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.

For this Jew, boycotting Israel is a bridge too far

Following my article in Crikey yesterday, David Imber responds today (under the headline: “This time Loewenstein, you went too far”):

As a Jew who is used to reading controversial pieces about Israel (and as someone who was friends with him at uni) I have been content to let the views of Antony Loewenstein go through to the keeper. He is a passionate man who is entitled to his opinions even though some of his facts have been proved wrong and some of his conclusions questionable.

I also haven’t minded him having a go at some of the more conservative voices in the Jewish community as it has brought some greater diversity to our internal debates and highlighted to the broader community the fact that not all Jews in Australia subscribe to the mindset that the Israeli Government (whoever they may be and whatever policies they may pursue) can do no wrong.

However, his Crikey piece yesterday goes way too far for me and should be rejected more broadly.

In essentially calling for (and lending his support to others who are undertaking) a boycott of Israel, Antony is calling for action which would punish the whole of a country for the extreme political views of a few. The Israel that I know and have visited over many years is a country of contrasts with a growing secularism and a yearning for peace and reconciliation among Jews and Palestinians/ Arabs. It is a country that encourages amazing ingenuity in fields as diverse as computing and the arts. It is a democracy, albeit at times a flawed one, that in the one Parliament covers the spectrum of opinion in Israel — from doves to hawks. It is a country more complex than the headlines and well worth the world engaging with and not shunning.

People are entitled to not agree with Israeli Government policy — but Israel is not a Burma, a North Korea or an Iran.

The nature of a democracy is that sometimes a minority extreme view can negatively influence the political mainstream and Israel certainly suffers regularly from unwieldy coalitions that have slowed moves to peace. Australia has had this too, with Senators Harradine and now Fielding having the balance at power and forcing minority positions on niche policy areas despite having virtually no mainstream support. And remember how to the rest of the world Pauline Hanson for a time defined Australians view on race despite having limited support nationally.

To call for a boycott that would hurt the many Israelis who voted for engagement and peace as much (if not more) than the few who voted against it is a self defeating and needlessly cruel attack on a people that have already suffered as a result of years of conflict. While Antony says it is not an attack on democratic Israel there is really no other way to see it than a stunt that seeks to do just that. Worse still it is yet another attempt at delegitimizing an entire country and its people including the poor and vulnerable (Arab as well as Jewish Israelis) who rely on the sort of social and economic support Governments can only deliver with a strong economy.

Antony has at times courageously highlighted the real pain felt by many Palestinians and may find it a pain he values more highly than that of Jewish victims of the many wars and attacks but a vengeful boycott of Israel is the worst way of bringing about the political change needed to address this situation.

Contributions such as yesterday’s and the sense that Antony will jump on any bandwagon, with anyone — regardless of their own respect for human rights — who criticises Israel, will only lose him more support from Australian Jews yearning for the sort of peace that I know my relatives in Israel are desperately hoping (and voting) for.

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