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.

It’s South Africa all over again

Who says the increasingly vocal campaign to highlight Israel’s “normalisation” efforts isn’t gathering steam?

When well-organized hecklers disrupted a recent London performance by the Jerusalem Quartet, the protest resonated far beyond Wigmore Hall, the city’s famous and much loved lunchtime place of pilgrimage for music lovers seeking a break from the hubbub of central London.

Not only did the disturbance cause the BBC to pull the plug on its nationwide live broadcast of the lunchtime recital; it sparked a new round of increasingly heated debates about the legitimacy of political demonstrations targeting Israel’s “cultural ambassadors” abroad, by protesters seeking to publicize alleged war crimes and human rights violations by the Jewish state.

Since the March 29 Wigmore protest, moreover, a landmark legal ruling elsewhere in the United Kingdom — arising from a previous demonstration against the quartet two years ago — is likely to further embolden those behind such actions.

In an April 8 ruling, a court in Edinburgh, Scotland, cleared five pro-Palestinian activists of racism, dismissing charges that they were guilty of racially aggravated conduct against members of the quartet.

The case dates to an August 2008 concert at the Edinburgh International Festival that hecklers disrupted repeatedly in protest against Israel’s blockade of Gaza, occupation of the West Bank and the musicians’ alleged links to the Israeli military.

State prosecutors had claimed that using this venue to protest against Israel and Israelis showed “malice and ill will” toward the quartet because of the musicians’ membership in a racial group, rendering the protest racist.

But after hearing a full transcript of the incident from a BBC recording of the concert, the presiding legal official (known as a “Sheriff” in this branch of Scottish law) ruled that the charges were disproportionate and failed to meet the test of racial abuse. He ruled the prosecution was a clear breach of the right to protest.

That it was the Jerusalem Quartet’s luck to be the target of high-profile protests in both cases is no small irony: The group’s name and its members’ past national service as musicians in the Israel Defense Forces notwithstanding, only one of the four lives in Israel today. And two are members and section leaders of the West-Eastern Divan — the youth orchestra co-founded by Edward Said, the late anti-Zionist, Palestinian-American scholar and activist, and by Daniel Barenboim, the Argentine-Jewish pianist and conductor.

The orchestra, based in Spain, is composed of musicians from Israel and of Arabs from across the Middle East, along with others from the region, and is conceived, in Barenboim’s words, “as a project against ignorance [where] people get to know the other, to understand what the other thinks and feels, without necessarily agreeing with it… a platform where the two sides can disagree and not resort to knives.”

“I don’t really know how to respond to these people or the misinformation they have been spreading,” said Kyril Zlotnikov, the quartet’s cellist, of the protesters. The musician, who was born in Minsk, Belarus, and is now based in Portugal, added: “I am an ambassador for my country in the same way that any musician from Britain, for example, is an ambassador for their country. Britain is like other countries in the world that have done some terrible things, but also some amazing good things.”

But a statement that the group released right after the Wigmore incident appeared to be less than accurate. “We are Israeli citizens, but have no connection with or patronage by the Government,” the statement said. In fact, publicity for the group lists Israel’s Foreign Ministry as a sponsor or co-sponsor of numerous appearances by the quartet, including on a European tour from 2005 to 2006 and a tour of the United States from 2007 to 2008. The group’s 2009 Australian tour was supported, in part, by an $8,000 Israeli Foreign Ministry grant, according to The Age, an Australian daily.

In that same statement, the two members who play with the West-Eastern Divan added, “It is destructive of our attempts to foster Israel-Arab relations for us to be the subject of demonstrations of the kind we suffered the other day.”

“So what?” say supporters of the protest in the U.K., increasingly a European center for pro-Palestinian activism. Those involved in other manifestations of the same movement scored bigger publicity coups by securing arrest warrants from lower courts ahead of visits by Israeli military and political figures.

The Jerusalem Quartet should be boycotted, they say, for reasons such as their role as cultural ambassadors for Israel, the fact that their tours have been sponsored by the Israeli government and because they have enjoyed an official status in the military as distinguished IDF musicians.

“Their whole career has intertwined with the Israeli army and support for Zionist institutions. That is why they were targeted,” said Tony Greenstein, who was one of the Wigmore Hall protesters.

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