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.

Talking BDS post flotilla massacre

My following interview with Green Left Weekly appears today:

Sydney-based journalist and author Antony Loewenstein is an outspoken critic of Israeli policies and author of the best-selling 2006 book My Israel Question. He is the co-founder of advocacy group Independent Australian Jewish Voices and is a board member of Macquarie University’s Centre for Middle East and North African Studies. Articles and commentary by Loewenstein can be found at Antonyloewenstein.com.

Green Left Weekly’s Tony Iltis spoke with Loewenstein about Israel’s military assault on the unarmed Freedom Flotilla, which sought to bring humanitarian aid to break Israel’s siege of the Palestinian Gaza Strip. At least nine activists were killed in the assault.

* * *

Loewenstein told GLW he was surprised by Israel’s assault on the Freedom Flotilla. “While we’re clearly used to Israel breaking international law by occupying peoples land, killing people, launching unprovoked wars — that’s normal Zionist behaviour.

“But”, he added, “this was surprising because it appears to be so utterly disproportionate, which again is not unique for Israel, but is so counterproductive.”

Loewenstein said the action shows “sheer arrogance and self-delusion”. He said if the action was fully thought through by Israel, “and evidence suggests it was”, then it apparently believed that “whatever Israel was to do, the world would simply accept”.

“Or more importantly, the US would support Israel when it claims it was self-defence.”

He said: “What does seem clear is that Israel believes using overwhelming force in the middle of the night on a humanitarian ship in the middle of the ocean, in international waters, would somehow not provoke some kind of response.

“The argument has been made that the activists on the boat reacted violently and Israel had no choice but to open fire on them.

“In the footage that Israel has released thus far, you do see evidence of the commandos coming from the helicopters and being set upon by activists.

“But what was Israel expecting people to do? Simply lie there and take it? The truth is that Israel was invading a sovereign entity on international waters and people had a right to defend themselves from that attack.”

He told GLW: “The bigger issue here is not this tragedy, but the siege on Gaza. That’s what this is all about.

“It is about the fact that the siege is immoral and counterproductive. This has brought far greater focus onto the blockade of Gaza, which has been going now for three-and-a-half years.

“I did hear that Egypt has opened its border with Gaza temporarily — we don’t know for how long, maybe just three or four days. Of course Egypt’s role in the blockade is just as scandalous as Israel’s.

“In a sense, they’re a client state that does the dirty work of Israel and the US.”

On whether this incident will prove to be a turning point in the struggle for justice and peace in the Middle East, Loewenstein said: “It’s very hard to say. Clearly, there are now growing international calls for the lifting of the siege, including from our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who’s hardly known for being brave on the Middle East (or on anything really).

“He did come out yesterday and say the siege should be lifted, which is a welcome comment from the Australian government and a very rare one at that.”

But he added, “the government that matters the most is the US”.

“The Obama administration’s response so far has been tepid, to put it mildly. Although they have in the past called for the lifting of the siege, there has not been any comment along those lines in the last 48 hours.”

However, Loewenstein added: “Just this week there was an interview in the [British] Guardian with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who said that there was growing contact between his organisation and the Obama administration but America simply hasn’t got the guts to speak out.

“So there was contact. And if there’s going to be any chance of peace, Hamas must be involved in the process.

“We keep hearing so much propaganda that Hamas are like Hitler, and they’re going to destroy all the Jews, that they hate Jews. There are undoubtedly some elements in Hamas that don’t like Jews. I saw this when I was in Gaza.

“But the truth is that they are a pragmatic political organisation that won a democratic election four years ago.”

He said progress to peace could not occur until Israel and the West recognises this. “If they think that continually blockading and isolating Gaza will achieve their interests — well, in fact, it’s having the opposite effect.

“I don’t see any evidence of Israel changing its position on this, frankly, but there needs to be sustained international pressure. If there’s not, and this should have happened a long time ago, there needs to be sustained growing calls and action [targeting Israel with a campaign] of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

“That is the only way Israel will understand — if it feels political pain.”

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