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.

Hands up the New Zealanders who want to hear more about Israel and Palestine?

Two weeks after the New Zealand magazine The Listener published a feature on my work and then last week two letters discussing the Middle East, more letters in this week’s edition. This is the kind of open debate we need far more of:

Antony Loewenstein was paraphrased as saying, “Israel is racist and brutal if you are unfortunate enough to be living there and not Jewish.” Joanne Black’s article (“Cry the promised land”, May 15) containing this statement was strong on anti-Israeli rhetoric but weak on facts to support such a serious charge.
Non-Jewish citizens in Israel have the same human, civil and religious rights as Jews. Their religious freedoms and sites are respected and protected by the state. Non-Jews have equal status under the law and are represented in the highest levels of Israel’s judiciary and political system.
In other Middle Eastern countries, racism and brutal discrimination have become a routine experience of religious and political minorities. In Gaza and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, Christians are harassed and intimidated by Hamas and PA officials, anti-Semitism is actively promoted and religious Jews are vilified. The persecution and “ethnic cleansing” of Iraq’s ancient Christian community has been widely reported, as has the brutal suppression of political dissent in Iran. In Saudi Arabia, public expression of Christianity is illegal and Israelis are banned.
Black and Loewenstein appear unconcerned by the systematic racism and brutality perpetrated by Israel’s neighbours against Jews and other minorities.
Although Israel has consistently sought peace with its neighbours, it has had to defend itself against hostile nations and political and terrorist organisations that have actively sought Israel’s annihilation since before 1948. Israelis have experienced brutality and racism from their neighbours, yet Black and Loewenstein seem oblivious to this.
Loewenstein should consider the appalling consequences of unleashing the extreme racism and brutality that are actively promoted among and by the Arab Palestinian leadership before calling for Israel to “give up the concept of a Jewish state”.
Kirsty Walker
(Hamilton)

Anti-Zionist Antony Loewenstein gets an indulgent platform to air his opinions. His view is held by a vocal minority, both in Israel and outside, and it is one we hear quite often in New Zealand.
Perhaps we could now have the testimony of one of the Palestinians who wants to live in peace and mutual respect with Israel, and is prepared to say so? Don’t look for them in the Palestinian Territories, because they will have been hunted down and killed by the authorities there. But there are Palestinian voices in exile who are well worth hearing and who never make the mainstream media. We could also learn a lot from the views of one of the 1.5 million Israeli Arabs who live in Israel with full civil and political rights, 77% of whom told a Harvard University survey that Israel was the country they most want to live in.
Publishing either or both these views would bring more credit to Kiwi journalism, and a better understanding to the New Zealand public, rather than just adding one more to the catalogue of Israel-bashing articles in the New Zealand media.
Chris Morey
(Omapere)

Unfortunately, Michael Kuttner’s assertion, “Israel is a bastion of human rights for all citizens regardless of race, creed or ethnic origin” (Letters, May 22), is too long to fit on a Tui billboard.
Gail Wilson
(Northland, Wellington)

It is somewhat reassuring to know I wasn’t the only person misled over Israel (Letters, May 22). In the 1960s, I, too, gave – four years’ free labour to the “building of the state”. Had I known then the truth about the basis of the new state of Israel, I would not have been a part of it. The lies told could be called propaganda. Sadly, it has taken me many years to understand what really happened.
Only if there are more people prepared to speak out, who are not afraid to be labelled “Jew haters”, “anti-Semites”, etc, will we begin to be truly informed. Thank you, Antony Loewenstein, for helping lift the lid.
The changes in Israel since 1967 have been dramatic and unfortunately have worsened the attitude towards the Palestinians. Those who have been displaced, “strangled” in Gaza and elsewhere, have every reason to hold little hope for their future. Most distressing is that this treatment is being meted out by the generation following those who suffered so much in the Holocaust. Surely the time has come to stop hiding behind the past and face the fact that Zionism is nothing more than imperialism, theft and racism.
Gwen Whitmore
(Havelock North)

2 comments ↪
  • S. Kenan

    Chris Morey says of Israeli Arabs (Zionist term for Palestinians) 77% of whom told a Harvard University survey that Israel was the country they most want to live in.” Of course they do. It is their country.  Ask Australians where they want to live and most will say Australia. Same goes for most people about their homeland.The answer does not mean the survey respondents are happy with the State they live in; no doubt many want major changes. Thanks again Antony for your work in New Zealand as a journalist.

  • Ingrid

    It must be made clear who zionists are. They are for the most part eastern European jews descendants of the Kazar Empire and converted to Judaism. They cannot trace their origins back to Ancient Palestine and therefore they have no claim whatsoever on that land. Their only connection to that land is religious. If they wish to live in an "exclusive" jewish community they could go to "Birobidzhan" in Russia, a region that Stalin gave to them.