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.

John Kerry’s fruitless Middle East “peace mission”

Far too many in the media get excited when yet another US official talks about restarting the “peace process”. It’s all smokes and mirrors and largely irrelevant to facts on the ground, ever-expanding Israeli occupation over Palestine.

Here’s Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions:

How do we respond to Kerry? I don’t know of anyone familiar with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – across the board – who sees in the Kerry initiative anything other than an attempt to impose on the Palestinians a Pax Israeliana. In fact, neither Kerry nor his Israeli partners bother to deny it. For his part, Kerry’s main contribution to this latest incarnation of the long-moribund “peace process” is a vague $4 billion package of “incentives’ – part of what Amira Hass calls hush money – that bears a striking resemblance to the “economic peace” Netanyahu and Peres have been trying to peddle for years. Otherwise, Kerry is merely pressing the Palestinians to accept Israel’s preconditions for negotiations and its version of a two-state solution: no end to settlement construction, land expropriation, house demolitions (28,000 Palestinian homes demolished since 1967, and counting) or displacement; recognition of Israel as a “Jewish” state; the imposition of the Clinton Parameter’s on East Jerusalem (“what is Jewish is Israeli, what is Arab is Palestinian,” thus eliminating completely any kind of coherent urban entity that might serve as the Palestinians’ capital); Israel’s retention of at least six major settlement “blocs,” strategically placed to fragment the West Bank into disconnected and impoverished cantons while isolating what remains of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank; long-term or permanent Israeli military control over the Jordan Valley and Palestine’s borders with Egypt and Jordan – well, the list goes on: Israeli control over Palestinian airspace, over their electromagnetic sphere (communications), etc. etc. etc.     

Despite the fact that a majority of Israeli Jews favor a two-state solution of some sort and hold fairly negative views of the settler enterprise, no solution that even approaches the Palestinian demand for a viable, truly sovereign, territorially contiguous state with East Jerusalem as its capital has a chance of passing through the Knesset, even if it was approved by referendum. And the will on the part of United States – Congress in particular – to force Israel to accept such a solution is missing altogether, as Kerry’s lackluster diplomacy demonstrates. Why, then, engage in the exercise at all? Well, there really is no compelling reason. The US, like Israel, has always downplayed any linkage between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the dynamics of the wider Middle East; indeed, it portrays Israel as a valued ally in the War on Terrorism, which is the lens through which American administrations regard the region. It certainly wouldn’t hurt if Israel’s interminable oppression of the Palestinians ended, and to the degree that the US feels international isolation over its absolute support for Israel it might even help America’s standing; hence Kerry’s push (or, better, nudge) towards starting negotiations before the UN convenes in September and the Palestinians score some other symbolic victories. But Kerry’s willingness to walk away from the process if “the sides” do not cooperate (as if we’re speaking of two players of equal clout and responsibility) indicates that his government can live with the Occupation indefinitely.  

Israel’s ambivalence, bordering on disinterest, also bespeaks any genuine sense of urgency. True, Netanyahu is concerned lest a bi-national state ultimately emerges between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, but he also believes that a combination of hush money to the Palestinian elites, continued humanitarian aid by the international community and outright pacification (including self-pacification by a Palestinian Authority) is sufficient to push the Palestinian issue off his list of priorities. Interestingly, both Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni, the minister in charge of negotiations, have conceded that the BDS movement poses a threat to Israel – and more than simply an economic threat. Calls for an economic boycott may have started with the settlements, says Livni, “but the [EU’s] problem is with Israel, which is seen as a colonialist state. It won’t stop with the settlements but will spread to the rest of the country.” But that threat, too, diminishes in light of the eagerness of EU member states to purchase Israeli arms and high-tech products. Nor do they want to tangle with the US over the Palestinian issue.  

So, yeah, why not try once more to reach “peace” with the Palestinians? Especially since the American-brokered process does not fundamentally endanger Israel’s major settlement blocs, its sovereignty over East Jerusalem or, in fact, its overall control of the West Bank. The Palestinians, Netanyahu reckons, have nowhere to go. On the ground they are exhausted, politically and physically fragmented, and cannot resist to any significant degree; politically their cause is steadily losing ground as it ceases to be an international flashpoint and disappears from view – despite periodic initiatives like Kerry’s or symbolic votes in the UN. So if Kerry’s mission succeeds, Israeli leaders calculate, we can either enter into negotiations that will lead to de facto apartheid-by-consent, the preferred outcome, or drag them out interminably. It really doesn’t matter since either scenario leaves Israel in control, our major settlements intact. And if Kerry’s efforts fail, well, we can easily blame the Palestinians for that and return peacefully to the status quo ante.  

All this is not merely cynical statecraft, nor is it unique to the Israeli-Palestinian case. It goes to the very heart of international politics, to a fundamental reality we who seek a genuinely better world must grasp if we are to develop effective strategies to contend with it. That reality is that governments do not resolve conflicts (certainly not on the basis of human rights, international law and concerns over justice); they merely manage them.   I saw that clearly in a recent meeting with the officials of the Middle East Desk of a major European government. That government is one of the most critical of Israel in Europe, a stalwart of human rights and, in fact, a supporter of BDS, having divested all state pensions from Elbit Systems, a profitable Israeli military company. Yes, they told me, we work assiduously to end the Occupation and to reach a two-state solution, the only one acceptable to us. But what, I asked, if you yourselves became convinced that the two-state solution was gone? Would you consider another approach, a single democratic state, for example, or a bi-national one? No, never, they replied. Look, they explained to me, it’s true we are against Israel’s occupation, but Israel itself is a friendly country to us. We cooperate on NATO matters and encourage our businesspeople to trade with Israel. We would never do anything to harm it. Therefore we cannot go anywhere beyond a two-state solution. But if you were convinced that that solution is gone, I persisted, what would happen then? In that case, they answered, we would merely increase our humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. We could never accept any solution besides two-states that would jeopardize the integrity and security of Israel.   In other words, this resolute defender of human rights in the international community could live very well with injustice and apartheid if no solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict was forthcoming.