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.

FInding a way back to endless talking between Arabs and Israelis

Gideon Levy writes in Haaretz that Washington must back its recent comments to Israel with more than words:

Israel – addicted to the occupation, and showing symptoms of overdose and accumulated damage – has finally found a savior to rescue it from its plight. Israel’s redeemer hasn’t just stood idly by for 40 years, but has even facilitated the habit. However, it seems that change may at last be in the air.

It’s still too early to celebrate sobriety, and successful rehabilitation is by no means certain. This is a long, painful process, and the addict and its savior have yet to show adequate determination. The user is still dependent, kicking and screaming so much that the friend is likely to surrender in despair, to simply give in to pressure, having lost both interest and patience in the rehabilitation. But the measures taken by the Obama administration over the past few days prove that change is possible. Now the loyal friend must be encouraged not to give up, not to quit until the junkie is clean.

Bernard Avishai writes similarly in the International Herald Tribune:

The point is, there is a culture war in Israel now, and the only way the liberal side of it can mount an offensive is if America keeps the heat on. It is futile to treat Israel as if it were the embodiment of some big Jewish psyche in need of reassurances to regain trust in the world.

Israel has its enemies, of course, but it is not the fear of extinction that keeps it wedded to the status quo, which is a security nightmare in its own right. Rather, Israeli leaders have resisted plausible peace ideas because a large and hardened minority, perhaps a third of Jewish Israelis, regards peace as an end to the divinely self-enclosed way of life they have established in and around Jerusalem. The squishy, declining, more cosmopolitan and secular majority is unwilling to confront them for the sake of Palestinians — that is, not unless they have to in order to remain joined to the Western world.

Washington court reporter Jackson Diehl writes in the Washington Post that a group hug between the two sides may be on the horizon:

It’s beginning to look as though a week-long confrontation between the Obama administration and Israel over Jewish housing construction in Jerusalem may be winding toward a negotiated settlement. At least, that is what Israeli officials are hoping as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prepares to reply to a series of demands relayed to him last week by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

If so, that will be a good thing for all sides in the Middle East — including the Palestinians. By seizing on the issue of Jewish settlement in Jerusalem, President Obama has, for the second time in a year, started one of the few fights that the United States cannot win with Israel. In so doing he has forced Palestinian and Arab leaders to toughen their own positions and threatened to create an impasse that would stop the indirect peace talks his diplomats just set up before they can begin.

According to press reports in both countries, Clinton demanded in a phone call last Friday that Netanyahu reverse the decision by a local council to advance the construction of 1,600 new units in a neighborhood called Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighborhood outside Israel’s 1967 borders. Fortunately the State Department has not confirmed that position officially — though it has now been adopted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as a condition for proceeding with the talks.

Netanyahu would never take that step. First, he might be barred from doing so under Israeli law; more importantly, building new Jewish housing in Jerusalem is one of the few issues that virtually all Israelis agree on. No government would formally agree to suspend it — nor is such a suspension necessary to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. Leading Israelis and Palestinians — including Abbas — have repeatedly agreed, beginning a decade ago, that as part of any final settlement Israel will annex the Jewish neighborhoods it has built in Jerusalem since 1967, as well as nearby settlements in the West Bank. In return Palestinians will exercise sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and receive compensatory land in Israel.

The Israeli hope is that rather than continue to press this self-defeating demand, Obama will accept Israeli assurances that the new neighborhood will not be constructed anytime soon; it is, in fact, two or three years from groundbreaking. Coupled to that would be an Israeli pledge to avoid publicizing further construction decisions in Jerusalem. The result would not be a freeze, but something like a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for settlements.

It’s not clear whether Obama will accept such a fudge. But Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, who has been deeply engaged in back channel talks between the two governments, told me Thursday morning that “the goal of both sides at this point is to put this behind us, and go forward with the proximity talks as quickly as possible.” Tensions had been reduced, he said, as it has become clear that Netanyahu’s government was taking Clinton’s message seriously — it has spent days formulating its response in marathon cabinet meetings. Apart from Jerusalem, it seems the two sides are close to an accord on other U.S. requests, such as how the indirect talks will be structured.

It is, after all, peace talks — and not a settlement freeze — that has been the administration’s main goal. Palestinian and Arab leaders, too, have been quietly frustrated with the debate on settlements — they believe the focus should be on the creation of a Palestinian state, not on the construction of a few more homes in an area they have already tacitly conceded to Israel. Obama reopened this toxic issue in what looked like a fit of pique following the announcement of Ramat Shlomo’s expansion during a visit to Israel last week by Vice President Biden. He would be wise now to quickly settle and move on.

2 comments ↪
  • ej

    It's all bullshit. white noise.

    Pull the plug on the dough; eradicate Israel's welfare dependence.

  • iResistDe4iAm

    "Netanyahu would never take that step. First, he might be barred from doing so under Israeli law; more importantly, building new Jewish housing in Jerusalem is one of the few issues that virtually all Israelis agree on" ~ Jackson Diehl 

     

    If Israeli law contravenes international law then it is null and void. UN Security Council resolution 478 declared Israel’s 1980 Jerusalem Law null and void and required that it be rescinded forthwith while affirming that it was a violation of international law. South Africa's apartheid laws were also considered 'legal' once, but only in South Africa. Whether "virtually all Israelis" or "virtually all white South Africans" agree/agreed on illegal 'laws' is irrelevant. 

     

    "No government would formally agree to suspend it — nor is such a suspension necessary to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. Leading Israelis and Palestinians — including Abbas — have repeatedly agreed, beginning a decade ago, that as part of any final settlement Israel will annex the Jewish neighborhoods it has built in Jerusalem since 1967, as well as nearby settlements in the West Bank" ~ Jackson Diehl 

     

     If it's been "repeatedly agreed", then where is the Palestinian state? 

     

    "Palestinian and Arab leaders, too, have been quietly frustrated with the debate on settlements — they believe the focus should be on the creation of a Palestinian state, not on the construction of a few more homes in an area they have already tacitly conceded to Israel" ~ Jackson Diehl 

     

    Who delegated Jackson Diehl as a spokesman for Palestinian and Arab leaders? 

     

    "By seizing on the issue of Jewish settlement in Jerusalem, President Obama has, for the second time in a year, started one of the few fights that the United States cannot win with Israel"

    "Obama reopened this toxic issue in what looked like a fit of pique following the announcement of Ramat Shlomo’s expansion during a visit to Israel last week by Vice President Biden. He would be wise now to quickly settle and move on" ~ Jackson Diehl 

     

    So it's all Obama's fault now? Why are apologists for Israel so quick to blame anybody but Israel or its leaders?