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.

Evangelical Christians pouring millions into Israel and the Zionist cause

Here’s an interesting recent piece in Haaretz that should cause alarm to any human beings who reject fundamentalism. The sad reality is that far too many evangelicals back the most extreme forms of Zionism and occupation:

With two mobile phones and a pair of sunglasses in one hand, a white handkerchief to wipe away sweat in the other, and a small microphone attached to his shirt collar, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein hits the ground running in Ashkelon.

“Okay,” he says, alighting from a minivan in the middle of Operation Pillar of Defense last week, and striding confidently toward the town center, a camera crew recording his every move. “Let’s talk about the matzav [situation]!”

“Who’s that guy?” some locals sitting at the corner cafe ask each other, looking up at the handsome 61-year-old with a small black skullcap pinned to his salt-and-pepper head of hair, who is tossing out greetings in broken Amharic to the Ethiopians in his path and shaking hands vigorously with everyone he meets.

A middle-aged Tunisian immigrant, Rachel Amar, carrying two big grocery bags filled with canned food, stops in her tracks. “Rabbi Eckstein?” she says, recognizing the head of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, who brings in tens of millions of dollars a year in donations to help the needy here and elsewhere in Israel. “Is that you? I need to talk to you!”

Amar launches into a story that begins with complaints about the state of the neighborhood bomb shelter, and ends with her in hysterical tears. “I cannot be alone anymore. I am terrified of the rockets. I am terrified, do you hear me?” she sobs.

Eckstein puts a hand on her shoulder. He offers to carry her groceries. He tells her that he will make sure the Home Front Command staff in Ashkelon looks into her particular case. And then he looks directly into the rolling camera.

“The people here know me. They know I am the first address they can turn to,” he intones. He gestures toward Amar. “This woman has just told me that she is afraid. This is what trauma does. It affects people on the inside even if you cannot tell from the outside.” He pauses. “She is afraid of the rockets. Afraid of not having enough food.” Pause. “She feels unsafe.” Pause. “Uncared for.”

Lynn Doerschuk, 60, the man who has been working as Eckstein’s producer for over a decade, is standing by in a bright yellow shirt, his baby-blue eyes darting around to figure out the best angles for the shot. He feeds the rabbi the next line: “Everywhere we go, there are needs …,” suggests Doerschuk, speaking under his breath. Eckstein repeats the words, and spins off from them: “Everywhere we go, there are needs … but with your help we can let these people know … [pause] … that they are not alone.”

“Hey! I also have anxieties,” butts in a younger women, walking into the frame to lay out her own pains. “I want to be taken out of here on holiday to a hotel in the north!” she insists. Doerschuk shakes his head – this is not the material he is looking for. “I want to go to America!” she persists, trailing Eckstein and the entourage as they move on. “I want a hotel in America. And I want a husband!”

Next up, Benny Vaknin, the mayor of Ashkelon, emerges from the bunker which has been serving as the situation room for his staff and the military liaisons all week, and approaches Eckstein, hand outstretched. Over 90 rockets had already fallen on Ashkelon during the recent flare-up of tensions between Israel and Gaza, he says, by way of hello. Dozens of apartments were damaged in his city, and tens of his citizens injured – hundreds, really, if you count all those who were psychologically traumatized, he notes. “There’s an emergency meeting of all the mayors of all the southern towns going on right now down in Be’er Sheva,” he says. “But I stayed here because seeing you is more important.”

And indeed, Eckstein probably is more important. For he is the money man. And money, at all times, and especially in those times when rockets are falling on apartment buildings and scared citizens are crowding into decrepit shelters, is needed here. Within days of the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, Eckstein had drummed up $3 million in emergency and security aid for Ashkelon and other communities under fire in southern Israel. These funds come on top of $5.6 million, which had already been earmarked this year by Eckstein’s International Fellowship of Christians and Jews to strengthen the emergency security system in Israel. Overall, in the last few years, IFCJ has spent tens of millions of dollars building, renovating and fortifying over 2,000 private and community shelters around the country.

This money, like all the funding Eckstein raises, comes from a very particular, and to some, curious, source. It comes direct from America’s Bible belt, where hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians reach into their pockets to support the Jews of the Holy Land through Eckstein and his personal, unique ministry.

The son of a rabbi, Eckstein grew up in Ottawa, Canada, spent two years in Israel studying at a yeshiva, and was then ordained as an Orthodox rabbi at Yeshiva University in New York. He started his professional life working for the most mainstream of mainstream Jewish organizations – the Anti-Defamation League. It was the ADL that sent him, in 1977, to Skokie, Illinois, to get the Christian community there to stand together with the Jewish one against a planned neo-Nazi march. And that is where he encountered, for the first time, evangelical Christians – and began to understand what powerful allies their community could be for Jews and for the Zionist cause.

“The evangelicals believe in the Bible literally – and believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people,” Eckstein explains, quoting from Genesis 12:3, where God declares that He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.

The IFCJ, which Eckstein founded in 1983, was, at first, mainly concerned with promoting understanding between Jews and Christians and building broader support for Israel. The philanthropic emphasis came soon afterward, with hundreds, then thousands, and today, according to the IFCJ, over 1.2 million Evangelical Christians giving Eckstein money to do, basically, what he sees fit in the Holy Land.

Early criticism of the rabbi’s activities from Orthodox, and other, more mainstream, Jewish organizations – some of whom were concerned the charity was, as far as the evangelicals were concerned, a prelude to actual missionizing activity – has turned, for the most part, into awe.

Today, Eckstein is a major power broker in Israel who collects upward of $100 million a year in donations, making IFCJ one of the largest, if not the largest, “Jewish” charities working here. Of those monies, according to the rabbi’s office, some $50 million a year go to projects in Israel itself, supporting everything from soup kitches in Bnei Brak, to absorption centers for Ethiopians in Jerusalem, to Amar’s shelter renovations in Ashkelon. About $25 million goes annually to programs which help Jews, mainly elderly ones, living in the Former Soviet Union.

A further $5 million is spent on security measures for Jewish institutions in communities around the globe, and $10 million goes towards Israel advocacy and education in the United States.

  • John Salisbury

    These evangelicals have a nasty side.They believe that the return of The Messiah will have dreadful consequences for Jewish people.

    • examinator

      John that's an interesting comment . Can you give me more information or a source. I have no doubt that there would be some…nothing surprises me about the 'depth' (read twisted logic) to which some will go to justify their beliefs. this includes hypocrisy, selectivity in their own texts et al

  • examinator

    I have a germ of an idea that the 'rabid religious right' support the Jews partially out of guilt and as bit of an each way bet.
    In the first instance if one looks at the say 'the ship of the damned' and the US anti-Semitism at the time, and the origins of the say the Bush families wealth guilt isn't out of the emotional cauldron.
    This is particularly relevant given the simplistic reasoning this demographic tends to indulge in. Have a think about how after WW2 the US started to interpret the win as proof of it's special relationship with God. They found an affinity with Jews in that they both believe they were chosen by the same God so by their logic they had better patch it up with the brothers in God so to speak besides they were looking for a reason to despise the Godless ….Russians who oppressed the Jews and were now ' threatening' the US's exceptionalism. Additionally they oppose the Muslims because they threaten both their interests (two birds with the one stone)
    Just a thought!