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 sight I never imagined I’d see. I was watching a reenactment of the 1946 bombing of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel on British TV. One of the last episodes of  The Promise, aired in February on the UK’s Channel Four, the miniseries succeeded in touching a lot of nerves. This one touched mine. (More…)

The ideal place to index French multiculturalism. ‘Worldbeat’ can’t even come close. Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt, Paris. June, 2010.

“Israel is neither Europe, nor the Middle East,” the commenter wrote. “All of the moral categories you’ve been trained to apply to countries from those regions won’t work. They’re foreign, like you.” A self-identified American soldier, but currently enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces, he was making this point in criticizing a journalist for penning a favorable article about an anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv.
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When we first saw the cover of the Sunday Telegraph we did a double take. The photo of the burning MiG 29 above the fold immediately caught our attention.  Combined with the left-side headline “British Forces Attack Gaddafi,” the layout suggested that the Russian-made fighter had been shot down by the RAF. (More…)

There wasn’t a day that he wasn’t there. If he wasn’t standing at the bottom of the stairs, leading down from our side of Piazzale Loreto, he’d be in the middle of the tunnel, connecting one side of the square to the other. Whether it was hot or it was cold, the same sock hat was always affixed to his head. Upon reflection, I can’t remember when he wasn’t wearing a down jacket, either. (More…)

As I approached the door of our apartment building, I noticed an elderly, apron-clad woman was sorting through our garbage. “Ein Auslander!” (“A foreigner”) she derisively exclaimed as she examined the label of an empty bottle of tahina. “Ein Auslander,” the woman repeated to herself, nodding her head as she sniffed its freshly scrubbed interior. (More…)

He sort of looks like Mark Zuckerberg. The paisley, however, is a bit confusing. Karl Marx Strasse, Berlin. February, 2011.

“Israel can suck my dick, Arab leaders can lick my balls,” bellowed the Palestinian MC, with a wild look in his eyes. For as partisan an event as this gig was, the statement had a delightfully alienated quality to it. He couldn’t identify with anyone; except, that is, his own people. His words hung heavily in the room, contrasting sharply with those of the British rapper who had introduced his act, someone who, less than an hour before, had urged the largely Palestinian audience to oppose the allied attack on Libya. (More…)

It was the middle of January. It had rained all day, but the sun had finally broken through. There was a noticeable dearth of tourists in Piazza Venezia, even for such an offseason time of year. On the lookout for customers, the guys in gladiator outfits were more aggressive than usual, stopping anyone they could find who happened to be carrying a camera. (More…)

On Friday night, Jennifer and I went out for dinner. Our destination was an Arab-run Tex Mex place on the other side of Piazzale Loreto, a block from the Egyptian consulate. In the year that we’ve lived here, it has become one of our favorite restaurants, even though it’s not exactly orthodox in its take on the cuisine. Nevertheless, its offered us welcome relief from pasta. (More…)

The imagery is a bit harsh. However, it gets the message across. Driver safety sign, highway A9. November, 2010.