My new book, The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports The Technology Of Occupation Around The World, is out in May. It’s published in the US and UK on 23 May with Verso and in Australia and New Zealand with Scribe on 30 May:
Here’s the Verso blurb (the Scribe one is very similar but slightly different):
How Israel makes a killing from the Occupation.
Israel’s military industrial complex uses the occupied, Palestinian territories as a testing ground for weaponry and surveillance technology that they then export around the world to despots and democracies. For more than 50 years, occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has given the Israeli state invaluable experience in controlling an “enemy” population, the Palestinians. It’s here that they have perfected the architecture of control.
Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein, author of Disaster Capitalism, uncovers this largely hidden world in a global investigation with secret documents, revealing interviews and on-the-ground reporting. This book shows in-depth, for the first time, how Palestine has become the perfect laboratory for the Israeli military-techno complex: surveillance, home demolitions, indefinite incarceration and brutality to the hi-tech tools that drive the ‘Start-up Nation’. From the Pegasus software that hacked Jeff Bezos’ and Jamal Khashoggi’s phones, the weapons sold to the Myanmar army that has murdered thousands of Rohingyas and drones used by the European Union to monitor refugees in the Mediterranean who are left to drown. Israel has become a global leader in spying technology and defence hardware that fuels the globe’s most brutal conflicts. As ethno-nationalism grows in the 21st century, Israel has built the ultimate model.
The book has been endorsed by an amazing array of writers, academics and journalists:
“A sad and sordid record of how “the light unto the nations” became the purveyor of the means of violence and brutal repression from Guatemala to Myanmar and wherever else the opportunity arose.”
“A welcome addition to the growing body of work on the militarisation of Israel and its incredible hold of the armaments and security global market. It maps the growth of this national project of the Zionist state, its transformation from state to private ownership, and from hardware to software, as well as the political and diplomatic powers it grants Israel across the globe. Crucial sourcebook and an excellent read!”
“This is a must read on a hidden and shocking aspect of the Israeli colonisation of the Palestinians. We have waited long for such a book that exposes the way Israel uses its oppression of the Palestine to enhance its military and security industries. This book shows clearly that this kind of export is now Israel’s most significant contribution to the global violation of human rights…”
“A triumph of investigative journalism. It exposes the ruthlessness with which Israel exploits the experience gained from the illegal occupation to export all kinds of military hardware as well as the technology of surveillance, espionage, cyber warfare, phone-hacking, and house demolition. It also shines a torch on the dark side of Israel’s support for despots around the world. Altogether, a profoundly depressing audit on a country that used to boast of being “a light unto the nations”.”
“I just couldn’t put it down. It’s truly the best book on this topic that I’ve read. The choice of chapters, the amazing work Loewenstein does to get the voices of the people impacted and of researchers to paint a picture of the Israeli arms industry that is more complete and insightful than I’ve seen anywhere else.’”
“Loewenstein’s account of how the myth of Israel’s ‘start-up nation’ is born out of the state colonisation of Palestine is a riveting and essential read. From drones to Pegasus software, policing techniques to deadly ammunition this is a persuasive and timely intervention.”
“Loewenstein writes a fascinating book, documented and evidence-based, on the lesser-known side of the occupation, one of the few in history where the occupier only benefits and does not pay anything for it. This is a book that paints a portrait of Israel, one of the ten largest arms exporters in the world, which trades in death and suffering and sells them to anyone who wants to buy”
“Draws on documents and interviews to show how the weapons, technology and tactics developed by Israel to subjugate the Arabs living under occupation are being exported across the world – meaning, in effect, that Israel is profiting financially from the pain and suffering of Palestinians.”
Kirkus Reviews, a famous US-based book review website, has just published a strong review:
A sharp exposé of how Israel’s suppression of Palestine has translated into lucrative anti-terrorist systems that the Israeli government exports globally.
In the introduction, Australian journalist Loewenstein, an “atheist Jew” and author of Disaster Capitalism and Pills, Powder, and Smoke, writes about growing up “in a liberal Zionist home in Melbourne…where support for Israel wasn’t a required religion but certainly expected.” However, as the Israeli domination of the Palestinian narrative became increasingly apparent, the author grew disillusioned, not unlike many young people in the West. In this meticulous study, he asserts that “Israel’s claim to be a thriving democracy in the heart of the Middle East is challenged by the facts”—namely, that the nation has been exporting sophisticated, state-of-the-art weaponry and surveillance technology around the world, largely to unsavory dictators who are trying to crush rebellious minorities, much like the Israelis with the Palestinians. Loewenstein lays out the methods the Israelis have used to control the Palestinians, including high-tech defense equipment, checkpoint security, and cybersurveillance, all of which have been tested and modified for effectiveness in order to export globally. As the author shows, the Israelis have sent weapons and technology to Pinochet’s Chile in the 1970s as well as to disreputable regimes in Burma, Sri Lanka, Rhodesia, and Rwanda, among others. Israel’s vaunted Uzi gun, designed in the late 1940s, has been sold to more than 90 countries since then. “Militarism [eventually] became the country’s guiding principle,” writes the author, especially since 9/11, when the rest of the world got a taste of the terrorism Israel has battled for decades. In his diligent narrative, Loewenstein devotes chapters to the now-ubiquitous Pegasus system, a phone-hacking tool sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, and the recent activities of social media companies that have “routinely blocked content that was critical of Israel or showed the Palestinian point of view.”
Eye-opening delineation of the alarming ramifications of Israel’s status as an “ethnonationalist state.”
Here’s another pre-release review by US-based Booklist, “a book-review magazine that has been published by the American Library Association for more than 100 years, and is widely viewed as offering the most reliable reviews to help libraries decide what to buy and to help library patrons and students decide what to read, view, or listen to”:
Loewenstein highlights a rarely discussed aspect of Israel’s standing in the world, its dominance of the international military, security, and surveillance industries. As one of the largest weapons exporters in the world, its technology has played an outsized role in supporting authoritarian regimes, illegal coups, and dictatorships for decades, often in support of American foreign policy. Loewenstein meticulously documents Israeli connections to antidemocratic coups in Chile, Nicaragua, and Colombia. Israeli’s surveillance tools have also been deployed against Americans, the private Israeli intelligence PSY-GROUP spied on American supporters of Palestinian rights, and with the help of Israeli prime minister Ehud Barack, Harvey Weinstein used it in a failed attempt to discredit his accusers and block press stories about himself. By making itself “the indispensable nation” due to its technological prowess, Israel is able to “ensure alliance and friendship, whether from authoritarian or democratic states,” while its connections to social media giants have enabled it to block Palestinian villages from appearing on Google maps and censor Palestinian content on Facebook. Citing numerous Israeli and U.S. military and cybersecurity experts, Loewenstein urges a sober re-evaluation.
— Lesley Williams
You can pre-order the book if you’re in Australia or New Zealand here and in the US and UK here.