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.

A writer loathed by the Zionist establishment

My following article appears in this week’s Green Left Weekly:

American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein
Directed by David Ridgen & Nicolas Rossier
Baraka Productions

Review by Antony Loewenstein

Jewish critics of Israel are as old as the ideology itself. Zionism was regarded by most Jews in Europe as an idealistic delusion before the Second World War, but the Holocaust literally changed everything.

Providing a safe haven for Jews after the cataclysm became an increasingly appealing option. Little thought was given to the indigenous inhabitants of the land, the Palestinians, and their ties to these ancient grounds.

American writer and academic Norman Finkelstein, whose parents survived the Holocaust, is a central, modern critic of the Jewish state — loathed by the Zionist establishment for his scathing condemnation of Israel’s human rights record in the occupied territories.

American Radical documents the source of his passion and anger. Directed by David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier, it interviews Finkelstein’s friends and foes, painting a character whose determination was forged in the shadow of Israel’s brutal war against Lebanon in 1982.

Finkelstein saw clear parallels with Nazi behaviour; the indiscriminate killing of Arab civilians reminded him of past horrors against his own people.

The allure of Finkelstein’s message isn’t hard to understand. He demands that the same standards should apply to Israel as any other democracy, especially one receiving more than $US3 billion of American aid annually.

All his books, including the latest on the Gaza conflict, This Time We Went Too Far, meticulously highlight the work of respected groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and reveal to a wider public how comprehensive the record against Israeli crimes has become.

“It is not so much that Israel’s behaviour is worse than it was before”, he writes in his new book, “but rather that the record of that behaviour has, finally, caught up with it.”

American Radical portrays a ferocious and hysterical campaign to silence the university professor; the Zionist lobby and its friends in the media almost colluded to bring him down.

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, arguably America’s most prominent Zionist, wages a personal campaign against Finkelstein, lobbying De Paul University to deny him tenure.

The film shows Dershowitz on a personal crusade to crush Finkelstein’s professional life.

Dershowitz in recent months has taken to defaming South African Zionist judge Richard Goldstone after his devastating enquiry into Israeli and Hamas crimes during the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza conflict. Dershowitz has accused rabbis who backed the report as “rabbis for Hamas”.

He is the Zionist enforcer, part of an older generation who see support for Israel crumbling across the world, not least among liberal, American Jewry. The leading supporters of Israel in years to come will be Orthodox Jews and Christian Zionists. Such an outcome bodes ominously for the prospects of peace in the Middle East.

Finkelstein’s position on the conflict is surprisingly conventional, considering the fury directed towards him. He backs a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, and like his mentor Noam Chomsky, rejects the viability of a one-state equation.

After Chomsky’s recent rejection by Israel as he tried to enter the West Bank to lecture at Birzeit University in Ramallah, Finkelstein, who was barred entry into Israel in 2008 for 10 years, told Israeli paper Yediot that the Jewish state had “lost its grip on reality”.

Nowhere has Finkelstein ever called for the end of the Zionist entity.

American Radical is having two exclusive, Australian screenings. The Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP) and Independent Australian Jewish Voices (IAJV) have organised an event in Sydney on June 8 at 6.30pm at The Auditorium, 37 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills.

After the film there will be a discussion between journalist and academic Peter Manning, IAJV co-founder Peter Slezak and myself. Entry donations (minimum $10) will go towards CJPP’s advocacy work and Union Aid Abroad’s programs in Palestine.

The Melbourne screening on June 11 is presented by Australians for Palestine and Students for Palestine. It will be held at 6:30pm at the State Library Conference Centre, Entry 3, La Trobe Street in the city. Entry is by donation (minimum $5). After the film, academic Jeremy Salt, Palestinian writer Samah Sabawi, Peter Slezak and myself will discuss the issues raised by the film.

[Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney independent journalist, author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution and co-founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices.]

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