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.

The humanity of the rabbis in Gaza

An Australian participant in the Gaza Freedom March, Donna Mulhearn, travelled inside Gaza in late December (her first report is here) and now writes another installment:

Friends,

When the orthodox Jewish Rabbi, in his long black coat and wide-brimmed black felt hat held out his arms and hugged Mahmood in the loungeroom of his bombed-out house in Gaza , I turned away – to respect their privacy and to hide my tears.

The Rabbi and the Palestinian man embraced under the Zamouni family photo which hung high in one corner of the simple living room. It was not a usual family photo, it displayed the faces of men, women and children, 28 in all – but these were the faces of the family members killed by the Israeli Defence Forces in last year’s attack on Gaza . Yes, 28. Yes, all from one family. Babies, children, grandfathers, mothers.

Rabbi Weiss had come to Gaza from the U.S to bring love, solidarity and concern from people of the Jewish faith to the people of Gaza . I confess I was nervous when I first saw the Rabbi’s, four of them, board the bus to Gaza : traditional black and white attire, long beards, curls down the side of the face, the full kit and kaboodle. The sight of them left me uneasy, I could only imagine how a little girl in Gaza might feel, considering the fear she would associate with such an image. But as soon as we arrived in Gaza , it was clear who the special guests were amongst delegation. We were all warmly welcomed, but the four Rabbi’s were treated like rock stars – as guests of honour, they were fussed over and cared for by their Palestinian hosts with great respect.

During the protest march to the Erez border on the first day, the Rabbi’s were the central focus of attention by the media, as well as fellow marchers, not just because of their striking appearance, but also because of their radical message. The group is from Neturei Karta International, which focuses on Judaism as a religion and spirituality first rather than a form of nationalism or Zionism. They oppose the existence of the state of Israel and the doctrine of Zionism, they believe a state of ‘exile’ is still required and advocate a return to peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians in Palestine . They also consider aggression towards and brutal treatment of Palestinians as a violation of the teachings of the Torah. The speech by Rabbi Weiss was the strongest condemnation of the Government of Israel by all the speakers at the march, and it left the audience, and myself, gobsmacked. So many people who had associated Orthodox Judaism with indifference to Palestinians, indeed a brutal occupation, now had another image. Stereotypes were challenged; here was a different narrative, a peaceful, caring presence.

Amongst mainstream Jews, the Neturei Karta group might be considered to be on the ‘fringes’ of Judaism and its teaching controversial within the Jewish community world-wide. Nevertheless, the presence of the Rabbi’s at the Zamouni family home was powerful. We had been walking through the wreckage of several houses, hearing the harrowing stories of the days of the attack, when one family member after another was killed in various ways over a period of two weeks, by direct gunshot, by Apache fire, by missiles and bombs. I walked through the house which had been occupied by Israeli soldiers and saw graffiti, in English and in Hebrew, written on the walls by the soldiers. I called the rabbi’s in to see it, I thought it might mean more if they responded to it somehow.

The graffiti caused the rabbi’s to shake their head with shame: drawings of the Israeli flag alongside phrases such as ‘you can run but you can’t hide’, ‘Die you all’, ‘one down 999,999 to go’ next to a Star of David and more messages in Hebrew that I couldn’t read. The rabbi’s met the householders, heard the stories of the attack, saw the photos, photos of the dead bodies being dragged from the rubble, the little boys and girls, babies, women. And the family photo of the faces of the 28 killed.

“I’m sorry,” Rabbi Weiss said as he hugged Mahmood in his loungeroom with the faces looking on.

It won’t bring the deceased members of Zamouni family back, it won’t rebuild the homes, still in rubble one year later, but the sincere sympathy of the Rabbi’s might just shift some assumptions, provide a little hope, heal some of the pain.

With the silence of the international community, the rejection of the Goldstone report – seeking justice for families such as the Zamouni’s – by many governments (including Australia ’s) with the blockade of Gaza continuing to strangle the life of the community, perhaps an apology might be due from all of us. And perhaps more is due – like the Rabbi’s of Gaza, some loving action of solidarity with the people of Gaza may provide a little hope, heal some of the pain.

Your pilgrim

Donna

2 comments ↪
  • The New Rome

    The racism of Nazi Germany lives on in the hearts and minds of every Zionist Jew, Christian or otherwise…………………….Cry all you want you hipocrites.

    When I heard that there was such an institution called the Anti-Defamation League I thought it was a universal organization and it's role in American society was supposed to be good and fight injustice. Well I was wrong, it was a Jewish organization setup to monitor, censor and bully people who get in the way of Neo-Zionism and it's propagandized genocidal agenda. You see these Zionists (and I am talking about a handfull) only care about their own suffering they don't care about anyone elses and it takes incredible gaul to be like that. Do us all a favour and put a big fat Z in front of ADL………..lying scumbags.

  • Mallee

    No doubt ,some will think that Rabbi  Weiss should sit on the low couch with the Turkish Embassador. They have no understanding, as to why he is actually elevated, higher than they can understand or ever accomplish.

    Pity,  that our government (Gillard and Co) does not realise that they, in reality,  are also seated alongside the Turkish embassador, so far as our Israeli apoligists are concerned.