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.

On Australian Zionist establishment trying to squash any talk of pesky Israeli occupation

This article in Haaretz is interesting, not least because a) the story it tells about Limmud Oz banning a session of dissident Jews was not about BDS (full details here) and b) because it calls the group I co-founded Independent Australian Jewish Voices “far-left”. I’m offended. I mean, surely further left than “far-left” would be Maoist? Please do better next time, Haaretz:

The Israel boycott movement reignited controversy in Australia this week after several anti-Zionist speakers were denied a platform at a major Jewish festival.

Organizers of Limmud Oz, a local offshoot of the international festival of Jewish learning, canceled a panel of left-wing Jewish speakers that its website had said would appear at its two-day conference in Melbourne next weekend.

The decision triggered a deluge of online debate. One blogger described it as the latest example of a “culture of censorship within the Australian Jewish community,” while another defended Limmud Oz, saying it “includes sessions on the Holocaust, but need not include sessions that promote Holocaust denial.”

The brouhaha erupted just days before 16 Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists were discharged from the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after a month-long trial. They were arrested last year during a violent rally in which three police officers were injured outside the Melbourne Max Brenner, an Israeli chocolate shop chain.

The defendants, including one Jew, were charged with assault and trespassing and face fines and prison. The ruling is due next month.

According to the defendants, Max Brenner’s parent company, the Israel-based Strauss Group, provides supplies to the Israel Defense Forces and so is complicit in the occupation.

At the opening of the trial, BDS activists protested outside the court by binding their hands with Israeli flags and taping their mouths shut.

Quashing dissent?

BDS has become a “red line” that much of the Jewish community refuses to cross. Organizers of this weekend’s Limmud Oz festival, which will feature nearly 200 presentations by 150 people, appear to have decided that a panel about “Beyond Tribal Loyalties” – a book of essays by Jewish peace activists from America, Israel, Australia and elsewhere – was on the other side of that line.

Limmud officials have refused to comment on the controversy, but the festival still features left-wing leaders, such as the president of the Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network, a representative of the Islamic Council of Victoria and a Palestinian academic.

Among the proposed Jewish panelists no longer speaking are Vivienne Porzsolt, a spokeswoman for Jews Against the Occupation, who was detained in Israel last year en route to the flotilla to Gaza; Avigail Abarbanel, the editor of Beyond Tribal Loyalties, who renounced her Israeli citizenship in 2001; and Peter Slezak, a co-founder of the far-left advocacy group Independent Australian Jewish Voices.

Larry Stillman, of the left-wing Australian Jewish Democratic Society, notes that two speakers were dropped from Limmud Oz in Sydney last year for being “vocal advocates” of BDS.

“It’s another example of censoriousness in the Jewish community going right against the spirit of a conference devoted to diverse views,” he told Haaretz.

The furor comes as Jewish and Zionist officials this week claimed victory in their long-running battle against BDS.

Ron Weiser, a former president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, said, “The battle against global BDS in Australia has been won for the moment – inside and outside the Jewish community.”

Unresolved issues

Michael Danby, a Jewish MP from the governing Labor Party, spearheaded a counter-campaign against the Max Brenner boycotters, taking prominent Australians – including then foreign minister Kevin Rudd and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan – to patronize the chocolate shops.

Last year, Danby accused the boycotters of employing the tactics of Nazis in the 1930s.

“Boycotts of Jewish commerce like this belong in the darkest chapters of our history books, not in the shopping centers of Melbourne,” he said at the time.

James Crafti, the Jewish defendant being tried for his role in last year’s Max Brenner rally, rejected Danby’s view. He said BDS does not target Jewish businesses, but boycotts Israeli and international businesses “complicit in Israel’s apartheid policies.”

“This attempt to fool people into conflating Judaism and Zionism shows how weak their argument is,” he said.

Danby has railed against the pro-BDS faction of the Greens party, which is a junior partner in the ruling coalition his party leads. When Marrickville, a local Greens-led council in Sydney, reversed its initial vote in favor of BDS last year under mass pressure from politicians, media and Jewish groups, Danby called the victory “decisive.”

He said he doubted the BDS activists realized their position meant banning “the Batsheva Dance Company from returning to Australia and the Israeli Philharmonic from playing at the Sydney Opera House.”

His view was echoed by Israel’s envoy in Australia, Yuval Rotem, who accused BDS proponents of “always employing the language of peace and the terminology of human rights”.

Speaking to 500 high-profile people gathered belatedly to celebrate Israel’s 64th birthday in Sydney last week, Rotem scolded the hypocrisy of BDS advocates, saying they “conveniently overlook” places like Syria “because they cannot claim an Israel connection.”

BDS is as “an extremist strategy” that is “McCarthyist in intent,” said Jewish academic Philip Mendes. “BDS in Australia is marginal because almost all its key advocates are on the far left,” he said, referring to some Greens and a few trade unions. “This is unlikely to change unless mainstream western social democratic governments change their view.”

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