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 comments on European affairs for Israel's i24News and China's CGTN.

Alex Stein was anxious. Condemning leftist Jewish pundits for publicizing Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik’s affinity for Zionism, the Tel Aviv-based British blogger cried anti-Semitism. “Those on the left who use the arguments outlined above are seeking to demonize whole communities for the crimes of one murderous wing nut,” Stein thundered in The Forward, four days after the Oslo attacks. (More…)

Hans-Peter Friedrich knows the score. Asked whether Germany could suffer from the sort of violence committed by Anders Breivik, Friedrich said, “There are no indications at present of right-wing terrorist activities.” Though he sounded cautious, noting that the attacks “show again what dangers fanatical lone perpetrators can pose,” the Interior Minister remained confident. (More…)

Collegno is not the first place you’d choose to receive a refresher on genocide. A small working class municipality on Torino’s west side, in my household, its claim to fame is its Ikea. Step inside on a Sunday afternoon, and you’ll find the cafeteria packed with local families enthusiastically gorging on plates of Swedish meatballs. (More…)

The morning I returned from the US, every paper was carrying the same cover story: Six Italian soldiers had been killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul. Corriere Della Serra, La Repubblica, even the local edition of The Metro, all seemed to be working with the same set of photos of the event’s aftermath. For the first time since we’d moved to Milano, it was like overhearing an entire country sighing, simultaneously. From left to right, the reaction was the same. Everyone was in a state of shock. (More…)

“Your papers, please,” she said rather stiffly. Judging from her pronunciation, I could tell she didn’t speak English very well. I placed my passport on the counter. “Ein Jude!” she exclaimed, as she inspected the Menorah-inscribed cover. (More…)

“Two great tastes, one great flavor,” joked my boss, as we overheard the strains of a booty jam sampling a piece of 1950s Arab orchestral music. Sitting in his car on the way to a recording session, we turned the volume up. Nodding his head in approval at the mix of squishy beats and vintage strings, he declared, “It’s so fucking obvious! Byrne and Eno were doing this twenty years ago.” Well, not exactly. But he was close. (More…)

The bathroom was empty. The floor was clear. There was no sign of him underneath the sofa. He wasn’t on the balcony, either. Looking at the roof of the cafe below, I started to panic. Raster wasn’t the most agile of creatures. Had he lost his balance?

“Raster,” I yelled out. “Raster!” People started to look out their windows, wondering what I was going on about. I noticed a faint shadow on the cafe roof. I could hear a dog whimpering. A small black head pushed itself out from underneath a ledge. (More…)

Forty-eight hours before the British government was to announce new initiatives to combat Muslim militants, a new police report indicated how much worse of a threat they have become. As The Daily Telegraph reported, a new generation of extremists, driven underground by law enforcement tactics, is now coming of age despite harsh measures to contain it. (More…)

The arrest of Ratko Mladic could not have come at a better time. The last surviving high-ranking war criminal of the Yugoslav civil war to be apprehended, his sixteen years at large were a constant reminder of Western Europe’s failure to achieve justice. At a time when all Europeans need to be reminded of the values that made his freedom a travesty, Mladic has the potential to inspire more than a sense of closure where the Balkan tragedy of the early 1990s is concerned. (More…)

For the last month, my wife and I have lived next to a synagogue. Not just any synagogue. Perhaps one of the most beautiful ones in Europe. The Great Synagogue of Turin, on the Piazzetta Primo Levi. First constructed in 1884, the monumental structure befits its location. Styled in a deliberately Moorish fashion, with classically Islamic details, it betrays the close proximity of the Middle East. (More…)

Punk bands never die. They just turn into H&M t-shirts. Or, in the case of the field recording below, supermarket sound system fixtures in southern European immigrant neighborhoods. If Joe Strummer were still alive, he’d delight in the specificity of the product placement. (More…)

The Christal Methodists began working together during the late 1980s. Formed at Portland, Oregon’s Reed College, the group went through several lineup changes (and one band name) before it released its first cassette under the Methodist moniker on its own Goy Division label, in September 1994. (More…)