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.

Zionists continue to be alert and alarmed about IAJV

I co-founded Independent Australian Jewish Voices (IAJV) nearly three years ago. Since then, our achievements have been modest, but the key aim has always been to expand public debate over the Middle East and show to the wider community that not all Jews back Israeli apartheid in the occupied territories.

It’s therefore pretty amusing to read a piece published in today’s National Times attacking IAJV…as if we started recently. It rehashes the usual arguments, clearly ignores any discussion about Israel’s behaviour in the West Bank or Gaza and focuses on the initiative’s supposed dishonesty:

It is now more than two years since Independent Australian Jewish Voices (IAJV) was launched in a flurry of publicity, and past time for the original and latter signatories of its initiating declaration to take stock of their commitment.

According to the declaration, that commitment by its Jewish signatories is to “ensuring a just peace that recognises the legitimate national aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians with a solution that protects the human rights of all . . . (and that) Israel’s right to exist must be recognised and that Palestinians’ right to a homeland must also be acknowledged.”

This is an inoffensive statement and could loosely be sanctioned by the mainstream of Australian Jewry. Moreover, nothing is gained by an attack on the integrity of the signatories, one of whom is Antony Loewenstein who was featured on this website yesterday. Other aspects of the declaration may invite harsher interpretation, but those clauses do not detract from the straightforward call for an equitable analysis of the “crisis in the region”. More worthy of examination are the steps that have been taken by the IAJV organisers following the publication of the declaration.

The declaration is the centrepiece of what has become a dense online forum for anti-Israel and anti-Zionist views. The dilemma is clearly understood by the organisers, who must find a means to incorporate the innocuous clauses of an originating document while promoting views that breach its parameters. In legal constitutional matters this conflict would be resolved by a superior court. In the abstract world of the internet, the organisers achieve this by way of a less accountable device – a tortuous statement that prefaces the website and reads in part: “It is evident that we as organisers cannot speak in the name of anyone unless explicitly authorised to do so, and there can be no suggestion that signatories are in any way endorsing or associated with a statement unless they explicitly sign it . . . (we) must do whatever we hope is worthwhile and constructive towards the broad principles enunciated in the original statement.”

This begs the question, despite this statement do the signatories know what is written on their behalf, or in the alternative, that they have been disenfranchised from a project that lays its foundation squarely on their name and ethnicity? The logic of this foundation is inescapable, because without the Jewish signatories to the declaration, the IAJV is deprived of its raison d’être. The views of a handful of little known commentators would garner far less attention without the original declaration or the much proclaimed ethnicity of its signatories. Certainly virulent criticism of Israel is now so pervasive on the internet as to make the existence of yet another condemnatory website merely conventional. The power of the IAJV lies solely in the ethnicity and imprimatur of the signatories.

The signatories may believe that they have signed a petition of sorts, but in fact they have provided a platform for a broad criticism of Israel, that contrary to its declaration, is not matched by an equivalent critique of the Palestinian or regional positions. No doubt the organisers will counter, again as stated in the prefacing statement, that they intend to redress a perceived bias in the media, but once more this would be disingenuous. The declaration is too plain-spoken to allow this re-interpretation: “We call upon fellow Jews to join us in supporting free debate to further the prospects of peace, security and human rights in the Middle East.” Human rights abuses, security concerns and freedom of debate are hardly concerns that can be solely ascribed to Israel, particularly in a region where democracy is an anachronism.

The ongoing discussion regarding the IAJV has unfortunately played into the hands of a few largely unknown but canny organisers. Remove the bluster and the issue is not the credibility of their opinion or those featured by way of links to other publications, rehashed on thousands of similar websites, but rather whether those opinions reflect representations made to signatories. For the signatories there is a larger moral issue to consider. If they wish to promote a forum that makes Israel chiefly accountable for the Palestinian plight and the prospects for peace in the region, then they are in the right place. If not, or their views are tempered by pragmatism or even a well-informed ambivalence, then it is time to reassess that initial commitment.

So here’s an idea for the signatories. Take a tour of the IAJV website, look around, become familiar with the landscape. It will soon be clear that the declaration you signed was achieved more in the breach than in its plain meaning. May we suggest a new declaration, reflective of the website’s actual content. Something along these lines would suffice: “We condemn the Jewish state as the principally guilty party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and primarily responsible for its resolution.” Not only does it shave hundreds of unnecessary words from the original declaration, it is also more candid, straightforward and honest. That is something the signatories can choose to endorse. Or not.

Manny Waks is the founder of the Capital Jewish Forum and a public servant based in Canberra. Geoffrey Winn is a Melbourne based lawyer and author.

Frankly, it’s odd to have to make the same points over and over. IAJV is not an organisation or a group. There are no members. A handful of people organise occassional petitions and events and anybody who wants to sign-up or be involved can be. And people can ignore these programs, too. Nothing more, nothing less.

Waks and Winn either ignore this clearly stated aim or remain uncomfortable with Jews speaking out critically against Israel and its policies.

Get used to it lads, we have much more planned in 2010.

9 comments ↪
  • Interesting post. Thank you.

    Two comments:

    (1) You should know that the situation in England, with regard to attacks on 'Independent Jewish voices', is more or less the same. It's a small world in that way.

    (2) I object to the title of your post:  'zionists continue to…' Becuase 'zionists' are not a monolithic group. Some self described zionists (me being one of them) would fully agree with the IAJV (or IJV) declaration and would hardly be 'alert' or 'alarmed' by it. In the process of responding to those who vilify you, you ought to be more careful about not vilifying others. I think IJV and IAJV have the strongest voices when they have bigger tents, making room for liberal, doveish, and Israel-critical zionists. With article titles like this one, you make that tent appear smaller; even if, in reality, it remains the same size.

     

  • Shaun

    I don't know of any Jew, Zionist or otherwise, who is alert or alarmed by anthing Antony or his Judenrat bleat about.  Disgusted and embarrased yes, but certainly not alert or alarmed.

  • Kevin Charles Herber

     

    Squeek squeek squeek…..zzzzzzzz…squeek

  • Kevin Charles Herber

     

    The Edeofwhere:

     

    My "squeek "comment is definitely not aimed at you, as your comment is a constructive one, which I'm pretty sure Antony will take into account.

  • George

    I think tomorrows headline in the Sydney Morning Herald should be, "Crazy Hebrew Cult has hijacked the free speech of Jews and Gentiles". You read these silly defences by the zionist propaganda machine, it makes the Jewish community look like a cult rather than a people. They never ever provide unbias evidence that is released by reputable human rights organisations to refute the claims that dissenting Jews or Gentiles provide against the status quo.

    I mean I don't know whether to laugh or to cry do Jews think that there country is fighting some courages war? For someone to commit suicide is a terrible thing and many Israeli journalists and commentators think that was is happening in Palstine is worse than Apartheid. The Palestinians don't have f-16 fighter jets, they don't have merkava tanks and they certainly don't have remote control drones (jouneyman pictures did a documentary on the war crimes in Gaza in which sci-fi technology was used in the same way that one would play a computer game to deliberately kill children, women……..).  

  • Kevin – no worries!

     

    Marilyn – There is such a thing as a Jewish people in a different sense to that of there being a Christian or Muslim people.

    Adhering to and expressing the Jewish faith is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for someone to be considered to be a Jew according to the traditional Jewish halachic (legal) definition. This definition holds that you are a jew if and only if your mother is Jewish. Moreover, throughout Jewish history, Jews have described themselves in their prayers as 'am yisrael', meaning 'the people of Israel', and not 'emet yisrael', which yould mean 'the faith of Israel'.  For these reasons Judaism is best understood not as a religion like any other but rather as a 'people' or, to use the term suggested by Jewish rabbi and philosopher Mordechai Kaplan, a 'civilization'.

    A recent UK supreme court debate on the admissions policy of a Jewish school in London hinged on these distinctions. I wrote a piece on the issue you can find here: http://theedgeofwhere.blogspot.com/2009/12/moving
     

  • Shaun

    Nicely explained theedgeofwhere and I look forward to reading your article.  Kudos to Antony for deleting her vile hateful comments – views like hers make open-minded civil conversation almost impossible.

  • “We condemn the Jewish state as the principally guilty party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and primarily responsible for its resolution.”

    Now THAT'S a statement a principled antiracist could comfortably sign.  I wish IAJV would consider Waks and Winn's suggestion.

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