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 should be given the South African treatment

My following article is written with Australians for Palestine co-founder Moammar Mashni and published in Online Opinion:

“I am a black South African, and if I were to change the names, the description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would be a description of what is happening in South Africa”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, New York 1989

When Desmond Tutu made this comment, the South African apartheid regime was still in power. In 1994, after 45 years of racial segregation, the apartheid era was officially over. When watershed moments like this occur, multiple factors can be attributed. But history is clear that one of the many reasons this tyranny finally succumbed was an international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign – BDS.

There is no doubt the decision taken by Sydney’s Marrickville council last December to heed the 2005 call for BDS by virtually all of Palestinian civil society was going to be controversial; so was the international movement against apartheid South Africa.

With a New South Wales state election just around the corner, and other local councils considering similar BDS proposals across Australia, this issue is generating predictable heat. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Gerard Henderson last week condemned the Greens for ignoring “democratic” Israel. A prominent mural in inner Sydney, normally aimed at attacking Muslim women who wear the burqa, was changed to attack Marrickville mayor and leading Greens candidate Fiona Byrne for supporting BDS. Even DFAT Secretary Dennis Richardson has entered the debate, calling BDS “wacko stuff”.

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph slammed Byrne for daring to consider a trade boycott of China over its human rights abuses in Tibet. She should be praised for consistency, acknowledging that we should not conduct international relations, even with a major trading partner, and ignore gross human rights outrages to make a buck.

As a Palestinian and a Jew, we salute Marrickville for understanding that words about “two-state solution” and “peace process” are soothing to elite media and political ears, but desperate facts on the ground in Palestine require direct action in a consultative and non-violent way. When governments fail to arrest the illegal march of colonisation on Palestinian land, it is not enough to wait for futile peace negotiations that only lead to a more deeply entrenched occupation.

Marrickville council is at least trying to advance the debate about occupation while our leaders visit Israel and dine with Benjamin Netanyahu. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd led the largest ever delegation to Israel in December, barely stopping in the occupied Palestinian territories for a few meetings.

Much as staunch Israel advocates would like to have us believe that apartheid South Africa and Israel are completely different, they are actually intimately linked. Israel was one of the few countries that continued to support apartheid South Africa when most of the international community had instituted its boycott. In his recent book about the relationship, The Unspoken Alliance, author Sasha Polakow-Suransky writes that the Zionist state is “playing its part” in comparison to the darkest apartheid days by instituting a matrix of control against the Palestinians.

In reality, the resolution that Marrickville passed is probably more symbolic than anything else, but it is a necessary one precisely because it has had its intended impact; leading a debate on Palestine/Israel both here and overseas.  In early February , Israeli Member of the Knesset Miri Regev announced that “In the realm of the boycott alone, one can point to real damage to the State of Israel, assessed at tens of millions of US dollars”. It is as legitimate to target Western security firms that assist Israel in the West Bank as boycotting arms dealers who sell weapons to the brutal regimes of Egypt and Libya.

When Israel refuses to cease colony building and Western states, including Australia, continue to fete Israeli “democracy”, BDS becomes a logical and moral tactic. A wide selection of Jewish groups, activists, unions and Israeli citizens has now embraced BDS worldwide.

Israel’s illegal military occupation, West Bank settlements, home demolitions and blockade of Gaza have sometimes been met with Palestinian violence. BDS however is a categorical act of non-violence, yet those who support BDS as a way of franchising the international community into making Israel more accountable are themselves now attacked as ‘delegitimisers’. This is as insidious as calling critics of Israel “anti-Semites” as a way to shut down discussion. It should not succeed.

In the last 25 years, Australia has unfortunately lost its way with respect to dictating any real policy on Palestine/Israel. The major parties say they support a two state solution, but what does that mean when there are 500,000 plus illegal colonists in the lands that are designated as the future ‘Palestine’? Ironically, a UN vote on settlements that took place recently saw only the US (14-1) reject a resolution calling for the immediate halt to all construction in the occupied Palestinian territories.

It has never been clearer, with revolution sweeping across the Arab world, that America and its Western allies much prefer Arab “stability” to maintain the illusion of Israeli democracy. BDS punctures this bubble and clearly asks; do you believe in representative democracy in Palestine and Israel or a state that discriminates against non-Jews in the name of religion?

While the two major Australian parties continue to whitewash this critical issue, the void will inevitably be filled by those compelled to act. We congratulate the NSW Greens for embracing BDS, with the support of their Labor colleagues in Marrickville, as it demonstrates that the impending state election will be hotly contested on local and global issues – not least whether we as Australians truly value equality, human rights and real democracy for all Israelis and Palestinians. Our globalised world dictates acting when injustice rages, whether in Burma, Sri Lanka or Palestine.

Last week at a “meet the candidates” forum in inner Sydney, Greens candidate Fiona Byrne defended her decision to back BDS by saying it was a question of universal human rights, just as councils in the past have supported actions against Burma and China. Israel is committing human rights abuses and we are compelled to act.

To dismiss BDS out of hand as some sort of revolutionary cause célèbre of the left is to utterly denigrate those who died in the name of freedom from oppression. When the Australian Jewish News runs an entire front page headline, “Laughing stock of the world” and “a joke” this week, in reference to the decision by Marrickville council, one seriously wonders whether backing illegal settlements in the West Bank is their way to further 21st century Zionism.

The stated purpose of BDS is “to end Israel’s occupation, colonisation and system of apartheid”. As Israel descends into an increasingly intolerant state with fascist members of parliament in major positions of power, BDS seems the most reasonable response imaginable.

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