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.

Dirty couches, dogs without water, synagogue seats, and teenage boys with light mustaches (Loewenstein visits an outpost)

My following article was recently published on Mondoweiss:

Antony Loewenstein writes:

Dining at a hamburger joint on the weekend in Jerusalem with a few members of Israeli peace group Ta’ayush,including Joseph Dana, we were struck by the people eating around us. They were mostly young, American Jews laughing and enjoying the atmosphere. They were living the dream. A short stay in Israel for them is a blast. Parties, some history, Zionist indoctrination and mission accomplished. Palestine and Palestinians don’t exist. The occupation is invisible. The West Bank is “dangerous”, their parents and guides tell them. It is a false Israel, an illusion that is carefully crafted and maintained. Without it, the Zionist entity would collapse but there’s no evidence that’s happening any time soon.

A day with Ta’ayush activists on Saturday was a necessary counter-point to this other Israel. We met in central Jerusalem at 7 am and soon around 15 Israeli Jews and a few internationals arrived. One Ta’ayush member, Daniel, born in Russia but now an Israeli citizen, told me that he had no hope that Israeli society would change without outside pressure. Some others gathered, ranging in age from 20s to 50s and from students to academics, and they thought similarly. Sadly, the Israeli Left is dead. Now only a handful of groups actively pursue human rights in Palestine and challenge Israeli military policies. They feel utterly alone in this pursuit.

Dana has written about the difficulties experienced by our mini-bus at a checkpoint near Jerusalem. Our IDs were taken – humorously, the soldiers were unable to find the number on my passport, despite it being clearly marked – and we were unable to leave for over an hour. It was simply a case of ritual humiliation. The IDF had no right to hold us or refuse entry into the West Bank, but arbitrary rules are the name of the game under occupation. The soldiers were young, under 20 like most of them, and clearly bored. They wanted to show who was boss and what better way than annoying a handful of mouthy Israelis? We eventually turned back, found another checkpoint and sailed past. So much for being a security threat.

It’s hard to convey the sparseness of the West Bank. Palestinian villages are scattered here and there with groaning settlements sitting above or near them, often shadowing their daily rituals. The first action of the day was eating a picnic at an illegal outpost next to the settlement of Susya in the southern West Bank.

There has been a great deal of discussion in the Western press recently about the nature of outposts and the apparent clash over them between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu. Amos Harel wrote in Haaretz a few days ago that this debate is a convenient distraction:

“The outposts are a continuation of the settlements by other means. The sharp distinction Israel makes between them is artificial. Every outpost is established with a direct connection to a mother settlement, with the clear aim of expanding the takeover of the territory and ensuring an Israeli hold on a wider tract of land. Construction in the outposts is integrated into the overall plan of the settlement project and is carried out in parallel to the seizure of lands within and close to the settlements.”

The reality of outposts is deception on a mammoth scale, a price paid principally by Palestinians whose private land is being stolen. Ta’ayush activist Jesse Hochheiser visited the same outpost near Susya in June and blogged about his experiences. The photographs on the post clearly show the early stages of a concrete house. On Saturday, that house had progressed and looked nearly finished. A makeshift synagogue was erected nearby, a collection of branches and sticks. The outpost is illegal under both Israeli and international law.

We were invited by the Palestinian owner of the land to ascent “Flag Hill” and have the picnic. We had passed through a few Palestinian villages on the way, quiet baking in the hot, morning sun. A few children stood and stared while the men looked happy to have company. Women were largely absent.

The groups of activists, from Ta’ayush and the International Solidarity Movement, spread out and began walking up the small, rocky hill. A number of IDF soldiers saw and approached us but had no authority to stop our journey. We continued, a hot breeze blowing, and many of us carried frozen drinks and food for the picnic.

It was a surreal sight. Around 25 Israelis and internationals walking on Palestinian land, accompanied by IDF soldiers, simply wanted to enjoy a meal on a hilltop. It was a provocation, of course, but a legal one. I was constantly told during the day that it was important to bear witness and document the insidious ways in which the IDF protects the religious settlers and refuses to offer the same courtesy to the Palestinians. The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that Palestinians should not be blocked from accessing their agricultural lands but this is rarely, if ever, enforced. American tax-dollars at work.

We reached the summit, plastic sheets were unfolded and watermelon, hummus and pita bread were laid on the ground. People began eating and singing. One of the activists was Ezra Nawi, currently facing prison for lawfully protesting. The Palestinian owner of the land explained in Arabic his right to be there and farm the area. A Ta’ayush activist said in English that they the IDF had no right to remove them.

But within a few minutes, many more soldiers arrived and a commander announced that we had five minutes to disperse or we would be arrested. It was a “closed military zone”, an oft-used term to suggest an emergency situation when, in fact, there is no emergency. There were no settlers to be seen, so the IDF’s motives were clear. The goal was to protect the nascent outpost and allow it to flourish. From little things, big things grow.

Nawi was soon dragged away, as were a few others (though released soon after, Nawi was hit some time later by soldiers.) Watermelon and pita bread lay strewn across the dirt. Many activists filmed the proceedings, including a German documentary maker who captured soldiers physically abusing one of the detained. An IDF soldier sprinted after him, clearly trying to obtain or blank the tape of evidence. He failed, not least because activists rushed to protect his camera.

Looking around from the hilltop, it was hard to imagine the religious significance of the place. Fundamentalist Jews regard all of the West Bank as granted by God, but what of many in the Diaspora? At the moment the IDF soldiers were dragging away non-violent activists, in clear breach of Israeli law, I wanted my Zionist colleagues to watch with their own eyes and tell me this was a Judaism of which they could be proud. Protecting settlers ensures a never-ending occupation. I was astounded to hear that the Israelis often used obscure British and Ottoman colonial laws to restrict access to particular West Bank areas.

Joseph Dana told me later in the day that, “Israel is a country directed by the military. A dictatorship with relative freedom of speech, but virtually no debate about the behaviour of the IDF.” Most Israelis either don’t want to know or know and don’t care.

The next visit of the day was Hilltop 26, a tiny outpost near the major settlement of Kiryat Arba (Dana and his partner Mairav Zonszein wrote about the saga for Haaretz recently and documented the IDF’s consistent protection of the settlers). The outpost itself has been destroyed a number of times by the Israeli state but magically re-appeared soon after. It’s political theatre of the most serious kind.

The outpost reminded me of a shantytown. Rubbish littered the area around the makeshift house. Tin, plastic and synagogue seats were seemingly thrown together to please God. A handful of teenage boys with light moustaches paced the hilltop, one videoing the activists who had arrived unannounced. A small bookshelf, dirty couches, a battered van, dogs without water tied in the beating sun and a sign of progress; electricity. When a Ta’ayush activist accused one of the religious fundamentalists of this fact, he accused her of being a “liar”. A light bulb gave the game away.

The IDF soon arrived. The activists were simply making their presence known to the settlers and letting them know that they were being watched. The outpost was illegal under Israeli and international law. Soon more soldiers appeared in trucks. Around 20 IDF officers for 30 activists. Some heated words were exchanged between the settler kids and activists in Hebrew. It was a standoff that legally should have ended only one way; the settlers would be removed and refused entry back to the land. Alas, the state’s response was predictable.

We were soon told that the area was a closed military zone and we would have to leave. A couple of Ta’ayush activists had decided to try and get arrested to keep their colleague Ezra company; they believed in never leaving anyone alone in custody. We stood our ground then pulled back. More IDF soldiers arrived. The settlers growled like rabid animals. One even remained seated in a crusty couch for most of the encounter, such was his confidence in remaining put. We moved forward, tried to engage some of the Ethiopian IDF officers, then withdraw. It was a highly co-ordinated dance.

Soon some of the officers approached the settlers and presented them with an order to leave. An intense discussion ensued, with squinted eyes checking out the court order. We were again ordered to leave the area. The settlers hesitated and complained. During this entire time, a dusty breeze and mosquitoes created an uncomfortable atmosphere.

Word had clearly emerged that the settlers were under watch. Some female friends of theirs arrived, and although I’d been warned that they often spat in the direction of the activists, this time they merely shot daggers in our direction. I wondered how God felt about extremist kids robbing other’s land in his name.
The theatre performance progressed. The activists were directed to move down the hill and the settlers followed soon after. We saw them joking with the soldiers, so we knew that their removal would be temporary, probably no more than 10-15 minutes.

Later in the day, Ta’ayush activist Mairav Zonszein told me that she wondered how Palestinians cope with their reality day in, day out. Human rights workers monitor, film, document and disseminate the reality of the occupation, but most of them live in relatively comfortable Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

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