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.

Line up to see yet another “liberal” academic back key victim state Israel

The first rule of liberal Zionism is never talk about what liberal Zionism means. The second rule of liberal Zionism is never acknowledge the inherent blindspots within liberal Zionism.

Hence an essay in this month’s Monthly magazine by Australian academic Nick Dyrenfurth – yes, the man does spend an amazing amount of time policing the “left” and telling us what views are acceptable towards Israel, terrorism, bananas and coconuts – attacks the awarding of the Sydney Peace Prize to Noam Chomsky this year. Chomsky is too extreme. He doesn’t love Israel enough. He blames many Jews for backing apartheid-policies in Palestine.

This is clearly too much for Dyrenfurth who informs us that everybody knows what must happen in the Middle East:

Leaving aside his myopic, conspiratorial views on American foreign policy (the United States is “a leading terrorist state”), it is difficult to reconcile Chomsky’s peacemaking efforts with this laudatory description, in particular those pertaining to Israel–Palestine.

Most fair-minded observers agree that a negotiated peace settlement based upon a two-state solution will only be attained by bringing together moderates on both sides of the equation and sidelining extremists, whether Greater Israel Zionists or Arab–Palestinian militants committed to a ‘one-state’ solution. Aside from practical steps such as ending the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the Palestinian leadership recognising Israel’s right to exist, in simple terms what is required is a rhetorical sea change. Ending the demonisation of the Palestinians by sections of the Jewish and Israeli community must be accompanied by ending the demonisation of Israel by much of the Arab world and, notably, sections of the western Left.

Few individuals have contributed more to the Left’s vilification of Israel than Chomsky, who adopts the central tropes of what left-leaning Jewish intellectual Philip Mendes terms “anti-Zionist fundamentalism”.

Nowhere in this piece is there any discussion about what Israel has become rather than some fantasy world imagined by liberal Zionists the world over. Religious fundamentalism is accepted and normalised. Occupation deepens every day. Mainstream Israel largely only knows violence and threats.

But not to worry, Dyrenfurth argues, Israel is a glorious nation that must be backed against critics of all sorts. It’s comical to read the academic arguing against the decision of Chomsky because he’s critical of the entire political and media elites. Dyrenfurth is part of that establishment and he knows the boundaries. He knows his role. Court academics like to enforce public debate and damn anybody who steps out of line (on Bin Laden’s death, Zionism, terrorism, war, Afghanistan, Iraq, monkeys etc).

Then this:

Why has the SPF [Sydney Peace Foundation] lent unwarranted credibility to Chomsky’s extremist politics? The SPF, and its academic arm, the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), shares Chomsky’s kneejerk anti-Americanism and anti-Israel worldview. Jake Lynch, the CPACS director and a former BBC journalist, is a leading Australian BDS campaigner and perpetuates a Chomskyite binary view of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The SPF – itself headed by Professor Stuart Rees, and whose executive officer is the current general secretary of the Communist Party of Australia, Hannah Middleton – clearly seeks to legitimate anti-Zionist fundamentalism as well as resuscitating a discredited brand of far-left politics by juxtaposing extremists such as Chomsky (and John Pilger, Israel critic and 2009 prizewinner) with respectable previous recipients such as Indigenous leader Patrick Dodson and former Governor-General Sir William Deane. The decision to decorate Chomsky also hallmarks another strategy deployed by anti-Israel activists, whereby the views of a tiny minority of far-left Jewish anti-Zionists – the journalist Antony Loewenstein being the most notorious local example – are promoted so as to avoid charges of anti-Semitism.

I’m notorious? I better tell my minders immediately. Liberal Zionism is in moral turmoil. Israel is a racist state that is not blindly backed by anybody these days except religious fundamentalists and hardline Zionists. People like Dyrenfurth have too much invested in an imaginary Israel, a nation that must remain Jewish no matter what. Human rights of Palestinians are violated on a daily basis? Would he like to write anything about that in depth? Of course not, it’s far easier (and intellectually lazy) to simply attack the messenger.

Finally, it should be noted that the Jewish publisher behind the Monthly, Morry Schwartz, never publishes anything on Israel/Palestine because he’s a big supporter of the Zionist state. Over many years across his various publications, Israel is barely discussed, a blindness that reveals a great deal about many Jewish progressives the world over; they can care about the human rights of East Timorese or Iraqis or Afghans, but when it comes to the Palestinians…

5 comments ↪
  • weaver

    No need for scare quotes – Dyrenfurth's definitely a liberal. Hence his enthusiasm for imperialism and colonialism.

    I see he also uses the phrase "Israel's right to exist" in the customary manner; that is, without the relevant ellipsis.

  • efj

    Dyrenfurth appears to have picked the wrong target.
    Chomsky is himself, at baste, a liberal zionist, and believes in a two-state solution.
    He just happens, like anybody who has done their homework, to better understand the meaning and implications of the proposition.
    Where did Dyrenfurth go to school?
    And what kool-aid is he drinking?

  • Adam

    It's always interesting to see writers label accuse their ideological enemies of being prone to conspiracy theories, and then proceed to lay out their own conspiracy theory (which of course isn't really a conspiracy theory, it's just stating the obvious).

    One of the members is a communist? Did I miss a cultural regression back to the fifties? I thought the cold war was over and we were going to be able to argue policies instead of brand names.

  • delia ruhe

    Dyrenfurth's hysteria is the norm among "liberal" Zionists. He's not alone in his knee-jerk reaction to Chomsky. Chomsky's problem for self-styled liberals is that he reminds them of their ineptitude. That scares people like Dyrenfurth.

  • Paul

    Well done Antony for letting us know.