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.

Israel lobby funds another media tour. Read all about it

My following article is published today on Crikey:

“Peter Hartcher is the Sydney Morning Herald’s international editor. He travelled to Israel as a guest of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.”

Hartcher’s latest piece for his paper tells a familiar tale. The UN Goldstone report on the Gaza war  — in which Israel and Hamas are accused of committing war crimes — is summarily dismissed as biased, anti-Israel and pro-Hamas.

Hartcher alleges Hamas of “deliberately positioning themselves in residential areas”, yet the UN report, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found no evidence to back these claims.

Hartcher interviews two major people in the piece —  Gerald Steinberg and Isi Leibler —  both very close to the government of Benjamin Netanyahu. Leibler recently called for “a global Jewish solidarity conference” in order to “exorcise the renegades from our midst”. In other words, the purging of Jewish dissidents.

Furthermore, Leibler said J Street, the new “pro-Israel and pro-peace” lobby group, was “reminiscent … of the Jewish communists who defended Stalin’s state-sponsored Soviet anti-Semitism in the guise of promoting bogus ‘peace’ campaigns”.

Hartcher’s article fits into a long line of Australian journalists and politicians taking free, Zionist lobby trips to Israel and miraculously returning with glorious tales of Jewish heroism, Palestinian violence and Zionist democracy. Crikey’s Margaret Simons investigated this tradition in January and revealed a number of participants on the trips failed to disclose the all-expenses paid jaunts (to its credit, the Herald acknowledged Hartcher’s free holiday.)

Hartcher’s article does not include the opinions of anybody other than those who wholeheartedly support the Jewish state and its military actions. Did he consider visiting Gaza and actually speaking to those affected by Israel’s war? He would be shocked, as I was in July, with what he saw.

Crikey asked Hartcher to respond to a number of questions about his story and experiences in Israel.

I am not a partisan in any war,” he said. “Indeed, a Crikey survey of the Australian political ‘punditocracy’ found that there was no more balanced commentator in Australia.”

Hartcher told Crikey he rejects the allegation that his article is biased. In fact, after the article was published in the paper, he added the following addendum online:

“A number of comments attach great significance to the fact that, as I pointed out at the end of the column, I travelled to Israel as a guest of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. Some impute a hidden agenda. Earlier this year I wrote about the United Arab Emirates after travelling there as a guest of the Lowy Institute for International Policy.

“This attracted no comment. It is routine for journalists to accept paid travel. The question is not whether journalists take trips; it is whether they disclose them. Disclosure means that readers can take this into account in forming their views. This is the exact opposite of a hidden agenda.”

Every paid trip always has an inbuilt viewpoint,” he explained to me. “The journalist’s job is to take information from a trip, assess it in the usual way, and to draw on it as one input among many, as we do with every subject, every day.”

Hartcher did not explain why there are no voices from Gaza or the occupied territories.

A token inclusion of a Palestinian voice at the end does not change the fact that the article could have been written in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, such is the acceptance of official claims.

The mutually beneficial relationship in these kinds of articles is revealing. Hartcher says that he simply visited Israel, heard a variety of voices and assessed the information fairly. But this is not “balance” or “objectivity”. Being presented with only one side of the story reveals nothing other than what your hosts want you to hear.

In the Middle East, after decades of conflict, the bastardisation of language has resulted in the wilful ignoring of Israeli occupation and devastation in a war against the Gazan people. Relying on two voices, Leibler and Steinberg, both of whom back the illegal settlement project in the West Bank, seems grotesque when they whine about the “unreasonableness” of the Goldstone report.

The issue here isn’t with the Zionist lobbies that send journalists and politicians on these visits — after all, they are lobbyists for the Israeli position and need to sell their product as best they can — but the individuals who continue to spin propaganda for a state increasingly isolated in the world due to the expanding occupation in Palestine.

During the research for my book, My Israel Question, I spoke to many journalists who had taken these free trips to Israel. Some were embarrassed and others didn’t want to talk on the record about what they saw and with whom they spoke. I sensed many good journalists, in economically tough times, simply couldn’t resist a free lunch. I found that dozens of producers, editors and journalists across all media in print, TV and radio had taken these trips and yet there was little transparency upon their return.

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council’s executive director, Colin Rubenstein, a key organiser of some of these visits, said in April that the visiting journalists and politicians are “mature people. We let them make up their own minds. They’re exposed to a whole range of viewpoints.”

Hartcher writes of concerns in Israel that the country will be tarnished as an “apartheid” state. It already is. A column in the leading, Israel paper, Maariv, said this week that, “most of the judges chose to ignore the big picture and practically helped creating judicial apartheid between Jews and Arabs”.

SBS TV’s Dateline program featured a compelling story in early November that showed fundamentalist, Jewish settlers receiving Israeli legal and military support to forcefully remove Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

This week Britain’s Channel 4 ran a feature on the influence of the lobby in British politics. It found countless Tories funded by powerful Jewish interests who expect favours in return (namely being “pro-Israel”). It also investigated the number of free trips offered to politicians and journalists by Zionist groups.

Sir Richard Dalton, a former British diplomat who served as consul-general in Jerusalem and ambassador to Iran and Libya, said: “I don’t believe, and I don’t think anybody else believes these contributions come with no strings attached.”

There is nothing illegal about this, but doesn’t the public have the right to know whether Jews with investments in West Bank colonies are backing leading politicians?

When was the last time an Australian media group investigated the role of Australia’s Zionist lobby? The Australian Jewish News this year absurdly claimed that the lobby had no influence at all but the evidence proves otherwise.

Hartcher’s column in yesterday’s Herald reveals yet another episode in the ongoing saga of minimising Israeli crimes.

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

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