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.

Churches standing up to ‘pro-Israel’ politicians

My following article appears today in Eureka Street:

The Australian Jewish News (AJN) was outraged. Its editorial in late July condemned the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) for a resolution calling on Australians to boycott Israeli goods made in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The AJN wrote that the move contributed to a global campaign to ‘delegitimise’ Israel and lent ‘credence to the perception of an apartheid state.’

Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot, in a letter to the National Council of Churches’ general secretary, alluded to the Churches’ alleged complicity in the Holocaust. The motion ‘revived painful memories for Jews in Australia of earlier times in Europe when churches allowed themselves to be swept up in the tide of popular prejudices against the Jewish people.’ Any moves to end West Bank settlements, illegal under international law, were framed as unbalanced and biased against Israel and Jews.

Relations between the Jewish and Christian establishment remain strained despite meetings with representatives to calm the atmosphere.

The Zionist establishment was equally offended by the resolution calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and cessation of terrorist acts on all sides.

The NCCA’s move is in fact remarkably level-headed and fits comfortably with a growing global movement to increase civil pressure on Israel to reverse its colonisation program.

The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign is a loosely-connected collection of church groups, activists, Jews, Christians and Muslims determined to act where political leaders have failed. There is no united vision, no definite prescription to solve the conflict and no hierarchy or leadership. Its overall goal is to bring justice for the Palestinians who have been living under occupation for decades.

Susanne Hoder, a member of a ‘divestment task force’’ set up by the Lawrence-based New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, recently told the Boston Globe that after first visiting Palestine in 2004, ‘I was shocked. I came back with a clear sense that as churches, we shouldn’t be sitting on the sidelines.’

It should be noted that the NCCA is only calling for a boycott of goods produced in the illegal Jewish colonies, not a wholesale boycott of Israel itself. It is a position supported by the US-backed Palestinian Authority and is already having a noticeable effect on the settlers’ bottom line.

The response from the organised Jewish community in Australia and beyond has been apoplectic, accusing pro-boycott groups of anti-Semitism and spreading ‘anti-Israel propaganda’. However, as explained by American Zionist leader Mitchell Plitnick:

‘The pro-Israel, pro-peace movement should be embracing the boycott of settlement products. The reasons are both ideological and practical. Ideologically, we need to draw a distinction between Israel and the settlements, and we need to make opposition to the latter as uncompromising as support of the former… Boycotting settlement products and civil action to divorce Israeli businesses from the settlements are acts that are very much in Israel’s interests and can effectively promote peace. But if we leave such actions only in the hands of those who do not care or are openly hostile to Israel, we are abdicating a powerful tool.’

Increasingly the NCCA is joined by churches across the world. In particular the British Methodist Church agreed this year to a resolution that called for a boycott of goods from Israeli settlements. Christine Elliott, the Church’s Secretary for External Relationships, said in an official press release that, ‘The goal of the boycott is to put an end to the existing injustice. It reflects the challenge that settlements present to a lasting peace in the region.’

Dr Stephen Leah, a Methodist preacher and member of the churches conference, told the Electronic Intifada that Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement render impossible the sort of inter-faith meetings that critics of the Methodist motion say they support. It is a view shared by growing number of key unions in Australia who just this year resolved to boycott Israeli goods from settlements. The Australian Jewish Democratic Society has been condemned for similar moves but has defended itself in a recent statement.

Opponents of any kind of BDS remain in denial about the current state of Israeli politics. This includes threats to institute laws to pressure all citizens to pledge loyalty to a Jewish state, fascist leanings of the Netanyahu government, the ongoing siege on Gaza and expansion of West Bank settlements.

BDS is growing, like the surge against apartheid South Africa decades ago, because Western leaders refuse to acknowledge what they are backing. Being ‘pro-Israel’,  understood as in the declarations of Barack Obama, Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott, is simply code for doing nothing.

2 comments ↪
  • whitedingo

     "Jewish state" WTF is a supposed opponent of fascism and apartheid employing a demagogic, propagandist phrase manufactured by the very hardcore, hardline Rightists and theocratic autocrats he claims to oppose?!

    Israel is a State for all Israelis, regardless of politics, religion, colour or credo, not just for Jews!

     

  • Mohan

    White dingo would be correct if the truth was not biased against Israel. Israel decribes itself as the state of the world's Jews. And it would be a state of all its citizens if it allows the Arabs in the West BAnk to vote and have the same righst as their Jewish settler neighbours.