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.

Australian Murdoch press wants to insulate Israel from global move towards Palestinian justice and BDS

It’s a surreal sight. As debate in many Western nations move towards finding ways to hold Israel to account, Australia’s parochial media is desperate to target anybody who dares challenge Israel. Here’s the overseas debate:

To boycott or not to boycott? That is the question that growing numbers of American Jews on the left wing of the pro-Israel community have reluctantly and uneasily begun to ask themselves in recent months. After initially categorically rejecting the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (or BDS, as it has become known)—a movement launched in 2005 by a coalition of Palestinian civil society groups that’s now a global campaign—progressive pro-Israel groups and individuals are now starting to reconsider and revise their position. They are not—at least not yet—embracing BDS, but they are for the first time giving it serious consideration and debating it merits.

Likewise, many American Jews are increasingly uncomfortable with Israel’s religious and racist mainstream.

Meanwhile, back in Australia, following yesterday’s Murdoch media onslaught against the Greens, NSW Federal Senator Lee Rhiannon and her courageous backing of BDS (details here and here), today’s Australian unloads with countless pieces which contain the words “extremist”, “anti-Semitic” and “loony” a number of times. Note the complete lack of discussion about the real situation in the West Bank or Gaza, nothing about the Zionist occupation of Palestine and absolutely nothing about the vehement racism in the Israeli mainstream against Arabs. Israel is a “democracy” and “ally”.

All this coverage in the Murdoch press is a sign of weakness, a fear that BDS may take off in Australia and a shameless attempt to “destroy” the Greens and split their support in the community.

It must not be allowed to succeed. With all the bluster, hyperbole and smears, Rhiannon is a rare voice in the Australian mainstream that defends Palestinian rights. She should be saluted and supported.

Here’s the lead story in today’s Australian (which attempts for credibility by quoting former senior Labor and Liberal leaders but actually shows how utterly predictable are the mainstream political parties on Israel; Palestinian rights are invisible to them):

Bob Brown has moved to assert control over the Greens, carpeting hard-Left senator-elect Lee Rhiannon over her radical anti-Israel stance as he attempts to shift the party towards the political mainstream at the expense of Labor.

But as the Greens leader rejected Julia Gillard’s attack on the party as extremists who do not share the values of everyday Australians, he faced a barrage of accusations that the party was being hijacked by socialist ideologues.

Former prime ministers John Howard and Bob Hawke, former NSW premier Bob Carr and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd all yesterday denounced Ms Rhiannon’s renewed call for a trade ban on Israel.

Mr Carr told The Weekend Australian he was concerned that the “old conservationists in the Greens are being overtaken by the hardline leftist Greens”.

He attacked the NSW Greens’ campaign on Israel and called for the party to throw open its national conference, as do the other major parties, to allow people to see how policy was formulated.

“The Greens have been treated like a protected species for too long and it’s about time they faced some scrutiny,” he said.

Mr Howard, who yesterday met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior ministers in Israel, said the Greens’ moves to impose a boycott had “not gone unnoticed in Israel”. He said it was absurd for the Greens to move for a boycott against Israel, and accused Labor of not doing enough to distance itself from the “alliance”.

“At a time when the Middle East is in complete turmoil over the fight for democratic rights, it is astounding anyone would advocate a boycott on the only stable democracy in the region,” he told The Weekend Australian. “The recent claims of so-called ‘extreme positions’ on climate change is . . . nothing compared to this extremist call for a boycott on Israel.”

Senior Labor figures predict a damaging internal split between the environmentally focused “tree-huggers” and radical socialist “watermelons” within the Greens for control of the party when Ms Rhiannon takes up her Senate seat on July 1.

Senator Brown yesterday branded The Weekend Australian the “hate media” for reporting Ms Rhiannon’s position, before repudiating it and revealing he had called the senator-elect to voice his views in a “robust” exchange.

Ms Rhiannon did not return The Weekend Australian’s calls.

However, Mr Hawke welcomed Senator Brown’s decision to speak out.

A longtime friend of Israel who as ACTU leader took up the cause of Russian Jews trying to flee the then Soviet Union in the 1970s, Mr Hawke said: “One can have arguments about some of Israel’s positions, but to suggest it is appropriate to take such differences this far is to make a mockery of democratic processes. I’m glad Bob Brown has made his comments.”

Mr Rudd also launched a blistering attacking on Ms Rhiannon’s anti-Israel stance, describing it as “offensive”. Senator-elect Rhiannon’s stand on a boycott of Israel “is just plain loopy,” he said. “But it’s more than just loopy – it verges on the dangerous. It’s dangerous because it reflects no analysis of the complexity of the Middle East peace process, nor of what Israel and the Palestinian Authority are trying to do, nor of what (Palestinian Authority President) Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister (Salam) Fayyad are doing with their own direct engagement with Israel. “This is the stuff of foreign policy being made by preschoolers.”

Labor senator David Feeney, the party’s national Right faction convener, said he had previously called on Senator Brown to speak out against Ms Rhiannon.

“The people of NSW have elected Ms Rhiannon to the Senate, and we will have to live with that,” he said.

“But if she advocates this destructive nonsense in the Senate, she will get a very forthright response from me, and from many other senators.”

Union leader Paul Howes wished Senator Brown well in his battle with the rival faction. “These people aren’t Greens; these are people who have a clear agenda which has very little to do with the environment and a lot to do with extreme politics. There is no doubt . . . the only reason why Carmel Tebbutt is in the NSW parliament today and Fiona Byrne isn’t . . . is the ridiculous proposition of turning local government in NSW into some form of shadow DFAT.”

Here’s the paper’s Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan (who loves a good Western-backed dictator) trying to preach morality to the Greens over BDS:

The Rhiannon Green position in favour of boycotting Israel is deeply offensive in principle and profoundly hypocritical.

It must go very close to being outright anti-Semitic because it applies standards to the Jewish state which it applies to no other state on Earth.

On any standard, on democracy, rule of law, an independent media, a vibrant civil society, equality for women, academic independence and free speech, Israel stacks up well.

Its unique security circumstances force it to take tough security actions from time to time, which certainly deserve to be assessed from a human rights point of view. And Israel is certainly not above criticism.

But even if everything that is alleged against Israel is true, and only a tiny portion of it is, how come the Greens don’t want to back a boycott against Russia for its treatment of the Chechens?

Or against Iran for brutalising and murdering pro-democracy demonstrators on a systematic basis, or indeed for Tehran’s systemic religious persecution of their Bahai minority? Or against Saudi Arabia for fundamental inequality in the treatment of women? Or against Sudan for the massacres of Darfur?

Or against Cuba for the treatment of homosexuals?

One can only conclude that the Greens don’t care much at all about human rights in general, but do care deeply about Israel – about demonising Israel.

The Greens are truly an extremist and deeply prejudiced party.

It is a continuing mystery of Australian politics that Julia Gillard signed a governing agreement with them. If the Liberal Party had such a formal association with such an extremist party, there would be merry hell.

And rightly so.

Then the rag brought out Labor Federal MP Michael Danby, a man who endorses Israel crimes:

The campaign for an international boycott of Israel, led locally by senator-elect Lee Rhiannon of what I call the “watermelon faction” of the Greens – green on the outside but red on the inside – is designed to delegitimise Israel as a prelude to its destruction.

The boycott campaign, which its activists like to call by the less threatening, disembodied acronym “BDS”, is a tactic designed by extremist organisations such as Hamas [this is a clear untruth, as Palestinian civil society is calling for BDS] to mask the strategy of the “one state solution”, a single state between Jordan and the Mediterranean.

This would lead to the destruction of the independent Jewish state of Israel. Any Israeli Jews who are not killed, who did not flee for their lives, would be left as a benighted minority (the Arab word for which is “Dhimmis”), in a Hamas-ruled theocratic state.

I doubt many Greens voters realise that Lee Rhiannon supports a boycott that would ban the Batsheva Dance Company from returning to Australia and the Israeli Philharmonic from playing at the Sydney Opera House.

I’m sure few Greens voters would support such a policy if they did know about it.

Most Greens supporters are concerned to see stronger protection of our Australian environment. But the NSW Greens party harbours a core of long-time hard-Left political operatives like Ms Rhiannon, who focus on promoting extreme foreign policy views unrepresentative of Greens members and voters.

These extreme foreign policy views are very harmful to the Greens, as we saw with the defeat of Ms Rhiannon’s acolyte, Fiona Byrne, in Marrickville. The swing against Labor in Marrickville was much less than that across the state, and most analysts, including Greens national leader Bob Brown, agree that this extreme foreign policy stance cost the Greens the seat.

The “watermelon faction” of the Greens party is guilty of hypocrisy as well as promoting extreme policies. I have never heard any of them speak out in support of the many thousands of political prisoners in North Korean labour camps, of the 300,000 murdered African Muslims of Darfur, or the Uighur people in western China, whose ancient heritage in areas like Kashgar is being bulldozed by the Chinese Communists as I write. Perhaps the common attribute of these struggles which does not endear them to Rhiannon and her watermelon faction is that they do not support violence and they are not anti-American.

I have my differences with Bob Brown, but I generally respect his stands on environmental issues. But Bob Brown needs to wake up to the fact that Ms Rhiannon and the watermelon faction will destroy his work, and make the Greens unacceptable to voters, unless he takes action to stop them promoting such extreme and dangerous policies.

And finally, the editorial that just adds class to a day of smears. After last year when the Australian called to “destroy” the Greens, today’s piece continues the line that the Greens should be ignored by Australians (and I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Rupert Murdoch hates the Greens, too.) The corporate press have too much invested to allow new players into their cosy little games):

…We learn this week that incoming NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon is planning to take this vile agenda to Canberra. While Greens leader Bob Brown has rejected the policy, we are left to wonder about a national organisation, accredited as mainstream by the ABC, that lets a state branch run a separate, damaging foreign policy.

4 comments ↪
  • Gordicans

    It's almost as though democracy in this country has been subjugated by the Murdoch press.  The vitriol directed towards the Greens over the last few weeks (and reaching a crescendo in the last few days) has been nothing short of remarkable.  I wonder if there an argument for having legsliation to prevent a single proprietor owning 70%+ of the newspapers in this country?

    Even the prime minister hopped in for her chop at them. She said: ''The Greens will never embrace Labor's delight at sharing the values of everyday Australians"…".  And what values would those be I wonder?  Oh I see, apparently "day after day do(ing) the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation.'' I don't think I've heard such unmitigated rubbish in all my life.  So the Greens don't lead purposeful dignified lives, don't love their families or their country?  Atleast the Green reps are not lined up at the American Embassy spilling their guts 24×7.  She is a great dissapointment.

    The following quote was put up in the comments section in a Drum piece on the Greens:

    "First they laugh at you, then they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win". Gandhi

  • Marilyn

    The biggest joke is on the dingbat Hawke though – most of the Russian "jews" are no more jewish than I am and they are nothing more than mafia gangsters hated today by ordinary Israelis who dearly regret them being allowed in.

    I just discovered this week that it was Gush Shalom who first started the boycott 13 years ago.

  • http://twitter.com/iResistDe4iAm iResistDe4iAm

    For the vast majority of Australian voters, Israel/BDS is on their radar at about the same level as Libya or Cote d'Ivoire.

    Come next Federal/State elections, voters will judge the ruling parties on their achievements (or lack thereof), which no doubt will mean more votes to the Greens and independents.

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    The imbecile Rudd calling anyone else 'loopy' is just plain…loopy.

    The fact that Rudd remains a Minister at any level is an indication of the intellectual & moral bankruptcy of the ALP.

    This confected hysteria means that the BDS is working…and growing.