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.

World War Z zombies as Israel/Palestine metaphor

This is a big-budget, Hollywood action film about zombies taking over the world with Brad Pitt as the hero. It’s fun in parts and exciting, with stunning special effects, though it also feels disjointed, as if the whole doesn’t quite come together. It’s pro-UN, pro-American and and (largely) pro-Israel. This is what I want to focus on here (if you haven’t seen it, there may be some spoilers so look away now).

First, some thoughts on this from others. The Times of Israel (which contains this line in the headline: the film “is the greatest piece of cinematic propaganda for Israel since ‘Exodus.’”):

Pitt is a UN specialist (his exact function is a little vague) on the hunt for Patient Zero in the zombie plague that has turned the world’s major cities into war zones of frenetically paced, flesh-chomping zombies. His ordeal takes him from the pit of hell (dramatized for the screen as Newark, New Jersey, naturally) to the last civilization left standing: Jerusalem.

For a solid 10-minute stretch, “World War Z” is the greatest piece of cinematic propaganda for Israel since Otto Preminger’s “Exodus.” While the rest of the world has fallen to cinders, Israel survives. After Pitt’s plane narrowly escapes doom during a bloody action set piece, he touches down at Atarot Airport. The Israeli flag, shown in glorifying closeup, ripples proudly in a sun-dappled halo.

Pitt gets an audience with the Mossad chief (played by Ludi Boeken), who explains that Israel sprang into action when it first caught wind of the potential zombie threat. It built enormous walls in a matter of days, adding to Jerusalem’s pre-existing historical defenses.

Boeken explains how the Jewish people were slow to respond in Europe during the 1930s, equivocated during the escalation of Arab armaments in 1973 and paid for it both times. Now, a system exists where 10 high-ranking individuals are pooled to take every threat seriously. If nine agree to dismiss it, it is the duty of the tenth person to investigate further, even if it seems foolish. Boeken’s character was prompted to take a stray message from India about “the undead” seriously, and this effort granted them the time to act.

Boeken takes Pitt on a tour, where we see, in sweeping wide shots, the effectiveness of the Israeli military. Jerusalem is the only safe zone in the world and they are feverishly processing and accepting as many survivors of the zombie plague as they can. “Each person we save is one less we have to fight.”

The film makes every effort to show that it is a diverse crowd. Haredim, secular Jews, Muslim women holding Palestinian flags.

So, now the punchline (spoiler alert!).

The zombies are drawn by sound. This big kumbaya moment leads the gathered, multicultural crowd to start singing. This joyous cherished vision of unity and peace – an image the whole world has been waiting for – is what winds up leading to the DESTRUCTION OF THE CITY.

The zombies hear the singing (and its amplifier feedback), create a pyramid of snarling, undead bodies, climb the wall and start killing.

Basically, if it weren’t for those damn peaceniks, Israel would have survived. Hey, who the hell wrote this movie, Meir Kahane?

Okay, so Israel falls to the zombie plague, too. But… at least it lasted longer than everybody else. That has to stand for something, right? Plus, when Pitt makes his brave escape to head to the next location in this globe-hopping movie, he takes Daniella Kertesz as the brave, beautiful and badass IDF soldier along with him. (“Get him to the Jaffa Gate!” she shouts to her fellow soldiers.)

The world audience at least gets to see how Israel puts up a good fight, and despite the destruction one could still read it as something of good, fun PR on an international scale.

The LA Times:

Certainly there’s a case to be made that [director Marc] Forster is offering a feel-good message. Peace is possible, even in a larger time of global darkness, Forster seems to be saying, and right in the very spot that so much blood has been shed. All it takes is a little maverick thinking. 

But does the theory hold up?

The wall, after all, turns out to be futile. The zombies form a giant human pyramid and spill into the sanitary areas, and the best-laid plans of an inventive Israeli government turn out to be for naught.

Instead, the message seems simpler: Building divides to keep out a threat, no matter how rooted in preservationist logic, doesn’t work.

On the other hand, the movie does seem to be going out of its way to cast rank-and-file members of the Israeli military in a positive light — Lane takes a young Israeli soldier with him on his further globe-hopping adventures, and she becomes a key ally in helping him fight the virus by addressing it at the source.

And the policy that accompanies the wall is a benign, even favorable one. As the Mossad official tells Lane, the Israeli government is willing to take in healthy people from any religion or country, a kind of open-door policy that would incense Pat Buchanan or Steve King—or, for that matter, right-wing Israeli politicians.

It may well be that there’s no single message intended by the film which, as with Max Brooks’ novel (where the wall has a less salutary effect and in fact leads to an uprising among Israel’s ultra-Orthodox) leaves a lot open to interpretation. So open, in fact, that at least one commentator actually believes the film is an indictment of dovish thinking.

Still, when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—and, for that matter, conflict in general—“World War Z” offers what seems like at least one clear takeaway. The most aggressive policy won’t be useful in the face of a serious threat. A long-term solution probably involves even the most creative form of reactive thinking–it requires a willingness to contemplate the root cause.

Mother Jones:

So there you have it: The worldwide zombie pandemic does for the Middle East what Barak and Arafat simply could not. Think of it as a one-city solution.

There’s no doubt that Israel is viewed in the film as the promised land (until it’s not). The way the IDF is framed as kind and humanitarian. The wall that Israel has built around the country – explained and justified by a Mossad agent as a natural reaction to Arab aggression since 1948 (although Palestinians are not named specifically) – suggests that the film-maker and writers wanted to portray the Jewish state as a (temporary) beacon from rampaging zombies (read Arabs?) It’s indeed true that in the end the wall doesn’t protect Israel and the country is over-run. But the camera lingers over the flapping Israeli flag (as it does over the US flag) and no other country is portrayed in the same way. This isn’t accidental, it’s sending a message to those who know anything about global politics.