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’s growing anti-democratic tide deepens

My following essay appears in Lebanon’s Al Akhbar English:

Radical Jewish colonists in the occupied Palestinian West Bank have been attacking Arabs for decades. In the past these incidents barely rated a mention in the Israeli press, let alone the global corporate media.

It was only this month after a small group of Zionists rioted at an Israeli army base that the Israeli government expressed outrage over their behaviour. The violence “shocked” Israel, wrote the New York Times, while the torching of mosques has now become a regular event.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed his military to apply administrative detention orders to Jewish extremists, as is routinely done with Palestinians in the territories. Aside from the fact that such a change in policy highlighted the apartheid nature of Israel’s matrix of control in the West Bank – different laws apply to Jews and Arabs – even the Israeli army claimed it would make little difference.

Successive Israeli leaders since 1967, across the political spectrum, have indulged, funded, supported, defended and armed hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers in the West Bank (and Gaza until 2005). The effect of this mass colonization project, condoned by Western powers, has been the impossibility of a viable two-state solution and growth in ultra-nationalism. Acceptance in a post Arab Spring Middle East is a remote dream.

On countless occasions I’ve seen young Israeli soldiers standing idly by while settlers hit Arabs in the West Bank and destroy their fields. The main job of the army in the territories is to maintain and enlarge the Zionist hold on valuable land.

The Israeli government and the vast bulk of the Zionist Diaspora have remained silent for years when colonists attack Palestinians in “price tag” missions. Indeed, public fund-raising events in America, including those held by the Hebron Fund, openly collect tax-exempt donations for the very people the Israeli government now claims to be against.

In Australia similar fund-raisers are held for the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an organization directly complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian properties. A JNF board member in America quit this month after the organization launched eviction proceedings against a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem.

The rot has well and truly set into the Israeli political establishment. A columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz, Yossi Sarid, argued that all the settlements were illegal and damned the horror currently felt by the Israeli army (no mention of the Arabs, of course, with violence against them seemingly less important than harming Israeli soldiers):

“So there is no need to be overly impressed by the orchestrated shouting about the Frankenstein that has gotten out of hand, because the denouncers are the ones who created him. They were warned a thousand times about creating a state within a state, an army within an army, but they didn’t want to listen. They were too scared of the settlers and their rabbis. We see them in their disgrace, dancing in front of Zionism’s coffin, and despise them.”

The depth of the problem was revealed by right-wing Zionist publication, The Jewish Voice, who proudly published tips for settlers keen to sabotage army equipment. One read:

“The engines of vehicles, especially armoured vehicles, are highly sensitive to sand or sugar. The same is even more true about the vehicles’ oil and gas tanks. Carelessness about that could do serious damage to the unit’s ability to carry out destruction, just because of a little inattention, wouldn’t it be a pity?”

It would be a mistake to presume Israel’s democratic deficit simply occurs in the occupied territories. The current Knesset has revealed the dark authoritarianism that beats inside the Jewish state.

I recently spoke to a leading independent American journalist Joseph Dana, currently living in Ramallah, who told me that it was impossible to find more than a select few Israelis who understood the depth of the problem and what was required to force an ideological change on the population.

Liberal Zionism is in crisis, pushed into silence by its cherished two-state dream disappearing and far happier to demonise boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) than propose any serious alternatives to Knesset-backed fascism. Importantly, few Israelis chose to enter the West Bank and witness the creeping apartheid against Palestinians living there; the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem bubbles are far more comforting. The vast bulk of the Israeli media class see no evil and remain on the establishment drip feed.

An increasing number of pieces of legislation aim to disenfranchise Arabs, liberal Jews, secular Jews, Palestinians and the Jewish Diaspora without which the nation would not survive.

The Financial Timesin a scathing essay in early December, highlighted the myriad issues. Hagai El-Ad, the director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, repeated the mantra that I hear amongst the real activist Left in Israel. “This is not just about anti-democratic bills, this is about anti-democratic society,” he said. “It is about the idea that human rights are somehow synonymous with treason, and about creating an atmosphere of suspicion.”

These trends caused Philip Weiss, founder of the influential American website Mondoweiss, to write, “Israel isn’t good for the Jews anymore.” He railed against mainstream Israeli opposition to multiculturalism, pluralism and tolerance.

It is something growing numbers of liberal Jews worldwide are rejecting. Even former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in his Atlantic blog, “I think we’re only a few years away, at most, from a total South-Africanization of this issue.” The one-state solution is happening by default, whether those bleating about maintaining a Jewish majority like it or not.

Israel has always relied on unlimited Western largesse to fund its racism. When arguably America’s most influential columnist, New York Times’ Thomas Friedman – a man with a long history of defending Israeli extremism, explains a new book by Belén Fernández – starts denouncing the “Israel lobby” for buying the US Congress and blindly acquiescing with discriminatory policies towards Palestinians, the mood is shifting:

“If the 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians are not a real people entitled to their own state, that must mean Israel is entitled to permanently occupy the West Bank and that must mean — as far as Newt is concerned — that Israel’s choices are: 1) to permanently deprive the West Bank Palestinians of Israeli citizenship and put Israel on the road to apartheid; 2) to evict the West Bank Palestinians through ethnic cleansing and put Israel on the road to the International Criminal Court in the Hague; or 3) to treat the Palestinians in the West Bank as citizens, just like Israeli Arabs, and lay the foundation for Israel to become a binational state. And this is called being “pro-Israel”?”

None of these attitudes concern the pro-settler Jerusalem Post who this week editorialised in favour of a Republican front-runner, Newt Gingrich, who didn’t even acknowledge the existence of Palestinians as a legitimate people. Other measures to delegitimize any opposition to Zionism include this recent essay published by the neo-conservative haven American Enterprise Institute that argues, “How Israel’s defence industry can help save America.”

The Western liberal love for Israel ended many years ago. What remains less accepted, however, is what has been taking place instead of the myth. Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken enlightened his readers that the ideology of [settler movement] Gush Emunim has dominated Israel for decades. It is irreversible. It is Israel:

“This is a strategy of territorial seizure and apartheid,” he despaired. “It ignores judicial aspects of territorial ownership and shuns human rights and the guarantees of equality enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.”

The wilful ghettoization of communities is now endemic.Take the example of a religious school in the town of Afula that recently discovered that their children had seen a Muslim wedding during class. They were so appalled – under the influence of an NGO that aims to prevent any Arab and Jewish mingling – that a Rabbi had to be called to “purify” the facilities before they could return.

Such racism is not reserved for a few extreme communities on the fringes of society. They are views shared and enacted by leading members of the Israeli government.

It is the natural outcome of over 60 years of global Zionist indulgence.

Antony Loewenstein ( is an Australian journalist, author of My Israel Question and co-editor of the forthcoming title After Zionism.

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