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.

Ongoing importance of separating Zionism and Judaism

The following interview by Sam Whiteley appears in today’s West Australian:

Freelance journalist Antony Loewenstein is no stranger to controversy.

“The silence is over,” says Loewenstein, author of My Israel Question which generated a swell of public debate and was shortlisted for the 2007 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award.

Co-founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices and author of The Blogging Revolution, his book My Israel Question, first published in 2006, has incited a litany of hate mail but for this self-prescribed atheist Jew, (who ironically also lost family during The Holocaust), there has never been a greater need for dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Now in its third edition, the book expands upon the region’s struggle and its myriad complex layers. Beginning with his personal understanding of the conflict whilst growing up in a liberal Jewish family in Melbourne, Lowenstein’s brave tome delves further into the problems of Zionism and anti-Semitism, the disconnect between the Jewish in Israel and Jewish Diaspora, issues of the lobbyists and the problematic language used in media to define the conflict.

“The truth of the matter is that the term ‘anti-Semitism’ has been used and abused so woefully by both the Israel Zionist lobby in the West and Israel itself, the word had lost a lot of its meaning even though anti-Semitism does exist,” says Loewenstein.

“It’s the longest occupation in modern history and it’s getting worse and in my view many Jews are keen to make no separation between Zionism and Judaism. They can’t, therefore, be surprised when anti-Semitism increases because of Israeli actions. It doesn’t justify it but it certainly explains why this happens. If you don’t separate those ideologies, if you say I am Jewish and I’m a Zionist, there is no difference.”

Lowenstein firmly believes the maintaining of an infrastructure of occupation is far more important to Israel than democracy for the vast majority of people in the Arab world.

“The reality of what Israel has become is there are plans to be a driving democracy. In fact, Israel is not a democracy. It’s a democracy if you are Jewish. If you’re Arab or whatever else, you are actively discriminated against. If you live in the West Bank as an Arab as opposed to a Jew, there are different laws and anyone who believes in human rights, equality and decency in this day and age simply won’t accept this.”

It would be an understatement to say Loewenstein has broken free from the expectations of the Jewish Diaspora community.

“The implication is that if you are a Jew, that somehow you have a responsibility to support Israel,” he says. “I’ve been accused of pretty much everything under the sun and there is no doubt the criticism saddens me,” says Loewenstein, who admits that although his parents have supported his book, they themselves have lost friends over its publication.

He recalls his visit to Gaza in mid 2009 and the mood of its occupants.

“The area, the neighbourhood and its buildings remain flattened six months after the war, nothing really has changed,” says Loewenstein. “What I found in Gaza was a sense of people feeling they’ve been forgotten by the world. While people are not starving, there is to some extent a degree of despair as there is virtually no freedom of movement.

“On one hand, parts of Gaza are really beautiful, it’s on the Mediterranean. On the other hand, there is a lot of mass devastation and to live there you have to be resilient. Life is tough, unemployment is high. Hamas, of course, controls Gaza and my thoughts are that little has changed and somehow we have this idea in the West that if we support the people in Gaza or the Palestinians themselves, you’ll somehow also support terrorism when in fact the opposite is true.”

My Israel Question, whilst condemning Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, recognises a changing narrative and perception of Israel.

“There is no doubt that for the first decade after Israel was formed in the late 40s after the Holocaust there was a certain sympathy for Israel, the Jewish and the Zionist cause which continued up to the Six-Day War in 1967 when Israel took over the West Bank,” Loewenstein says.

“Many Western liberals saw it as a quasi-social experiment. Fast-forward to the 20th century and I think what has fundamentally changed, through the internet and television and 9/11, in an ironic way, is that elements of the Western press are more open to perspectives of both Arabs and Palestinians and indeed dissenting Jews like myself.

“In most Western countries, except for the US, and indeed for most of the world for that matter, they are fundamentally supportive of the Palestinians.

“Israel can only survive in its current form with states like Egypt, Jordon, Saudi Arabia and others as dictatorships which are funded and propped up of course by Washington. Anyone, in my view, who believes in human rights, should welcome that change because there is nothing stable about the majority of Arab people who are living under dictatorships. It may be stable for the leaders but that isn’t really good enough.”

Antony Loewenstein will be a guest of the Perth Writer’s Festival. My Israel Question is published by Melbourne University Press ($32.99)

one comment ↪
  • JOHN CANDIDO

    It is critically important that independent journalists such as Antony Lowenstein, and the work of groups and websites such as the Independent Australian Jewish Voices, whose website is <a href="http://www.iajv.org” target=”_blank”>www.iajv.org , continue their long-term efforts for social justice, human rights, modern democratic forms of governance, and peace within the Middle East. 

    It occurred to me recently, that as historical research has uncovered the fact that Adolf Hitler was both physically, verbally, and emotionally abused as a child to some extent, by a brutal and authoritarian father, some have interpreted this as having some bearing on his latter attitudes to race, war, and the Holocaust.  Without in anyway intending to be insulting or flippant; could a similar psychological dynamic, only in this case within the searing experience of the Holocaust, be involved between contemporary Zionists within Israel and Palestinians?  I acknowledge that my comparison could be somewhat extreme and indeed, possibly irrelevant.        

    Of course what I am providing here is strictly conjectural, and in no way can it be deemed definitive of any truth regarding Hitler, or the situation within the Middle East between any of the opposing parties.  My intention here is to attempt to locate an understanding of Hitler's psychological frame of mind regarding race and the Holocaust as an adult, in terms of its personal historical antecedents.      

    I am most definitely not providing an excuse for Hitler's behaviour to European Jewry and others between 1933 and 1945, or of the continual wars between Arabs and Jews within the Middle East, that have their birth out of a discriminatory and undemocratic nation-state.