Europe
Meet the Neighbors

Meet the Neighbors

We were in their way. “Excuse me,”  interjected the most assertive of the women. She looked anxious. Embarrassed, I let her by. Two Israeli men, deep in conversation, about money, had inadvertently blocked a group of young hijab-wearing Muslims from London’s Green Park tube station. I wanted to say something to my friend, but he beat me to it. More»

Stop the Violence

Stop the Violence

My heart was pounding. Watching footage of Saturday’s rioting in Rome,  my worst fears had come true. The left had become so outraged, it was taking the easy way out. The way of violence. Not only was there the expected fighting between the Black Bloc and the cops. La Repubblica documented instances of hooded militants fighting with red flag-waving protestors as well. More»

No Hungary Here

No Hungary Here

Poland has not turned into Hungary. However, the country’s opposition leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, defeated in Sunday’s general election, told reporters on Sunday night that he still hoped to turn Warsaw into a second Budapest. To observers of Polish politics, such statements will hardly be surprising. More»

God and Poland

God and Poland

Poland faces a powerful Catholic right promoting a “moral revolution” (rewolucja moralna.) These same conservatives were in power between 2005 and 2007, and may return to government in the coming elections. By the end of the Law and Justice government in 2007, the nationalistic “Poland for the Polish” of this morality was clear. More»

Where's the Party?

Where’s the Party?

“Grazie Napoli!” read the sign. Written by hand on a legal-sized sheet of white paper, it was taped to the end of a small wooden table in the middle of the square. Surrounded by young Italian families and neighborhood shop owners nibbling on aperitivos, drinking matching plastic cups of red wine, our neighbors repeatedly made toasts. A squad of Italian soldiers looked on at the crowd, expressionless. The contrast was a bit unnerving. More»

Cultural Programming

Cultural Programming

She said she was in favor immigration. Just not “this immigration,” meaning the current wave of immigrants arriving on Italy’s shores. Stating that EU immigration policy had “totally failed,” Souad Sbai blamed NATO’s Libyan campaign for creating the current refugee crisis, telling her host that Europe is better prepared to fight wars than deal with immigration. She called for a Marshall plan for North Africa, as proper recompense for its oil. More»

Inglan is a Bitch

Inglan is a Bitch

Slowly, they surrounded us. Clad in black North Face jackets, hoods pulled tightly over their heads, they quietly looked my friend and I over. Judging from their body language, these young men — six, possibly seven — were absolutely bewildered. They spoke softly amongst themselves, revealing what sounded like French African accents, perhaps Senegalese, or from the Ivory Coast. More»

Israel is Everywhere

Israel is Everywhere

For twelve months, my wife and I lived in a large 1950s apartment building on Milan’s Piazzale Loreto. Not exactly a tourist destination, the busy square is best-known to historians for having hosted the bodies of Benito Mussolini and that of his mistress, Clara Petacci, after they were killed by partisans. Immediately adjacent to place their corpses were hung, our home always held a certain kind of political significance, that as foreigners, we weren’t expecting to encounter. More»

Breivik and the Jews

Breivik and the Jews

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»

Oslo to Berlin

Oslo to Berlin

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»

Only Right and Natural

Only Right and Natural

When driving across a European border, some of the most charming sights are the cobwebbed customs facilities, abandoned since 1995. You can drive from the Arctic Circle to within sight of Morocco without ever having to slow down for a passport check. To many, this is what “Europe” means: a single continent, whole and free, whose members trust each other enough to get rid of their borders. More»

Willkommen in Deutschland!

Willkommen in Deutschland!

“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»