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.

One state, two state…who cares so long as there’s a solution?

My following article appears in today’s Crikey:

US President Barack Obama has consistently stated that he imagines a two state solution in the Middle East, with viable Jewish and Palestinian nations alongside each other. Israel, in a clear sign of who runs the show, announced last week that it intended to continue building colonies in the West Bank, in direct violation of international law and US wishes. The White House expressed ”regret”. The Israelis know how to stall for time; they’ve been doing it for decades.

This is one reason why a leading global figure such as writer and activist Naomi Klein is now calling for a boycott of the Israeli state. She told an interviewer recently it was vital for the world to counter propaganda that “promotes the image of a normal, happy country, rather than an aggressive occupying power”.

Australia has backed this charade for as long as the game has been played. Both the Liberal and Labor parties have been willing partners. A few weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard told the Australian Jewish News that, “we, as a nation, have always been very strong on supporting Israel’s right to defend itself and to seek security in the region.”

But now a small but noticeable shift may be occurring in the Australian political elite, away from prying journalists and Zionist lobby scrutiny. There is no doubt that the vast majority of serving parliamentarians express support for a two-state solution, openly opposing the possibility of a one-state equation, a state in which Jews and Palestinians live together.

But the impossibility of achieving two states — I saw during my recent visit to the West Bank and Gaza the myriad ways in which the IDF has become an instrument of the Jewish settler movement — has forced interested parties to consider alternatives. I know of at least two Labor frontbenchers that remain deeply sceptical of the Rudd government’s position. I have also spoken to senior Greens MPs who are investigating the viability of a rational and calm public debate about a one-state solution. It is a conversation that remains long overdue.

I can’t over-estimate the fear of these politicians in even raising the possibility of discussion; such will be the fury of the Zionist establishment. They will need reassurance that the Australian public is more than ready to engage on the issues; growing knowledge about Israel’s occupation, the blockade on Gaza and West Bank expansion is having a noticeable effect. Average citizens are increasingly concerned that their government is directly involved in the maintenance of the status quo, a situation that only benefits the Israeli state.

Jimmy Carter wrote in the Washington Post last weekend, after a recent visit to the region with The Elders, that the two-state solution is on life support and one-state is looking increasingly appealing:

“By renouncing the dream of an independent Palestine, they [Palestinians] would become fellow citizens with their Jewish neighbours and then demand equal rights within a democracy. In this non-violent civil rights struggle, their examples would be Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. They are aware of demographic trends. Non-Jews are already a slight majority of total citizens in this area, and within a few years Arabs will constitute a clear majority.”

Last week, for the first time ever, a major Western power, Norway, announced it was divesting from an Israeli hi-tech firm for complicity in human rights abuses in the occupied territories. The upcoming Toronto International Film Festival’s spotlight on Tel Aviv is being criticised by prominent global artists for “staging a propaganda campaign on behalf of … an apartheid regime”. These are the just latest example of a growing, global momentum against Israeli intransigence.

Take the meeting of leading Sydney academics next week at Sydney University (disclosure: I’ll be speaking on the realities in Gaza.) Initiated by the head of Peace and Conflict Studies, Associate Professor Jake Lynch, the aim is to focus on cutting ties with Israeli universities, such as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, that are directly involved in supporting the occupation of Palestine. This is a non-violent way of telling Israel that “normalised relations” will be impossible while apartheid is practised in the territories. Most major Palestinian civic groups back the campaign.

This isn’t about unfairly targeting “democratic” Israel but rather highlighting the insidious ways in which the Israeli state and its associated institutions enjoy extraordinary privilege within the West as a partner for cultural exchange and beneficial trade relationships. Very few critics of this strategy seem overly concerned with the various methods employed by Israel to destroy, interrupt and hinder Palestinian educational systems. Besides, Israel isn’t being singled-out. Sri Lanka is starting to feel the beginnings of a global boycott after its murderous rampage against the Tamils this year.

These are all important discussions. And they need to be experienced in Australia. It’s time for the major parties to get past meaningless slogans  — two states for two people and Israel is the region’s only democracy — and actually engage with ideas. Nothing should be off the table; two states versus one and boycott or engagement.

Antony Loewenstein is a journalist and author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution