was at best only partially visible to early Zionist settlers” and, “that racism against the Palestinian Arabs [probably] now goes deep in Israeli society”. And more.

    I said in my talk that if one goes by their words, then millions of Muslims throughout the world hate Jews with a murderous ferocity.  I take that to be a statement of fact. If Brull disagrees with it, fine, let him say so and why. It is not a racist claim. For years I have written against racism. Together with Robert Manne I have recently finished editing a book that defends multiculturalism and that includes essays by Waleed Aly, Shakira Hussein and Ghassan Hage. I wrote an introduction and an essay attacking racist hostility to Australian Muslims.

    Dismayed though I am by Brull’s travesty of what I said and the alacrity with which he attributes disreputable motives to me, I accept that as, regrettably, par for the course. At a pinch I’m prepared to accept as par for the course Anthony Lowenstein's accusation, based solely it seems, on his reading of Burr’s original attack on me, that I am an ignorant bigot. I am not, however, prepared to accept as par for the course, Brull’s accusation that I am an “anti Muslim racist”.  I don’t hope for much from Brull, but for that defamation, I expect an apology from him and from Independent Jewish Voices because its published his blog on its website.

    This will be my last response.


  • Geoffrey Brahm Levey

    I was one of the original signatories to the initial petition announcing IAJV's existence. Though I disagreed with some of the wording of this year's IAJV petition against Operation Cast Lead, I signed it because I believed stopping the violence in Gaza and on Gazans was more important than my qualms about some wording. I presented a lecture in the recent ACU lecture series on Gaza. I know Rai Gaita. I read his lecture. And Antony's and Michael Brull's characterisation of Raimond Gaita, his lecture on Gaza, and his views on Palestinians and Muslims are totally unwarranted and out of line. Even if they were correct on the substantive issues — which, in this case, they're not — why they think impugning somebody's motives and character is germane to putting and winning an argument is beyond me. Ratbaggery only impresses ratbags. If this is what IAJV has become, you may count me out of any further IAJV activities.

  • Marilyn

    I still don't get why anyone with a lick of sense would think that jews alone are entitled to a homeland when no other people are.

    It's a farce mate.

  • moonkoon

    "One can, of course disagree with that. Even while seeing the case for it, one can reasonably believe that it is even more misleading, and certainly politically more dangerous to justice for the Palestinians, to say, as I did, that the application of the concept of ‘an indigenous inhabitant’ distorts a just appreciation of the way in which Jews and Arabs have a claim (albeit differently) to the same land."

    What is Raimond Gaita trying too achieve with his intellectual gymnastics?
    He agrees that Palestinians are prisoners in their own land and then goes on to explain that Israel has claims at least as legitimate as the Palestinians.
    Then when challenged on this bald assertion, that his equivocation smacks of the anti-Muslim theme so common in this debate, he demands an apology.
    What purpose is served by such superficial qualification of his concern about the treatment of Palestinians?
    All he has succeeded in doing is to create a fake schism in the IAJV.
    Is this really what this is all about, to wreck what little opposition there is to current Isaeli policy in the Australian political/academic mileau?

    The following is the original comment that I prepared before opening the comments on this thread and I see the schismatic camp follower got here before me.

    I suppose one has to give the opinionater (Gaita) credit for all the speccy  intellectual contortions that he has contrived to justify the unjustifiable.
    But he is wasteing his gifts on a lost cause.
    Most of the people I know, including myself, don't buy that guff any more.

    To use a popular analogy, you can smear as much lipstick on this pig as you like but I won't find it any more attractive, it is still headed for the sausage machine. 🙂

    Interesting to read the comments on Michael Brull's piece, one intrepid crusader equates Brull's panning of the dopey speech with his dudgeon over Gaza.
    The Brull piece apparently cancels his support for the mistreated prisoners in Gaza!
    Now that's what I call commitment.

  • moonkoon

    What's it all about, Alfie?
    Is it just for the moment we live?
    What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
    Are we meant to take more than we give
    or are we meant to be kind?
    And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
    then I guess it's wise to be cruel.
    And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
    what will you lend on an old golden rule?…

    Hal David

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