Geographies
Breaking the News

Breaking the News

Early this week, I found myself following a piece of breaking baseball news. The subject of the news isn’t what matters; you could substitute the debt-ceiling crisis, or impending revolt in a troubled country, or a terrorist act in Norway. I got a phone call from my son around 10:30 Wednesday morning, telling me that it appeared our favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, was making a trade for a valuable player named Carlos Beltran. We only talked for a few minutes, after which I knew I had to track this story down. More»

Kosher and Treif

Kosher and Treif

Israel’s parliament recently passed a highly problematic law attaching civil penalties to individuals or groups that would promote or encourage boycotts against Israel, including against products made in settlements, Israeli civilian-populated areas established following Israel’s 1967 war, and subsequent military occupation of Arab territories. Many organizations and individuals in Israel oppose the Occupation, noting that the international community regards colonial settlements as violations of international law. 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»

Preparing for Civil War

Preparing for Civil War

I was standing in line at the Mahane Yehuda post office in Jerusalem.  When my turn came I asked the clerk, a young woman, for stamps.  She put a sheet of stamps on the counter.  The Postal Authority had just printed a new series of stamps commemorating West Bank settlements.  I pushed the stamps back. “Give me others, please” I said. More»

Out of Step

Out of Step

The twelve days I spent in Athens, covering the Gaza flotilla as an embedded journalist, were stressful and confusing. I was still trying to wrap my head around things as I left Tel Aviv for a visit to the United States. 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»

We Are All Prisoners Here

We Are All Prisoners Here

There are posters in the windows, bumper stickers on the cars, pictures of the kidnapped soldier and the caption reads: “Gilad adayin chai”, in English, “Gilad still lives.” They refer to Gilad Shalit, the soldier who was taken by Hamas five years ago now. More»

The Titless Sky

The Titless Sky

It was the 19th Annual San Francisco Dyke March. Dolores Park, otherwise known as “hipster hill,” was completely packed. I was guilty of going, not out of solidarity or allegiance, but because a friend had asked me to come along with her. As for how I feel about gays, I feel nothing. True tolerance is when you detach yourself from the narrative entirely, judgeless.

The rally was a spectacle. The once green park now the color of flesh, bodies everywhere, most of them hosting some substance, illegal or not, dancing to the faint pulse of a PA system. 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»

Goodbye to All That

Goodbye to All That

Last week, Jerry Haber, aka The Magnes Zionist, offered his critique of the “Liberal Zionist Vision of the Two State Solution.” I strongly recommend you read his article and consider his points, because they are the very ones that have forced most advocates of a two-state solution to avoid those pesky details where the devil always hides. More»

Democracy Without Leadership

Democracy Without Leadership

Imagine a state about the size of Maryland. Give it slightly more people than Michigan. Divide it into three federal regions. Spice it up with three official languages (make sure these don’t coincide with the regions’ borders). Ensure it is run by variable coalitions of 10 political parties operating through 7 parliaments. Chop it into 10 provinces and, for good measure, 589 local councils. Mix well and let stew for a few decades. What do you get? Welcome to Belgium. More»

The Other Occupation

The Other Occupation

Israel’s killing of dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the fence surrounding Majdal Shams has again catapulted the 19,000 Druze and 2,000 Muslim Arabs of the Golan Heights to popular attention. Despite being as numerous as Israeli settlers, they lack equal rights and access to resources, as Arthur Neslen discovered in this feature, which was spiked by Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst. More»