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.

Failing to take responsibility for what Zionism has created

Following the publication of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices advertisement across the Australian media yesterday, Zionist columnist Mark Baker writes in the Australian Jewish News that debate over “Jewish” issues should be wider but he still wants to proscribe certain boundaries. He condemns the lack of “balance” in the IAJV statement, implying somehow that both Israelis and Palestinians are equally to blame for the issue. Baker simply can’t come to terms with his own complicity in the Zionist occupation project, deploying equivocal language in the process. Soft, Left Zionist ideas have allowed the Jewish Diaspora to show its “love” for Israel by stepping so carefully around the Middle East debate that the Israeli government has merely continued to continue the colonies in the West Bank and beyond:

There is a McCarthyist spirit in the Jewish air, an atmosphere where thoughts are censored and words cut off mid-sentence. In an age of mass communications, there is no need to summons a person to testify. A flick of the computer button can spread a lie through the viral stratosphere, and travel to people’s dinner tables for a lively conversation of malice and libel.

The crucible for these whispering campaigns is spawned by fear, and in our world there is indeed much to fear. As Jews, our traumas born of history are being fuelled by an international effort to delegitimise the places and ideas we love most. Our Zionism – Israel – is under threat in a way that I have not experienced in my lifetime, surpassing even the 1975 UN circus that equated Zionism with racism. Today, the climate that would turn Israel into a pariah state is buttressed by a world leader who uses genocidal rhetoric, and will soon have the means to make good on his promise.

Yet in defending Israel, we also need to be vigilant that we do not surrender the values that make Israel worth fighting for; the justness of its identity as the national homeland of the Jewish people, its commitments to free speech and equality, the passionate arguments that make Israel one of the world’s most vibrant democracies.

Within Israel, there is currently a struggle over the meaning of these values that goes beyond the political wings of Left and Right. Which is the truer face of Zionism: The Zionism of the settlers in Hebron or the Zionism of protestors at Sheikh Jarrah? The Zionism of groups that are attacking Israel’s Supreme Court and universities, or the Zionism that values the rule of law and academic inquiry? The Zionism that treats Israeli Arabs as a fifth column, or the Zionism that upholds the rights of the Arab minority in the spirit of Israel’s Declaration of Independence?

For those of us in the Diaspora for whom Israel is one of the core pillars of our identity, we cannot ignore the impact of these struggles. In fact, our community has always provided an infrastructure that respects the differences among us, while recognising that in our diversity we are all working towards a common goal.

How do we define these common goals of Zionism? How do we reach them?

Herein lies the current danger. There is a worldwide trend in Israel and the Diaspora to circumscribe in the narrowest way how we love and advocate for Israel. Patriotism gets measured through rigid slogans rather than through the vitality of Israel itself.

The danger that we face is that increasing numbers of Jews will find themselves alienated from this constricted space, and pushed outside the doors of Jewish life.

There are many students, for example, who in this last election voted for the Greens as an extension of their Jewish readings of environmental responsibility. I have heard people characterise these voters as traitors and anti-Zionists. If we really cared about Jewish continuity, would we allow them to be maligned in this way?

Should we censor Jews if they state that they do not believe in the strategy of blockading Gaza, or if they argue that Jerusalem should be the shared capital of Israel and a future Palestinian state, sentiments that are expressed by a large portion of Israelis?

To be sure, anyone who is a Zionist today will be concerned about the campaign to delegitimise Israel and how words of criticism might fuel the anti-Zionist agenda. The recent statement by the Independent Australian Jewish Voices, for example, lacks any semblance of balance and is designed to present an inflammatory condemnation of Israel, heightened by rhetorical references to Holocaust memory.

While a balanced response is difficult to strike, a monolithic approach that does not allow for criticism of Israeli policies is counterproductive. It rings false with the public and with ourselves; it smothers the diversity of our Zionist commitments; it serves the status quo and undermines the imperative of reaching a two-state solution; and it won’t wash with a younger generation of Jews who are demanding an authentic, open conversation about their values and Israel.

A culture that stifles debate is encircling our community. Fear of being abused or distorted or taken out of context is silencing many younger Jews.

I fear that if we don’t broaden the discussion, then we will wake up and find a new generation that is Jewishly silent, which will translate into apathy, assimilation, and alienation from Israel. The ideas that we wish to defend will have been destroyed by our own zealotry. And the McCarthyists will have no one left to pursue except themselves.

Mark Baker is director of the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation and associate professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Monash University.

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