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.

When the Rabbis start speaking out against Gazan outrage

Observing American Rabbis unite over Palestinian rights is an inspiring sight. Back in July, Mondoweiss reported:

Thirteen American rabbis have initiated an important new project called Ta’anit Tzedek – The Jewish Fast for Gaza. The rabbis are calling for a communal monthly fast in support of the following goals:

  1. To call for a lifting of the blockade that prevents the entry of civilian goods and services into Gaza;
  2. To provide humanitarian and developmental aid to the people of Gaza;
  3. To call upon Israel, the US, and the international community to engage in negotiations without pre-conditions with all relevant Palestinian parties – including Hamas – in order to end the blockade;
  4. To encourage the American government to vigorously engage both Israelis and Palestinians toward a just and peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Rabbi Brant Rosen, who we love on this site, is one of the people behind the effort. He explains, “Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people in Gaza amounts to nothing less than collective punishment. While we condemn Hamas’ targeting of Israeli civilians, it is immoral to punish an entire population for the actions of a few. This blockade has only served to further oppress an already thoroughly oppressed people. As Jews and as human beings of conscience, we cannot stand idly by.”

Two months later, the campaign is clearly having an effect, if the criticism directed towards it is any indiciation. Rabbi Brant Rosen responded on 1 September on his blog to some of the predictable smearing:

Rabbi Brian Walt and I, along with the other rabbinical leaders of Ta’anit Tzedek were the object of a vicious  smear-filled diatribe written by Rabbi David Forman in last Friday’s Jerusalem Post. Brian and I have written a short letter to the the Post and we hope it will be published. In the meantime, we have written this joint essay. Brian has also posted it in his personal blog:

Rabbi David Forman’s smear against Ta’anit Tzedek: Jewish Fast for Gaza is the latest in a series of  public attacks by Rabbi Forman on Americans and  American Jewish leaders who criticize specific policies of the Israeli government that violate the human rights of Palestinians.  Forman attacks us, the coordinators of Ta’anit Tzedek, calling the tenor of our comments “anti-Zionist, bordering on anti-Semitism” and even “an assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state.”   He calls Ta’anit Tzedek “anti-Israel” and even goes as far as to suggest that that the rabbis and others involved in Ta’anit Tzedek “stand idly by when their fellow Jews’ blood is being spilled.”

These accusations against us personally and against the rabbis involved in Ta’anit Tzedek, is a serious violation of the Jewish ethical prohibition against spreading false accusations (“motzi shem ra”), an act unworthy of a rabbi at any time, but especially during this month of Elul devoted to forgiveness and repentance.

Ta’anit Tzedek is not in any way an “anti-Israel act” or an attack on “the very legitimacy of Jewish State,” nor are the rabbis involved in this project “anti-Israel” or “anti-Semitic.”  All of us are devoted to teaching the values of Judaism and to protecting the human rights of all people: our people, Israelis, Jews throughout the world, and all human beings, including Palestinians and the residents of Gaza.

It is our commitment to the Jewish belief that all human beings are created in the image of God that that impels us to speak out against the blockade, a policy of the Israeli government that causes untold human suffering.  We are opposed to this policy of the Israeli government, not to Israel. Is there no space for criticism of the policies of the Israeli government without being labeled “anti-Israel” or “anti-Semitic”?

The primary goal of Ta’anit Tzedek is to end the Israeli blockade on Gaza.  We are shocked that the blockade has led to inadequate nutrition, the stunted growth of children, the denial of medical care to the sick, inadequate fuel and electricity, damage to public health system and many other kinds of suffering.

As Jews and rabbis who care deeply about the Jewish tradition of human decency (“menshlichkeit”), we feel a special responsibility to speak out against the Israeli policy that leads to this suffering.  Ta’anit Tzedek is committed to breaking the shameful silence on this issue in our community and to doing all we can along with our fellow Americans of all faiths to end this immoral policy.

Read the whole thing.

  • Laurence Seeff

    Concluding that "the campaign is clearly having an effect, if the criticism directed towards it is any indication" is like concluding that Israel should be wiped off the map due to tremendous support of the Iranian people.
    This is absolute misleading auto-suggestive manipulation.
    As far as the "Rabbis" comments go:
    Perhaps they should supply credible sources to support their claims of "stunted growth", "malnutrition", "denial of medical care" and "inadequate fuel and electricity".
    The only shortages in Gaza are due to Hamas invoked stealing of supplies. How do these "Rabbis" explain that almost all of Gaza's electricity is supplied by Israel and was supplied during 8 years of indiscriminant rocket fire on Israeli civilians?
    "Israeli policy that leads to suffering"(!). It is so easy to take a snapshot from afar and criticize to earn popularity. These two men are invited to suggest better operative security solutions instead of thowing stones from glass houses.
    What a disgrace and shame. Might be good idea to background check some of the people listed in their cause and their support for terror against Jews and Israel. They have not done this and will not because it is far too embarrassing and does not serve their ego trips.
    Laurence Seeff

  • ep

    Perhaps they should supply credible sources to support their claims of “stunted growth”, “malnutrition”, “denial of medical care” and “inadequate fuel and electricity”.
    I agree. What IS "stunted" anyway? People call Israeli morality "stunted", but I like to think of it as "lean, aerodynamic and efficient". And just because Palestinian children are not as well fed as family pets in Tel Aviv doesn't mean they are suffering from "malnutrition". It just means they don't NEED to eat as much as my pooch, Schmooey … in fact, they don't really NEED anything really, including their lives.