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.

Israel and apartheid South Africa were the best of friends

My following article appears in today’s Canberra Times newspaper:

The headline in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz this week was striking: ”Who says Jews and racism don’t go together?” Columnist Akiva Eldar discussed the revelations in a new book by a senior editor at Foreign Policy magazine that details the extensive relationship between apartheid South Africa and Israel. The work by Sasha Polakow Suransky, The Unspoken Alliance, has already triggered front-page headlines across the globe, especially the allegation that Israel was on the verge of selling nuclear technology to Pretoria in the 1970s, a charge vigorously denied by Israel’s current President Shimon Peres, then defence minister.

Suransky recounts how in 1974 Peres, sitting in Yitzhak Rabin’s first government, returned from a secret visit to South Africa and wrote to his gracious hosts that, ”this cooperation is based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies, but also on the unshakeable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and refusal to submit to it.” Less than two years later, Israel welcomed South African prime minister Balthazar Johannes Vorster to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and he was given full diplomatic status throughout his stay.

Vorster was an unapologetic backer of National Socialism in Germany and regularly compared his country to the supposed achievements under Nazi Germany. In 1976, Israel was still searching the world for former Nazis but realpolitik took centre stage. The relationship between the nations was initially economic but soon developed into a deeper ideological commitment to racial supremacy.

Suransky writes in his prologue that by the end of the 1970s, ”many members of the [ruling] Likud Party shared with South Africa’s leaders an ideology of minority survivalism that presented the two countries as threatened outposts of European civilisation defending their existence against barbarians at the gates.”

The African National Congress and Palestinian Liberation Organisation were common enemies that allegedly threatened the established order so a brutal war against ”terrorism” had to be waged. Israel provided arms, uranium and military training to Pretoria when global sanctions were in place and even while the Jewish state publicly chastised the government’s extremism.

One of the few countries willing to provide secret support for South Africa’s racial policies until the fall of apartheid in 1994 was Israel. Suransky has uncovered mountains of documents that detail the close ties between the military establishments of both countries. For example, in 1977 South African General Constand Viljoen visited the occupied Palestinian territories and was astonished with the level of efficiency of the Israeli checkpoint system (hundreds of which are still in operation across the West Bank today). He wrote a report to his country’s defence minister that, ”the thoroughness with which Israel conducts this examination is astonishing. At the quickest, it takes individual Arabs that come through there about one-and-a-half hours. When the traffic is heavy, it takes from four to five hours.”

The Israeli policy of separation remains in effect today. US magazine The Nation recently uncovered a segregated road network throughout the West Bank, built by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, that facilitates the Israeli goal of annexing vast sections of the West Bank, making a Palestinian state impossible.

In another sign of South African-inspired policy, Route 443 is a road that runs through the West Bank and has long been inaccessible to Palestinians; only Israelis have been allowed to use it. Although the Israeli High Court ruled recently that the road be open to all, this week the Israeli military announced that they would introduce new checkpoints along the route, further isolating the indigenous population in the area.

The justifications for such moves are remarkably consistent with the South African model. ”Security” and ”fighting terrorism” are buzzwords used by the Zionist state to discriminate along racial lines. The announcement last week by musician Elvis Costello to not play in Israel due to his concerns over treatment of Palestinians is just the latest example of a growing global movement to isolate Israel until it conforms to international, humanitarian law. Similar tactics were used successfully against apartheid South Africa.

Recent months have even seen ongoing attacks against South African judge Richard Goldstone who documented for the United Nations war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas during the January 2009 invasion. He has been accused of being an ”apartheid judge” sentencing blacks to their deaths during the dark days of the regime but critics conveniently ignore, as Suransky notes in Foreign Policy, that, ”Israel’s government did far more to aid the apartheid regime than Goldstone ever did.”

Israel’s relationship with apartheid South Africa remains relevant today because one regime recognised the errors of its way and reformed while the other merely accelerates the colonisation process.

The Unspoken Alliance may be recent history, but its message resonates into the 21st century, highlighting the moral degradation of discriminating, harassing and isolating one people at the barrel of a gun.

Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist and the author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution

  • Sol Salbe

    I would have thought it an elementary duty of newspaper to check that  their book reviewer uses the correct the author's name. It's Sasha Polakow-Suransky so when referring to him by his surname only it should be  Polakow-Suransky. I know there have been cutbacks in the print media but this is ridiculous.  The Canberra Times used to maintain a much higher standard.

  • mallee

    The breaking down of the South African Apartheid sytem and reform there, has led many South Africans (white ones) to migrate here. If the immigrants to Oz were part of the apartheid system, then we  trust that they will leave their bigotry behind and not stuff up the Oz system of assimilataion that has been progressing, be it with some hiccups, nicely since WWII and place their loyalties firmly with Australia only, as should all immigrants. Otherwise, they have other places to go and leave us alone and out of the Middle East hate filled mess.

    However, I observe some friction between the newies and the old style Aussie Jew which is a pity.  As they say; "when in Rome…".