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.

Israel doesn’t believe in Egyptian democracy

My following article appears in today’s edition of Crikey:

While the Egyptian masses are uprising in unprecedented ways across the country against a Western-backed dictator, Israel fears the worst.

The country’s President Shimon Peres said last week that, “no matter what they say, we owe Mubarak true gratitude for being as steadfast as a rock and for working towards peace and stability in the Middle East.”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told CNN that Mubarak was “immensely courageous and a force for good” for the Israeli/Palestinian “peace process.”

The Israeli mainstream media is filled with apocalyptic visions. Ben Caspit writes in Maariv that, “Al-Jazeera has become the greatest enemy of the old world, the world of stability and moderate Middle Eastern regimes.”

Truly free speech in the Arab world threatens Israel because a wide diversity of views, including Islamists and critics of Zionism, will be more loudly heard and necessarily incorporated into the political mainstream.

The American media and our own are filled with neo-conservative doomsayers who argue the Muslim Brotherhood is on the verge of taking over Egypt though there is no evidence for this.

Indeed, Washington and Britain have a history of working alongside Islamists in their battles against Communism and the years after September 11, 2001.

Israeli-connected “experts” routinely feature in our media despite having no success in bringing peace to the Middle East. Here in Australia, last week’s ABC TV’s Lateline interviewed former American ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk though he wasn’t once asked about Israel.

What we are seeing is nothing less than a profound identity crisis for the Zionist state. The region is awake and Israel fears losing its mantle as the “Middle East’s Only Democracy” Inc.

Naomi Klein tweeted last Wednesday: “Israel, call your brand managers, the whole world sees your claim to being ‘only democracy in ME’ relies on supporting dictatorship.”

Jewish Israeli blogger Magnes Zionist articulated the sentiment well a few days ago :

“For if the price to pay for a Jewish state is acquiescing in tyranny and injustice for reasons of realpolitik – as Israel did with apartheid South Africa – then arguably that price is too high…”

Washington, via its mouthpiece the New York Times, has essentially acknowledged that the Egyptian crisis for them is all about Israel.

Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator, told The New York Times what was keeping Washington up through the night: “It really can be distilled down to one thing, and that’s Israel.”

For decades Israel has maintained regional hegemony through a combination of US protection and bribery. Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are relied upon to take American money to maintain the fiction of peace with the Jewish state while abusing the Palestinians living within their borders.

Indeed, mainstream Jewish writers in the US have been continuing this delusion, stating that Egypt’s “moderation” under Mubarak allowed Israeli/Arab peace to develop. Leslie Susser wrote in JTA that President Obama was sending the wrong message to “moderate” Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia that they “might be as peremptorily abandoned in time of need.”

Women can’t work or drive in “moderate” Saudi Arabia.

Middle East “stability” has led to this: the West Bank occupation has deepened, fascism has gone mainstream within Israel, the siege on Gaza continues (with Egyptian help) and Israel’s Jewish mainstream increasingly turns away from democratic norms (a new study found more than half polled would limit media freedom if Israel’s image was being threatened).

Mubarak has provided false comfort for too long. He was feted by every Israeli Prime Minister since the 1980s, happy to collude with the ongoing degradation of the Palestinian population because he was paid to do so. He wasn’t an independent actor – alongside Jordan and Saudi Arabia’s leaders – because he knew his role and received countless billions to fulfil his mission.

Egypt has been the second highest recipient of US aid after Israel for years and money has bought him Western political elite legitimacy. But his people largely loathed him (something I heard time and time again during my various visits to Egypt).

The brutal siege on Gaza, maintained by Israel and Cairo, is a discriminatory policy designed to crush the Hamas party that rules there. But the opposite has happened; the Islamist group has been strengthened. Israel is now even demanding that whatever new Egyptian government may emerge must recognise the peace treaty with the Jewish state, regardless of what it has done to the Palestinians under occupation.

Thomas Friedman in the New York Times is urging the Israelis to do a deal with the Palestinians in light of the Egyptian uprisings, as a way to save the Jewish state. The wishes of the Palestinian people are clearly secondary. Egyptians (or Palestinians for that matter) can never see the West as an honest broker when their opponents are funded and armed to oppress them.

Some in Israel are realising an opportunity. Haaretz has editorialised that Benjamin Netanyahu should prepare for a “new regional order…in which the citizens of Arab states, and not just tyrants and their cronies, influence the trajectory of their countries’ development.”

Anshel Pfeffer argued in Haaretz that Israel’s image, by so closely backing a brutal Arab regime, is shown to be saying that only the Jewish state deserves choice and freedom from authoritarianism:

“But even if it is difficult for us to accept it, Israel was simply not a factor in the whole Egyptian saga of the past week. And there is no reason that it should be. True, they don’t like us, and why should they? They are Arabs and Muslims, and rightfully or not, they see Israel as an occupying country, and they want an Egyptian government to do more to right the wrong. Been to Europe lately? They don’t like us much there either, for precisely the same reasons — but the Europeans apparently deserve democracy more than Egypt. After all, we were happy when the Berlin Wall fell.”

Israel fears losing its status as the Middle East’s brave island of democracy. The threat of a true Arab democracy, writes Yoav Fromer in Tablet, is “the chance that a genuine Arab democracy might raise the bar for Israel and prompt international calls for it to get its own democracy in order, end the occupation of Palestinian territories, and amend its discriminatory policies toward its Arab minority.”

*Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist and author of My Israel Question

2 comments ↪
  • Randy

    You write "Truly free speech in the Arab world threatens Israel because a wide diversity of views, including Islamists and critics of Zionism, will be more loudly heard and necessarily incorporated into the political mainstream". Are you seriously asking us to believe that citiscism of Zionism could be any louder than it already is in the Arab Press/World.

    Presumably you would much prefer a 'democratic' anti-zionist Egypt that attacks israel.

  • It is loud, sure, but no where near as loud as the Hasbara.

    After all, look at all that money spent wasted on trying to keep the zionist story straight and on tune.. But look.. the cork is out of the bottle, the lid is off the box…