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.

BDS vital because alerts world to Zionist occupation politics

Here’s how a major American Jewish publication, Forward, discusses the Middle East, by looking into the real effects on US campuses of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions). The result? Not many tangible successes but something else has clearly been created; raising the rights of Palestinians under Zionist occupation. And that’s priceless:

An Israeli diplomat issued a stark warning to a roomful of Jewish communal professionals at a major Jewish convention last fall. The campaign to impose boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel, he said, amounts to putting “a practical warhead on the tip of an ideological rocket.”

The Israeli official, a public diplomacy officer with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs named D.J. Schneeweiss, was not alone in describing in drastic terms the threat posed by the international anti-Israel campaign, known by the acronym BDS, at the New Orleans convention of the Jewish Federations of North America. Since the blow-up months earlier at the University of California, Berkeley, over a student government resolution calling on the school to divest from firms selling weapons to Israel, concern over the BDS movement had been at the forefront of the Jewish communal agenda. Communal officials warned that it gave everyday activists a concrete outlet for their efforts.

And they were willing to do more than just talk: At the convention, officials announced the launch of a $6 million organization that would fight what supporters described as efforts to delegitimize Israel.

But there is little clarity from pro-Israel advocates on the precise scale of the threat, particularly as it exists on North American college campuses, a central battleground in the Israel debate. And while BDS leaders claim to be inspiring a sea change in the American discourse on Israel, they can enumerate few specific gains.

An extensive national survey by the Forward indicates that, despite a sharp increase in the past year, significant BDS activity on North American campuses is limited to a handful of instances since 2005, the year of the official launch of the BDS campaign. The Forward counted 17 instances at 14 campuses over the past six years of a boycott or divestment effort that was significant and well-organized enough to draw an active official response from a student government or campus administrative body.

In no instance has BDS action led to a university in the U.S. or Canada divesting from any company or permanently ceasing the sale of any product.

Both BDS activists and Jewish Israel advocates argue that the small number of significant campus BDS campaigns fails to capture the importance of the movement. But the Forward’s count calls into question the dire rhetoric and far-reaching claims employed by both the proponents and critics of BDS.

Though efforts to impose boycotts on Israeli goods or to divest from firms doing business with Israel date back decades, leaders of the current movement cite as their inspiration the July 2005 statement by scores of Palestinian civil society groups, calling on international supporters of the Palestinian cause to adopt tactics similar to those used to mobilize worldwide action against South Africa’s apartheid regime.

The paper’s editorial highlights the fear within the Zionist community. Note the complete lack of awareness of why BDS has become such a big issue globally; Israeli policies of occupation. This isn’t about Israel needing better PR but about realising that pressure will only increase until Zionists accept that full equality for all its citizens is vital:

If you can believe the breathless e-mails and exhortations sent to some parents of Jewish college students, the nation’s campuses are swarming with anti-Zionists ready to persuade unsuspecting Jewish students to sign up for the local branch of Hamas. We exaggerate, but not by much. There is an assumption that many campuses are increasingly dangerous places for Jewish students, breeding grounds for the insidious movement known as BDS — a push to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel in order to isolate the Jewish state from the family of nations.

Forward reporters spent several months examining that premise and here’s what they found: Only 17 instances of significant BDS activity occurred in North American campuses since 2005, the official start of the pro-Palestinian campaign. Now, that number does not include actions falling under the rubric of free speech — a lecture, a petition drive — because they are difficult to catalog and even more difficult to vilify. Universities, after all, are designed to be places where all manner of ideas are debated and challenged. But the number — only 17, over six years —does include any time groups have taken serious steps to swing campus policy away from supporting Israel.

And in no instance has BDS action led to a university in the U.S. or Canada divesting from any company or permanently ceasing the sale of any product.

By that measure, BDS on campus has so far failed.

Proponents won’t say that, of course, and neither will those opposed to BDS. Both sides have reason to play up the threat. And the truth is, what pro-Israel activists rightfully fear is what BDS supporters want: A shift in tone, a growing acceptability that Israel’s right to exist should be questioned, or even denied.

That threat is real, and it must be addressed, but it also must be kept in perspective. Fighting BDS cannot be turned into a cottage industry for the fearful and anxious. And these efforts must recognize that all calls to boycott are not the same. A group can support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state and still believe that buying products made in the occupied territories helps perpetuate an untenable, immoral situation. Boycotts are peaceful, legitimate tools of economic leverage, and don’t automatically lead to delegitimization.

The black citizens in Montgomery, Ala., who refused to ride segregated buses didn’t believe that their city shouldn’t exist. They were simply using economic clout to challenge and try to change an unjust system.

The real affront is when BDS is targeted against all of Israel, or against its legitimate means of defense. Then it is no longer challenging an unjust system, it is challenging the very right of Jews to govern themselves in their internationally-recognized homeland. That movement must be countered at every turn.

Hopefully, the mainstream leadership of Jewish communal organizations involved in anti-BDS work appreciate these distinctions. Parents must, as well. Those who came of age in the heady days of independence and military victory may find it difficult to know how to deal with criticism of contemporary Israel, and it may be harder still for college students who matured during intifidas and terrorist campaigns. But in confronting the challenge, we must not inflate it and risk making our opponents appear much stronger than they really are.

no comments – be the first ↪