Author: Joel Schalit
Joel Schalit is the author of the critically-acclaimed Israel vs. Utopia, and Jerusalem Calling, and has edited some of America's most influential magazines, including Punk Planet and Tikkun. The longtime News Editor at Brussels' EURACTIV, Schalit now heads the publishing department at Berlin's DOC and comments on European affairs for Israel's i24News.

It was a golden opportunity. Four Jews had just been killed by a Muslim gunman. Accused of inciting ethnic conflict, the French President’s reelection campaign had been given the chance to repair the damage. All it had to do was recast the ex-Minister of the Interior as a tough cop who prioritized the security of the Jewish community. (More…)

Until the Arab Spring, few Middle Eastern states were less in public consciousness than Syria. If you knew anything about the country, chances are it was in relation to Israel, or, if you followed the War on Terror, Iraq. Otherwise, it was a blank. (More…)

Italy’s Lega Nord (Northern League) does not inspire much brand name recognition. Outside the country, that is. With the exception of Italian expats, and students of European populism, the anti-immigrant party has been relatively invisible to the outside world, compared to sibling organizations such as France’s National Front, and Austria’s Freedom Party. (More…)

Dear Herr Grass,

Ever since your poem was first published, I’ve been wanting to talk to you. You don’t know me from a hole in the ground. The chances are that we’ll never meet, either. However, I didn’t want the event to pass without you hearing from me, as someone who was touched by your words. (More…)

He wasn’t fast enough. Just as he was lowering himself into his seat, someone else slid underneath him, to claim it. Why the guy didn’t end up landing on his competitor’s lap remains a mystery. He must have had good reflexes. Just as quickly, he bounced up into the aisle, glaring at the man who beat him to it. (More…)

Neither Kebab nor burgers.” As soon as you see the wording, and look at the illustrations, you know what’s coming. A Frenchman is most happy with his indigenous cuisine, a ham and butter sandwich. Note the inevitable baguette, and the trademark beret on top of the white guy’s head. Everything screams ‘France’. If you vote National Front, that is. (More…)

Souciant contributor Mitchell Plitnick  was scheduled to attend the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference, starting Sunday, in Washington DC. Though he’d been admitted to the event as a correspondent for Inter Press Service, together with reporters from Mondoweiss and The Guardian, Plitnick’s credentials were revoked last week, without explanation. (More…)

Neukölln’s public spaces are full of bilingual signage. This one says several things, including “Grilling is forbidden,” in both Turkish and German. A common sight during the summer, Turkish families can frequently be found grilling meats in Berlin’s municipal parks. (More…)

Ever since an angry mob burned down a Roma encampment last month, Turin’s streets have been flooded with beggars. Judging from their bright clothing, and their accents, it’s hard not to imagine who they are, and why they all of the sudden appeared, en masse, all over the city. From my apartment, on the west side of the River Po, all the way to the city center, there are women begging. Elderly women, to be precise. (More…)

Every time we drive through Zurich, the GPS fails. Nine times out of ten, the device will send my wife and I down one-way streets, or point us in the wrong direction. Having made at least half a dozen trips between Italy and Germany during the last two years, I still can’t figure whether it’s the Alps that are in the way, or that I need a new satnav system. (More…)

A year can be an eternity. Especially if you measure time by the speed of news publishing. Old enough to have written for print periodicals, but young enough to have begun my journalistic career online, I remain astonished by the amount of media that can be produced in a week, let alone a month, or a year. (More…)

It’s a matter of trust. So went the logic of Monday’s announcement by Canada’s immigration minister, that the government would ban the wearing of niqab, or burqas, when veil-wearing Muslim women take Canadian citizenship. Judges have to be certain they know who they’re dealing with when awarding such privileges,  Minister Jason Kenney informed The Guardian. (More…)