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.

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.

Baby steps towards neutering the fundamentalist Zionist lobby in Australia

Interesting piece in the Australian Financial Review that outlines the decreasing power of the Israel lobby to bully its way into the corridors of power. As importantly, its belief in apartheid in the West Bank shows that they speak for nobody but the Israeli government. They will never be independent players and should be ignored accordingly:

No, it doesn’t change things,” an insouciant Foreign Minister Bob Carr told the Weekend Financial Review after he led a successful revolt against Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s insistence that Australia vote against upgrading the status of Palestinians at the UN.

“Australia is, and always will be, a friend of Israel. They have their own democracy. They have a system that enables them to throw out prime ministers and ruling parties. They have the rule of law and their Supreme Court can overrule the government of the day on difficult issues.”

However, “good friends speak the truth to one another and, as a friend of Israel, we have a duty to highlight our concern about the settlement activity which is illegal under international law.”

Carr’s pro-Israel credentials date back to his formation of the Labor Friends of Israel group in 1977 which, along with one-time Labor prime minister Bob Hawke and prominent Liberals, maintained close relations with powerful members of the Jewish lobby such as businessmen Frank Lowy, Jack Liberman and the late Peter Abeles and lawyer Mark Leibler.

But at the end of the week it was Carr and Hawke, with former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans, who played such an effective role in lobbying caucus against taking a stand at the UN opposed to an upgraded Palestinian status.

The UN vote in New York on Friday morning Australian time was carried by 138 votes to nine, with 41 countries, including Australia, abstaining. This new “non-member” status at the UN might make it easier for the Palestinians to pursue Israel in legal forums like the International Criminal Court.

Palestinians view the vote as a symbolic endorsement for their cause. A growing group of Palestine supporters in Australia, including Australian Muslims, would have regarded any Australian “no” vote as one which effectively meant continued support for the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

A mark of the increasing sophistication of the local pro-Palestine-state lobbying effort is reflected in the fact that Ross Burns, a former Australian ambassador to Israel, appears at public events on behalf of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network.

“No one should doubt Australia’s commitment [to Israel]”, Burns says, “but Gillard is taking it all too literally by agreeing with everything [current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu wants.

“This is a very significant development in terms of the debate in Australia,” Burns says, due to the manner in which a hotly contested issue “has come out in favour of the Palestinians,” although Australia formally abstained in the vote.

Neither party in this conflict likes to dwell on simple statistics. But Burns’s comments also go to the fact that there are about five times as many Muslims in Australia as there are Jews, who number about 100,000. While nearly two-thirds of Australia’s Jewish population lives in Melbourne, the proportion of Muslims in Sydney is equally concentrated, where they enjoy significant electoral clout in federal seats in the city’s western suburbs like Werriwa and Blaxland.

Peter Manning, author of the book Us and Them: Media, Muslims and the Middle East, detects a move away from strong local public support for Israel in the ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s, partly a result of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, quarantining of the Gaza Strip, and increased Israeli settlement of the occupied territories. According to Manning in 2007, after the Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon 68 per cent of those taking part in a poll had a negative view of Israel but two years later, after an Israeli invasion of Gaza, a more equal 24 per cent sympathised with Israel, 28 per cent with the Palestinians and 26 per cent with neither.

In 2010, according to Manning, another poll showed 55 per cent described the conflict as “Palestinians trying to end Israel’s occupation” while 32 per cent preferred “Israelis fighting for security against Palestinian terrorism’’. Last year, yet another poll showed sympathies were almost evenly divided, but 63 per cent were against settlers building on occupied land and 51 per cent thought we should vote ‘‘yes’’ for Palestinian statehood, compared to 15 per and 20 per cent “abstain’’.

For other reasons Friday’s UN vote resonates with those interested in post-war Australian history. It marked the 65th anniversary of an early UN General Assembly vote, with a strong role played by then Australian external affairs minister H.V. Evatt to divide Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

The entrenched quality of Gillard’s position was, according to Leibler – national chairman of the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council – “an instinctive reaction when the [Hamas-launched] rockets [from Gaza] were landing specifically in civilian areas in Israel. This is unacceptable and you have a right to defend yourself.”

“Julia Gillard has understood the reality and has understood it from day one. She’s been less concerned about the company we keep, as distinct from doing the right thing in the circumstances.” Gillard has a long history of close connections with prominent figures who have close connections with Israel.

Albert Dadon, who runs the Australia-Israel Leadership Forum, which has annual meetings alternating in each country, included Gillard in his first group to Israel and, more controversially, employed her partner, Tim Mathieson, as a consultant before she became Prime Minister.

Leibler is more blunt: “Do we look at what other countries are doing and fit in or do we do the right thing?

“This PM has always been far more supportive of us than Bob Hawke. When Gareth Evans was foreign minister I was president of the Zionist Federation of Australia and even at that stage we had substantial issues with him.”

  • John Salisbury

    Antony you are right there to counter the Marc Leiblers and Albert Dadons of Australia.Only more eloquent .

  • Marilyn

    Gillard is a truly ignorant woman.

  • examinator

    As I've said before Israel and it's mind set will never agree to doing anything so long as the USA runs cover for it and or backs it. Simply put they don't have to so they won't.

    NB USA puts up token disapproval over the new 3000 settlement houses on Palestinian land but ask yourself what else did they do? nix, Nada, Nothing, Zip.
    Now ask yourself why? For that look to the rump of the US support, and no it isn't the Diasporic Jews……. the fundamental Christians!

    Consider for a moment what at * a fundamental level *, they identify with to such a degree, they would split their nation?

  • gay o'connor

    Anthony you are a very brave man. I hope you don't cop buckets of abuse for this extremely informative artcile.

  • Kevin Herbert

    Dr Norman Finkelstein's latest book "Knowing too much – Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End" is indicative of why Jews globally no longer see Israel as an automatic test of their Jewishness.

    For anyone wanting to witness race supremacist ranting in support of Israel just check out Mark Liebler's brother, Isi, who has a column in the Jerusalem Post.
    Mark is Isi light…..Isi sends me love emails accusing me of being a supporter of Hitler & Stalin for daring to disagree with his views…really high brow stuff.

    Interestingly, I read recently an article in The Australian of all places, which said that shale oil & gas deposits were rising so rapidly through out the world that OPEC's former hold on oil prices is nearing its end. It will be more intyereting to see what impact that fact has on US foreign policy as the Middle East subsides as the key supplier of oil to the gas pump in the US…which is the only reason the US MIC & its neocons confreres support Israel.

    • examinator

      Interesting argument. 🙂
      I admit I don't read the Australian or the JP simply because both tend to write with preconceived positions i.e. both largely from the perspective of justifying a right wing ideology.
      I reject bias 'left' or 'right' to me it's a bit like describing me in terms of my disabled left arm. Frankly that bears no relationship to the truth of who I am.
      Likewise I read widely to be informed not convinced.

      The issue I was alluding to in my response was the shared conviction in a God that confirms their superiority…the right to impose 'their' perspective on others…as you say religious/cultural elitism. In many way Israel's current extremism is simply the mirror image of the Muslim Brotherhood, Irish Catholicism et al.

      My point it that I have no problem with people believing in God if that is their thing (FYI I have a Jewish daughter, A Catholic Nun sister in law who lives with us, and a Christian fundie Mum whose religion doesn't accept either )
      it's when they try and impose their views on others I bristle.

      It is interesting to note that recent neuro psychology research has found that the more extreme religions/ cultures (conservative mind sets) are more likely to reject fact in lieu of unsupported emotional beliefs. Often these beliefs are extraordinarily confabulated i.e. Scientology, Heaven's gate,Mormon et al.
      They are also likely to be deniers.
      Clearly when one goes from having a religion /culture to suppression of others ( i.e. The current Israeli regime) they have clearly crossed the line into the very territory Issi accuses you.
      NB psychological fact when some one abuses an other it is invariably in terms of what they fear being proved of most….. (projecting)

  • Ned

    Examinator (and all………a bit of relaxation if Antony allows)
    The meaning of life is summed up; 'Viva est Lavorum' as described by Father Guido Arducci (aka: Dan Navello) at:
    You will get at least 35 cents worth!
    (Did you Know that your sister was in a previous life, Mafioso??)
    If the link does not work just search the charcater., he has a home page ( not sure of he is still alive) The 'five minute university' is also worth a view. seems that many of our politicians went to his law school!