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.

Why Zionists know that boycotting Israel is a dangerous weapon

The following article by Philip Mendes and Nick Dyrenfurth appears in today’s Australian newspaper:

A few weeks ago the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange staged the sixth annual Israeli film festival. Lost Islands, a film taking its title from a 1970s Australian television series (which amassed a cult following in Israel), kicked off proceedings. By telling the story of the troubled Levi family, Lost Islands provided a critical yet humorous meditation on Israeli naivety lost amid the onset of the first Lebanon war in 1982.

Israeli filmmaking has experienced something of a renaissance with a number of recent movies, such as The Band’s Visit and Waltz With Bashir, winning critical acclaim in Australia and in much of the world.

However, if it were up to the commissars of the loony Left, no Australian would have the right to see these movies. Nor would they be able to buy goods made in Israel or engage in any cross-cultural activity, whether in academe or in more popular expressions such as cinema.

Taken to its logical conclusion, the proposed cultural and academic boycott of Israel would mean that institutions such as AICE and perhaps scholarly hubs, including the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, would close, preventing a large number of students, Jewish and non-Jewish, from learning about the rich history of the Jewish people. Phone calls, emails and indeed any form of electronic communication with Israel would necessarily have to be prohibited.

Wacky? Not according to the leaders of the Australian pro-Palestinian lobby, who have recently launched a renewed campaign known as Boycott Divestment Sanctions against Israel. Unsurprisingly, Antony Loewenstein, the self-styled enfant terrible of Australian Jewry, is at the forefront of this endeavour.

Other leading figures include the father-and-son academic duo of John Docker and Ned Curthoys, founders of the bizarrely named Australian Committee for Dismantling of Zionism, and Jake Lynch, director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, who presided over the decision to award this year’s Sydney Peace Prize to anti-Israel polemicist John Pilger.

Calls to boycott Israel are nothing new. The Arab League has boycotted Israel since its creation in 1948. The most recent international campaign for an academic boycott of Israel started in April 2002 following the Israeli invasion of Palestinian West Bank cities in response to the mass suicide bombing attacks on Israeli civilians in the previous month.

This was followed by an Australian boycott petition of May 2002, which was initiated by Docker and fellow academic Ghassan Hage. In 2005, Britain’s Association of University Teachers narrowly voted in favour of boycotting two Israeli universities, a decision later revoked. Earlier this year, Docker’s anti-Zionist group, together with Loewenstein and Lynch, unsuccessfully attempted to convince the University of Sydney to cut ties with two Israeli universities, although at a meeting this month they embarked on a renewed push.

Why the boycott calls? According to the BDS movement, Israel is one of the world’s worst human rights abusers and is committing genocide against the Palestinians. Israel is a racist state similar to South Africa under apartheid and its academics areactively complicit in its crimes, they say. This supposedly justifies thediscriminatory singling out of Israeli academics and culture producers on national and ethnic grounds.

Specifically, the idea of a boycott can be demolished by four simple arguments. First, there are legitimate criticisms to be made of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians on human rights and other moral and ethical grounds. But equally the Palestinians are not solely defenceless and innocent victims.

Moderates and extremists exist on both sides of what is an immensely complex conflict and there is simply no proof that Israel is acting more severely than other countries engaged in national and ethnic conflicts.

If anything, Israeli actions are far less brutal than the behaviour of China in Tibet, the US during Vietnam, Indonesia in Aceh and formerly East Timor, and Russia in Chechnya. This is to say nothing of the persecution of minority racial or religious groups within Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iran, Rwanda and elsewhere. But no proposals have been made to boycott all academics within these countries. Nor is there any plan to boycott Palestinian or Arab academics who endorse suicide bombings and other violent attacks on Israeli civilians.

Second, it is simply arrant nonsense to call Israel an apartheid state. While the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has some superficial similarities with apartheid in South Africa, the analogy cannot reasonably be applied to Green Line Israel given the civil and political rights enjoyed by its Arab citizens. Moreover, Israel does not involve a small white population exploiting a much larger black majority: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a race-based conflict.

Third, there is no evidence that most Israeli academics actively endorse via their teaching and research practices serious human rights abuses. On the contrary, many Israeli academics are active in the political Left and vigorous critics of the occupation. About 400 Israeli academics – about 5 per cent of all academics – signed a petition supporting conscientious draft objectors who refused to serve in the occupied territories.

It is incongruous that many of the boycott proponents are of Jewish extraction. None of these figures seems to have considered that a boycott together with their inflammatory rhetoric (and fundamentalist anti-Zionism more generally) might provoke racist discrimination against Jews.

As the Progressive Zionist organisation Meretz USA has argued, the first effect of a BDS would be to “further sabotage the struggling Israeli peace movement, reinforce the siege mentality amongst Israeli Jews, and drive the country even further into the arms of right-wing demagogues”.

Perhaps the most poignant moment in Lost Islands comes when the father, Avraham, discovers that his son, Ofer, played a role in the car accident that left him a cripple. Rather than seek revenge the father extends the hand of forgiveness to his guilt-ridden son. The ideologues hollering for a useless boycott could well take a leaf out of his book.

Philip Mendes is the co-editor of Jews and Australian Politics (Sussex Academic Press, 2004). Nick Dyrenfurth is the co-editor of Confusion: The Making of the Australian Two-Party Political System (forthcoming from Melbourne University Publishing).

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