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.

Exclusive translation: Balfour still echoes in 2009

The Balfour Declaration still resonates all these years later.

The following article – published in Le Monde Diplomatique in November by Alain Gresh, archived here, and translated exclusively for this site by Sydney-based Evan Jones – provides a revealing context to the current conflict. History is a living and breathing beast. We are yet to unscramble the egg:

92 years ago, on 2 November 1917, the British government adopted the Balfour Declaration, a text which is at the origin of the Palestinian conflict. To understand the stakes, here is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Israël-Palestine, vérités sur un conflit (Fayard, 2001; 2007).

The conflict takes shape (1917-39)

A world collapses. The First World War begins its final year. Some age-old empires, the Ottoman, the Austro-Hungarian, will not survive it. Tsarist Russia is already dead and the Bolsheviks prepare to take the Winter Palace and to install a regime whose duration will coincide with what the history books call the twentieth century. It’s the 2 November 1917 and Lord Arthur James Balfour [Foreign Secretary] of the powerful British Empire, puts the last touches to his letter. He hesitates a moment as to whether he will append his signature. Is he gripped with a gloomy premonition? Undoubtedly not, for the text, better known under the title the ‘Balfour Declaration’, had been much debated within His Majesty’s government. The text declares that it “favourably envisages the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and every effort will be employed to facilitate the realisation of this objective”. The declaration that, in a first version, evokes ‘the Jewish race’, specifies that, for the realisation of this objective, “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”. How to create a Jewish national home without affecting local Arab populations? Great Britain will never be able to resolve this contradiction and it will be the source of the longest conflict that the contemporary world has known.

The Balfour letter is addressed to Lord Walter Rothschild, a representative of British Judaism, near to the Zionists. What is Zionism? I will revisit this issue in the next chapter. Suffice it to say here that this movement calls for a “rebirth of the Jewish people” and its “return” to Palestinian soil. The Balfour Declaration meets several preoccupations of the government in London. While the War intensifies on the Continent, it is a matter of gaining the sympathy of global Jewry, perceived as being in the possession of considerable power. This vision, historically ironic, is not too distant from that of the worst anti-Semites who detect everywhere the ‘hand of the Jews’. The British Prime Minister [David Lloyd George] in his Memoirs evokes the power of ‘the Jewish race’, guided by its singular financial interests, whilst Lord Balfour himself had been the promoter, in 1905, of a project of a law on the limitation of immigration to Great Britain, aimed in particular at Russian Jewry. Mark Sykes, one of the negotiators of the accords that partition the Middle East in 1916, wrote to an Arab leader: “Believe me, for I am sincere when I tell you that this race [the Jews], vile and weak, is hegemonic through the entire world and that one is not able to defeat it. Jews sit in each government, in each bank, in each enterprise.” [‘vile’ appears to have been a favourite epithet which Sykes used indiscriminately – translator]

The Balfour Declaration is addressed particularly to American Jewry, suspected of sympathy for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and to Russian Jewry, influenced by revolutionary organisations that have overturned the Tsar in the spring of 1917. Many of them are favourable to the idea that Russia signs a separate peace. London hopes to prevent this ‘desertion’. Balfour even evokes the mission that will be entrusted to the Jews in Palestine: to ensure that the Jews of the world behave ‘appropriately’. This calculation will fail since, during the night of the 6th November 1917, the insurgent Bolsheviks seize power at Petrograd and demand an immediate peace.

But Great Britain, in comforting the Zionist movement, aims for a more strategic objective, the control of the Middle East. The dismembering of the defeated is negotiated between Paris and London, even though victory had not yet been achieved. In 1916, Paris and London sign, later ratified by the Tsar, the accords known as Sykes-Picot (Mark Sykes and Georges Picot are two high-ranking officials, the one British the other French) which specify the dividing lines and zones of influence within the Middle East. For London, Palestine ‘protects’ the flank east of the Suez canal, vital link between India, the jewel of the Empire, and the metropolis. The patronage accorded to Zionism allows the British government to obtain total control of the Holy Land.

But the British are not content with promises to the Zionist movement, they have also made some to the Arab leaders. The Ottoman Caliph (he exercises authority over the Arab territories of the Middle East and he is ‘the Commander of the Believers’) allies himself in 1914 with Germany and Austro-Hungary. He has even called for a holy war against the infidel. To retaliate, London arouses an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, fronted by a religious leader, Sharif Hussein bin Ali, then Emir of Mecca.  In exchange, Hussein gets British support for Arab independence. But the promises only enlist believers … How, in effect, to reconcile Arab independence and the creation of a Jewish home? The Arab revolt will become celebrated in a distorted form concocted by a British agent who will play a major role, Thomas E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. His narrative, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, will be brought to the cinema by David Lean and Peter O’Toole as Lawrence.

The Middle East will be then partitioned between France and Great Britain. The League of Nations, created in 1920 and precursor of the United Nations, assembles some dozens of states, for the most part European. It invents the ‘mandate’ system which the League’s Charter defines as: “Certain communities, which formerly belonged to the Ottoman Empire, have attained a degree of development such that their existence as independent nations is able to be recognised provisionally, on the condition that the counsels and the assistance of a mandatory power guide their administration until the time when they will be capable of conducting their own affairs.” Thus some peoples considered as ‘minors’ should have need of tutors to accede, perhaps one day, to a majority.

On 24 July 1922, the League bestows on Great Britain the mandate over Palestine. The text foresees that the mandatory power will be “responsible for executing the original declaration of 2 November 1971 made by the British government and adopted by [the Allied Powers], in favour of the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people”. The son of Sharif Hussein, tightly controlled by London, installs himself on the thrones of Iraq and Transjordan (created by Britain to the east of the Jordan River), whilst the Lebanese and Syrian territories fall into France’s pocket. Egypt, formally independent since 1922, remains under British occupation.

All the actors of the Palestinian drama are in place: the dominant power, Great Britain, which hopes to maintain control over a strategic region, rich in petrol whose economic and military role magnifies; the Zionist movement, strong from its first great diplomatic success, and now organising Jewish immigration to Palestine; the Palestinian Arabs, not yet referred to as Palestinians, and who begin to mobilise against the Balfour Declaration; finally, the Arab countries, for the most part under British influence and which gradually come to involve themselves in Palestinian affairs.

  • Pingback: ‘Le Monde’ is revisionist on Balfour Declaration()

  • More background to the Mandate and Balfour:

  • "History is a living and breathing beast."
    this Is an excellent post. It is very informative. Thank you so much. I'll be a regular viewer.

  • Jeff Blankfort

    There is  little to this article as to what went on behind the scenes and why the Balfour Declaration was not only directed at American Jews but had been vetted for months before its signing by leading US Zionists, most prominently Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, a close friend and advisor to President Wilson.
    The declaration had nothing to do with charity and was not required for the British to gain a foothold in the Middle East. It was issued as payment for the US Zionists having used their influence to get the US to join the war on the side of Britain at a time that Germany was winning the war and the British were close to being forced to sue for peace.
    While  Russia had been in ally of England and France, world Jewry would not rally to their side because of the treatment that Jews had received under the Czar.  In the wake of the revolution and Russia withdrawing from the war, the way was open for Western Jews and the Zionists to openly side with Britain and France. What was left was to get the US into the war, despite Wilson's pre-election promises and this, if we are to believe memoirs of an American Zionist who participated in the discussion about the letter and David Lloyd George's expression of appreciation to the Zionists for assisting in British war aims afterward, that is exactly what they did.
    Contrary to the notion that establishing a Jewish homeland was useful for Britain's ambitions in the region, there is no evidence that their time there under the mandate was anything but a major headache.