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.

Another day and Murdoch’s Australian on case of rampant anti-Semitism in our universities (oh wait…)

Today Rupert Murdoch’s very serious broadsheet organ The Australian continues its brave reporting on, well knows anymore, the countless stories about Dr Jake Lynch at Sydney University. It’s beyond parody. Thankfully, Lynch is standing firm and he has received the full support of his Peace and Conflict Studies board.

News story:

Australia’s peak Jewish body has criticised the Sydney University Centre for Peace and Conflict for “misguided and obsessive zeal” after it rejected a request for assistance from an Israeli academic who has worked to bridge the Arab-Jew divide.

The comments from Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim come as the opposition yesterday savaged Labor Senate leader and Higher Education Minister Chris Evans for refusing to take a stand on the ban.

The centre supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which explicitly equates Israel with apartheid-era South Africa.

Centre director Jake Lynch cited the BDS campaign when he rejected a request by Hebrew University of Jerusalem academic Dan Avnon to be a contact person on an application for a Sir Zelman Cowen Fellowship.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr has declared the government “fiercely, unequivocally, strongly opposes BDS” in a statement in September. But Senator Evans has refused to answer questions on whether the government considers it appropriate for bodies such as the centre to maintain a BDS policy.

He has also declined to say if the government has concerns that academic staff who implement BDS policies may be in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act.

“It is time for the government leadership to be honest about its position on the anti-Semitic BDS campaign and to take a principled stand against it,” opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said.”I call on Senator Evans to declare his opposition to the BDS campaign and to assure taxpayers that he will raise his concerns with the head of the Centre for Peace and Conflict studies and the vice-chancellor of Sydney University.”

Ms Bishop said the government’s silence on the issue raised serious questions about its true position on BDS.

Mr Wertheim described the centre as “a continual embarrassment to the University of Sydney”. He said the centre was “viewed with scarcely concealed disdain by many in the academic community”.

He slammed the ban on assisting Professor Avnon. “This would have been a golden opportunity for an Australian university centre to play a constructive and effective role in peace-building in the region,” he said.

Letters:

I agree with Jake Lynch of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies that he should have the freedom to criticise, even ostracise, academic peers representing Israeli universities (Letters, 11/12).

But I find Lynch’s letter confusing. If others criticise his choices, is that “a political attack on freedom of expression” or an exercise of their freedom of expression? Do members of his staff have freedom of association, even if that means breaching his boycott to work with an Israeli?

And suppose the academic board of the university were to review the merit of having a research centre that subordinates truth-seeking to political rhetoric: would that be an attack on his freedom, or an exercise of their freedom, or just a logical consequence of the free choices he makes?

James McDonald, Annandale, NSW

Jake Lynch accuses opposition frontbenchers of “a political attack on (his) freedom of expression”. Yet he has no qualms about the most egregious attacks on political freedom: banning from his centre an Israeli academic, thereby engaging in political censorship, and supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, specifically designed to damage Jewish businesses for what he considers to be inadequacies in Israeli government policy.

And not content with mounting attacks on political and economic freedoms, he justifies them on racial grounds. In democracies, freedom of political discourse must always be defended; racism and censorship should always be denounced. But in Lynch’s world, it appears the opposite is true.

Christopher Pyne, Opposition spokesman for education

George Brandis, Opposition spokesman for attorney-general

Jake Lynch shows it does not take brains to be called an academic these days. It takes skill at politically correct postulations and a belief in being as sycophantic as possible to those one is crawling up to.

In his letter he accuses the opposition of attacking freedom of expression but apparently has forgotten this is exactly what he is trying to enforce on people from Israel.

Maybe he is fishing for a job with the Greens. I have no idea how pointing someone out as an enemy encourages peace, but I am no academic.

Graham Gordon Thomas, Kadina, SA

Your editorial (“Ugliness lurks in the cloisters”, 11/12) says what has long needed to be said by those who retain the notion of a university being a bastion of scholarship with the freedom to express and exchange ideas, especially those that challenge prevailing orthodoxy.

Your suggestion that Sydney University should act must be heeded before a virus of intolerance spreads to further damage its reputation.

John Kidd, Auchenflower, Qld

Your editorial is as ridiculous and misleading as your reporting. If my and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement had anything to do with the

nationality of Dan Avnon, how come we have hosted recent talks by professors Ilan Pappe and Jeff Halper — two prominent Israelis who appeared in a personal capacity?

You end by raising the red herring of a putative ban on Muslim scholars — repeating, by implication, your imputation of anti-Jewish racism. If that was our motivation, how come we awarded last year’s Sydney Peace Prize to Noam Chomsky, a prominent Jewish intellectual? How come we organised a well-attended talk a couple of years ago by Michael Lerner?

The boycott is of institutional links with Israeli universities. Your attempts to cloud that issue arise from an intention to intimidate those of us who take action in protest against Israeli policy, where governments refuse to do so.

Jake Lynch, director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Sydney University

5 comments ↪
  • Kevin Herbert

    I wonder if there's groundswell support for the Palestinians in the Libs rank n file?

    Hmmmmm…I wonder.

    • Ned

      Doubt it, follow the money.

  • Henry Forester

    this is another perfect example of how Zionism and Israel have managed to POISON the entire political and intellectual debate on foreign and domestic policy in the so-called "West"

    • examinator

      Well elements of it anyway. in truth the pond is already turgid with different interests particularly the money/career etc.
      Don't over estimate the real engagement the bulk of the public have with the issue of Israel attempt to self immolate politically. Much less their interests in the high politics of academia. My guess is that out side of the greens 10% and perhaps a further 3- 5% Labor voters it's still an issue that is involving the extremes of the voting public.
      NB there is a big difference between polls and a willingness to do something.
      Notwithstanding Israel is losing support (public relations) of that there is no doubt. The fact that there was even a caucus discussion on abstention is a clear indication of that.

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