Geographies
J14 and American Jewry

J14 and American Jewry

For over a month now, protesters have been flooding the streets of Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities, demanding economic reform. In Israel, it’s a political tidal wave, but one would hardly know it from the relatively scant coverage the so-called ‘J14’ protests (thus named for the July 14 date of the protests’ inception) have gotten in the United States. At least when compared to most matters Israeli. 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»

His Own Private Fantasy

His Own Private Fantasy

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, is a diplomat whose chief skill is creating tensions, rather than defusing them. Now he’s taken a video originally produced in Hebrew for the YESHA Council (the leading lobbying group in Israel for the West Bank settlers) and imposed his own image speaking in English. The script is an almost direct translation. 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»

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»