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.

Meeting Tony Abbott in Sydney and shooting the Palestinian breeze

Last night I attended an event in central Sydney at Gleebooks with Leader of the Liberal Opposition Tony Abbott and writer and speech-writer Bob Ellis.

The room was packed with around 200 people and the two men initially talked about the war in Afghanistan (Abbott backs it, “the best of the worst options” for the country), refugees, this year’s election campaign, the release of former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks  (“I hope he’s learned his lesson and can move on with his life”) and the Labor government. He’s oddly likeable, even if his politics are laced with hardline Catholicism and conservatism. Abbott can be arrogant and deluded but also self-deprecating and charming. It’s no wonder he nearly won this year’s election against a Labor rabble of belief-free politicians.

I stood up and asked a question about the Middle East: “At what point will you, the Liberal Party and the major parties in the West recognise Israel for what it is rather than what you want it to be? Israel brutally occupies the Palestinians and the West stays largely silent. What will it take for you to look honestly at the situation and not simply mouth pro-Israel platitudes?”

Abbott said he had visited Israel a few times and believed in a two-state solution, a Jewish state and Palestinian state, and acknowledged the situation wasn’t “perfect” but remained far better than every other country in the region. He talked positively about the rights of Israeli Arabs in Israel but ignored the Palestinians in the occupied territories. I sensed he didn’t know too much about it all – at a few points he stated that he wasn’t an “expert” – but he seemed to be mouthing platitudes. The “lines” were repeated over and over again.

After, while signing books, I approached Abbott again and we talked for a few minutes about the conflict. He said he had visited Israel as a guest of the government and only been taken to where they wanted to show him. When I said that there were Jewish-only roads in the West Bank, he said that was “bad” and looked uncomfortable. I urged him to visit the region again and spend time in the West Bank and even Gaza. Abbott told me that he “admired” Israel because of its supposedly thriving democracy, free and open debate and ability of Arabs to vote and participate in the democratic process. It was a postcard version of the truth, ignoring the inherent discrimination within Israel and utterly forgetting the Palestinian territories.

8 comments ↪
  • Aaron

    Thank you, and excellent work Antony – I wished you'd used the word apartheid, however. It's accurate and transmits so much information so quickly, even to those know absolutely nothing about ME politics.

     

    It's no excuse, but at least we know ignorance is Tony Abbott's explanation. I'm going to send Abbott a copy of Jeff Halper's "An Israeli in Palestine". It's an excellent primer on the conflict and Halper's being an Israeli is an excellent "in".

     

    Now, what's Julia Gillard's excuse? After the Mathieson/Dadon thing it's much worse than ignorance I fear.

  • Brian

    Abbott seems to make a practice of confessing  his ignorance….as in the Kerry O'Brien interview on Broadband

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    While it may be possible to turn Abbott's personal view of the Israeli occupation, he faces his Parliamentary party bigots like George Brandis, and those faceless Aussie Zionists who contribute big-time to the Libs (& Labor) via blind financing.

    Both major parties simply cannot afford to lose this financing over a conflict which after all, is the lynchpin of US global policy.

    Only when political donation become totsally transparent in Oz, will there be an opportunity to face-down the rich Aussie Zionist bigots.

    There's an Aussie organisation devoted to undoing this campaign finance rort, and I'll search it & post on this item.  

  • H

    There are not "Jewish only roads", that's misleading. There are Israeli-only roads which all Israeli's irrespective or race or religion can use; Arabs and Jews can use them even if Palestinians can't. There is also the phenonemon of Palesinian only roads which Israeli's can't use.
    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x
     

    Some roads were made Israeli-only to protect Israeli civilians in the 2nd Intifada (which was a massive suicide bombing campaign). But since then these West Bank roads are being reopened to Palestinians and checkpoints are being progressively closed.

     

    Lastly, the South African concept of apartheid doesn't apply when all Israeli citizens get equal civil and political rights irrespective of race or religion or skin colour. And apartheid doesn't apply when Palestinians in the Territories are subject to their own self-governing Palestinian Authority; if there are government services such as better teachers or nurses or more police that Palestinians need, Palestinians should look to their own self-governing Palestinian Authority.

  • H

    Referring to a comment above: there is no need to subscribe to Jewish conspiracy theories. Jews don't control the world, neither do they control Australia's political parties. The views of Australia's major political parties are their own.

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    Well then Aitch or H, why do both major Aussie parties offer unquuestioning support for Israel….and have done so for 30 years.

    We look forward to your detailed explanation.

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  • http://rememberpalestine.blogspot.com Ozziebob

    Is H disingenuous, misleading or just plain stupid? Go there, open your eyes and then come back and report what you see. The West Bank has been under harsh military occupation for 43 years, during which time Israel's theft of land and water and its denial of basic human rights to the indigenous inhabitants has intensified. Zionists will not be happy until the whole of Mandate Palestine has been ethnically cleansed – their own Final Solution.