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.

J Street tries to define itself as a progressive, Zionist organisation (with very mixed success)

J Street continues to walk a very fine line between pleasing the hard Right on the Goldstone report and Iran sanctions while also demanding more open debate in America about the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Here’s Jeremy Ben-Ami’s latest statement:

I’ve just landed in the US following an exhilarating week leading a delegation of five members of Congress to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. [1]

The trip, sponsored by the J Street Education Fund, exposed key friends of Israel in Congress to complexity on the ground, to divergent opinions and to first-hand controversy.

The Delegation visited Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman, meeting with politicians in and out of government.  We dined and debated with civil society leaders in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.  We heard the first-hand powerful narratives of Israeli settlers, families in Sderot, human rights activists, Gilad Shalit’s father, and descendants of Palestinian refugees.

With one notable exception – as you may know, we were placed under a so-called “boycott” by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.  On the heels of telling the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations that J Street should stop calling itself something it’s not (i.e., “pro-Israel”), Ayalon leaked to Israeli media word of a boycott of the group, supposedly preventing us from meeting with Israeli officials. [2]

Needless to say, the members of Congress were none-too-pleased, holding a press conference to express their shock and issuing a statement demanding clarification from the Government. [3]

For many – from Israeli political insiders and media to American Jewish leaders and politicians – this incident was just the latest in a series of indications that the Foreign Ministry in this Government is less an open front door to Israel than a checkpoint for ideological purity.

This week’s spat between the Ministry and our Delegation deepens concerns about the increasing inability of some in Israel and in the US to distinguish between criticism of or disagreement with Israeli policy and outright hostility to the state itself. [4]

The more supporters of Israel put themselves in a defensive crouch, lashing out at the slightest hint of criticism, the less meaningful their entreaties will be when the threats are real and the enemies truly lethal.

Thankfully, within twenty-four hours, the Government in this case backtracked, apologizing to the Delegation.  (See Jerusalem Post and Haaretz coverage of yesterday’s apologies). [5, 6]

There is much beyond this controversy to share from the visit. We were struck by the disparity between the fierce urgency felt by many whose lives focus on solving the conflict and the lack of urgency felt by many others whose lives are more removed from day-to-day contact with the conflict.

We heard dramatically varying views on the state of American diplomacy – with some unsatisfied with the tactics, pace and results of the Mitchell effort to date, and others expressing great confidence in Senator Mitchell and highly appreciative of his patience, experience and skills.

We heard from those who believe that only if the threat from Iran is dealt with, can Israel with confidence turn to dealing with the Palestinian conflict – and from those for whom action on resolving Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians is a step toward dealing with the Iranian threat.

The diversity of opinions is remarkable; the depth of passion unmistakable.

But I take away from the whole experience a troubling sense that beyond any particular issue of the moment – beyond Iran, Goldstone, Jerusalem, settlements, or Danny Ayalon –  there is a fundamental conflict rising up to face the Jewish people as a whole.

There is in our community – and by that I include the whole of world Jewry as one people from Israel to the US and around the globe – a struggle developing between two camps with radically different visions of Jewish expression in the 21st century.

On one side of this struggle are those committed to our vision of time-honored Jewish and democratic values – grounded in respect for “the other,” a tolerance for dissent, and a willingness to sacrifice territory for peace.

On the other side are those who seem willing to muffle dissent, view all conflict as zero-sum, and place retaining captured land and territory at the center of its value system.

For a while now, it has been popular to say that for Israel there is a choice ahead between the land, being Jewish, and being democratic.  Many leading Israelis have come to see that it’s possible only to have two of the three.

I think the choice for world Jewry is similarly profound and stark.  As a people – do we line up with those who seek to hang on to all of “Greater Israel” and watch our Jewish and democratic values erode in Israel and in our community, or do we stand up urgently for territorial compromise and for behavior in Israel and in our community that reflects our cherished and long-held values?

More than ever, it’s clear to me that we’re not fighting simply over Israeli or American foreign policy.  We’re in a larger and more significant battle over who we are as a people in this new century and how our people are defined collectively for ourselves and for others by the behavior of the country that serves as our national expression.

We’ll be in touch,

– Jeremy

Jeremy Ben-Ami
Executive Director
J Street
February 19, 2010

[1]  The five members of Congress who traveled with the Congressional Delegation are Reps. Lois Capps (CA-23), William Delahunt (MA-10), Bob Filner (CA-51), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), and Donald Payne (NJ-10).

[2]  “Deputy FM Ayalon addresses Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, February 17, 2010.

[3] “Rep. Delahunt Statement on J Street Education Fund Congressional Delegation,” February 17, 2010.

[4] “The Ministry for Isolating Israel,” by Haaretz Editorial Board. Haaretz, February 19, 2010.

[5] “Diaspora Affairs: J Street 1: Ayalon 0,” by Haviv Rettig Gur. The Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2010.

[6] “J Street: Criticism of Israel does not make us the enemy,” by Barak Ravid. Haaretz, February 19, 2010.

Press Release: J Street Education Fund Congressional Mission Leaves for the Middle East, February 12, 2010.

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