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.

Australian Jewish academics pray for peace (but urge no action)

The saga of holding Israel to account continues. Following the recent call for a campaign against apartheid Israel, played out in the media and online, comes this response by some of Australia’s best-known Jewish academics:

We write in response to the two letters published in The Australian on Monday 21 September by Anthony Loewenstein and Jake Lynch, supporting the call for a boycott of certain Israeli universities as part of a more general Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
In our view, the call for a boycott and the entire BDS concept is counterproductive, marginalises and disempowers the forces for moderation and compromise within Israel, and reinforces the position of the rejectionists on both sides.
It is simply incorrect for Loewenstein to state that Palestinians “overwhelmingly” support the BDS strategy. The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, for example, has been careful not to adopt a position on BDS because of its potential adverse consequences for Palestinian workers.
If people want peace with justice for BOTH the Palestinians and Israelis, then positive measures based on an understanding of the narratives of both peoples are needed. These include co-operative ventures of the kind that currently exist between the Israeli and Palestinian Trade Union movements, an end to all racist incitement against Jews in Palestinian schools and media, stopping new settlements encroaching into the West Bank and the removal of the illegal hilltop settlements by the Israeli government, progressive removal of checkpoints (which is already happening), improving the freedom of movement of Palestinians in the West Bank and a return to negotiations.
The moral authority of movements like BDS is undermined by their very one-sidedness. They highlight the suffering of civilians on only one side of the conflict, to the exclusion of the suffering of civilians on the other side. This has been the approach of Lynch’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, which invariably promotes the ferociously anti-Israel views of people like Loewenstein and John Docker. Both of these commentators make no bones about their desire for Israel to cease to exist but have been conspicuously silent about the likely fate of the Jewish majority now living there if that were to happen. It is probably futile to hope that Lynch will take a more balanced approach when he organizes his Centre’s “peace research” conference for 2010.
For over 60 years international law has called for the existence of two states for two peoples. Israeli and Palestinian polling over a sustained period consistently indicates that this is also what a majority of Israelis and Palestinians want. The denial of self-determination and sovereignty to either people has no international legitimacy at all.
Inaccurate, polemical and emotive statements of the kind made by Loewenstein and Lynch merely serve to polarize people and create a climate of hate. As such, their statements are impediments to the cause of peace with justice which they purport to promote.
Associate Professor Suzanne Rutland, OAM, University of Sydney
Associate Professor Mark Baker, Monash University, Melbourne
Doctor Yoke Berry, University of Wollongong
Professor Allan Borowski, La Trobe University, Melbourne
Professor Andrew Markus, Monash University, Melbourne
Doctor Julie Kalman, The University of New South Wales

We write in response to the two letters published in The Australian on Monday 21 September by Anthony Loewenstein and Jake Lynch, supporting the call for a boycott of certain Israeli universities as part of a more general Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

In our view, the call for a boycott and the entire BDS concept is counterproductive, marginalises and disempowers the forces for moderation and compromise within Israel, and reinforces the position of the rejectionists on both sides.

It is simply incorrect for Loewenstein to state that Palestinians “overwhelmingly” support the BDS strategy. The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, for example, has been careful not to adopt a position on BDS because of its potential adverse consequences for Palestinian workers.

If people want peace with justice for BOTH the Palestinians and Israelis, then positive measures based on an understanding of the narratives of both peoples are needed. These include co-operative ventures of the kind that currently exist between the Israeli and Palestinian Trade Union movements, an end to all racist incitement against Jews in Palestinian schools and media, stopping new settlements encroaching into the West Bank and the removal of the illegal hilltop settlements by the Israeli government, progressive removal of checkpoints (which is already happening), improving the freedom of movement of Palestinians in the West Bank and a return to negotiations.

The moral authority of movements like BDS is undermined by their very one-sidedness. They highlight the suffering of civilians on only one side of the conflict, to the exclusion of the suffering of civilians on the other side. This has been the approach of Lynch’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, which invariably promotes the ferociously anti-Israel views of people like Loewenstein and John Docker. Both of these commentators make no bones about their desire for Israel to cease to exist but have been conspicuously silent about the likely fate of the Jewish majority now living there if that were to happen. It is probably futile to hope that Lynch will take a more balanced approach when he organizes his Centre’s “peace research” conference for 2010.

For over 60 years international law has called for the existence of two states for two peoples. Israeli and Palestinian polling over a sustained period consistently indicates that this is also what a majority of Israelis and Palestinians want. The denial of self-determination and sovereignty to either people has no international legitimacy at all.

Inaccurate, polemical and emotive statements of the kind made by Loewenstein and Lynch merely serve to polarize people and create a climate of hate. As such, their statements are impediments to the cause of peace with justice which they purport to promote.

Associate Professor Suzanne Rutland, OAM, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Mark Baker, Monash University, Melbourne

Doctor Yoke Berry, University of Wollongong

Professor Allan Borowski, La Trobe University, Melbourne

Professor Andrew Markus, Monash University, Melbourne

Doctor Julie Kalman, The University of New South Wales

I’ve written many times before about this spurious call for “balance” between Israel and the Palestinians, as if one isn’t under occupation (a point conveniently ignored by these “experts”). The solution proposed by those above is essentially to do nothing and hope and pray that Israel will come to its senses, end the occupation and allow a Palestinian state. How’s that theory worked out for them? It’s a call to do nothing and hope for the best.

Outside pressure is the only way for Israel to recognise that its behaviour is both illegal and immoral. I care deeply for Israeli Jews in Israel but they are living like kings compared to those in the West Bank and Gaza.

If this is the best Jewish academia can do, let them come out strongly and openly to condemn Israeli occupation. But they can’t and they won’t. For them, Zionism remains a romantic ideal. Reality is too uncomfortable, especially when viewing the Holy Land from Australia. They refuse to acknowledge what Israel has become with their backing and blind support.

6 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    Peace for whom?   They clearly don't give a rats arse about the Palestinians or anyone but jews.

    This obsession with the lunacy of Israel overtakes commonsense I reckon.

    There is no need for Israel and there never has been, it was just the myths invented by the zionists that made it an "imperative".

    To ask for balance when one side oppresses and the other dies is lunatic and they should be ashamed of themselves.

    I have never read in a single place where you subscribe to the end of Israel but what is the point of the place when most of the population in the region are not jewish and never will be and what is so special about that cult compared to Sabean Mandaeans or any other cult?

  • VAA

    I find the response of these "Australia's best known Jewish academics ", to be quite pathetic , and desperate to say the least.This line of propaganda isn't been swallowed anymore,for them not to mention all current and previous massacres,ethnic cleansing ,land theft and all the chocking injustices towards the Palestinians is stunning hypocrisy , even to mention the word "Peace" is an insult .Gate Keepers no more.

  • Antony, you write that "the solution proposed by those above is essentially to do nothing and hope and pray that Israel will come to its senses, end the occupation and allow a Palestinian state."
    This is simply not the case. There are many Australian and Israeli academics who continually call for an end the the occupation and a Palestinian state.
    The reason they are against the boycott, is because they think that this will further strengthen the extremist will say, this proves the world is against us. For the strongest argument possible against a boycott from whats left of the Israeli peace camp, i recommend you read this:
    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avne

  • VAA

    Back to  the gate keepers:
    And this is by no mean an isolated incident,

    Nablus – Ma’an – Dozens of chainsaw-wielding Israeli settlers cut down more than 150 olive trees in to the northern West Bank village of Burin, south of Nablus on Monday.
    The assault came a few days before Palestinian farmers throughout the country begin harvesting their olives.
    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=2

     

  • ej

    This letter is nauseating, contemptible.

    For a start, it slanders Lynch, Lynch's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, and Loewenstein and Docker.

    The letter, presumably penned predominantly by Rutland, is a representative pastiche of lies, dissembling, silences and hysteria.

    And this from academics!

    Rutland was recently awarded an OAM, ‘for service to Jewish education and history through a range of higher education development roles and as an author and academic, and to the promotion of interfaith relations.'  Are there two Rutlands?

    Perhaps the one optimistic dimension of this comprehensive pile of shit is that there are only five signatories. Presumably there were academics who happen to be Jewish on the side who declined to put their name to this exemplar of both intellectual and moral depravity.

    They call, heroically, for 'an end to all racist incitement against Jews in Palestinian schools and media'.

    This innately racist diatribe seeks to dictate to the victims of oppression on purely racist grounds that they should learn to love their oppressors. And will the oppression cease overnight? The authors of this racist tract of course know that nothing will change. As the Uncle Tom that is Abbas grovels to unprecedented levels of human self-abnegation, his masters ask for more.

    And on it goes.

    AL is too kind. Do these self-hating authors really believe in a two-state solution, the end of the occupation? Where is the evidence in their tangible commitments? Non-existent.

    Another little peccadillo. 'co-operative ventures of the kind that currently exist between the Israeli and Palestinian Trade Union movements'. Ah yes. the Israeli trade union ‘movement’, mention of which is supposed to bring heartbeats of solidarity yearnings into all those socialists of the old school.

    What effrontery. Histadrut – that aging whore, that pillar of apartheid Israel, that bloodthirsty supporter of the recent Gaza massacre.

    And three of these breast-beating indignant signatories have sinecures within departments teaching 'Jewish studies'. Thus they simultaneously debauch both Jewish history beyond the wretched conception, creation and sustenance of the pariah state that is Israel, and they debauch the concept of the university as well.

    'marginalises and disempowers the forces for moderation and compromise within Israel'. Nothing to do with the proponents of BDS of course; the forces for moderation and compromise have already been thoroughly trashed, vanquished. The extremists pervade the centres of power. Which is precisely what BDS is about. To save Israel from itself, for the forces of moderation and compromise.

    'the rejectionists on both sides'. Where are the rejectionists on the Palestinian side? Arafat accepted the green line (aha, full steam ahead with the settlements); Hamas has accepted the green line (aha, full steam ahead with the dismantling of an electoral mandate, and the genocide in Gaza). What has Israel conceded in 60 years? Rejectionism sui generis. Which is the whole point of the project. Lebensraum.

    And these academics pretend to principle. 

    The psychopathology of Zionism demands academic study in its own right. Can we look forward to its installation as a recommended option in one of the schools/departments of Jewish studies represented by the present signatories?

  • iResistDe4iAm

    The world has heard all this before. Just change a word here and there…..

    "In our view, the call for a boycott and the entire BDS concept is counterproductive, marginalises and disempowers the forces for moderation and compromise within South Africa and reinforces the position of the rejectionists on both sides"

    And when did the Gaza Strip and its besieged, bombed, shocked, awed, and forcibly impoverished inhabitants drop off from the face of the planet? They mention the West Bank twice, but no mention of Gaza.

    Is it because,

    (a) Gaza does not need the "positive measures based on an understanding of the narratives of both peoples" that they enunciate, or

    (b) Gaza is not a part of the "both peoples" they mention, or

    (c) They agree with Dov Weisglas who enunciated "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not make them die of hunger", or

    (d) They believe that the Palestinians are to blame for making Israel massacre them and continue its 3-year old total blockade, because they exercised their right to vote for a party that Israel does not like, or

    (e) They are in denial

    Whatever you do, just don't mention Gaza!