Branding Jews Exotic

Branding Jews Exotic

I spend a lot of my time thinking about and writing about Jews. Much of my work takes place within the confines of the Jewish community, but I also try and engage the wider world with Jewish issues. That often leads me to publishing think pieces and reviews in a range of ‘non-Jewish’ publications such as the The Guardian, The Independent and more. More»

Corbyn's Labour

Corbyn’s Labour

At first, Britain’s Labour leadership contest was just about remixing Tory clichés. Andy Burnham issued bromides of ‘aspiration’ with a Northern accent. Yvette Cooper criticised Ed Miliband’s pledge to ban EU migrants from benefits for two years, on the grounds that it should be four years. Unable to add anything new, Liz Kendall gave up, and accepted almost every Conservative policy. More»

Capitalism Will Eat Itself

Capitalism Will Eat Itself

The economist Joseph Schumpeter is one the most fascinating and, it is probably fair to say, underappreciated figures of the 20th century. He was a product of a remarkable multigenerational school of economic thought in the last decades of the Habsburg Empire. More»

Latest entries
Death of the Center-Left

Death of the Center-Left

It’s been nearly five years since Ed Miliband was elected as Labour leader. From the start, the right-wing press heaped scorn upon him. Of all the attacks foisted upon him the ‘fratricidal’ agent charge, who stepped over his own brother to grab the big seat, backed by trade unions, was perhaps the most revealing. More»

To the Crematorium

To the Crematorium

He was running across our rows for the first time. He was creating a new block out of us, the “zugangs” (new arrivals.) He was seeking, among unknown people, some men to keep order in the block. Fate willed it that he chose me, he choose Karol Swietorzecki (a reserve officer of 13th cavalry regiment,) Witold Rozycki (a good fellow from Warsaw,) and several others. More»

From Extreme Metal to Islamic State

From Extreme Metal to Islamic State

When I set out to do ethnographic research on extreme metal for my doctorate in the mid-1990s, it was the transgression that fascinated me. I wanted to immerse myself in a culture dedicated to musical celebrations of the dark side, that flirted with sonic oblivion, that stared into the abyss. More»

Azans in UKIP Country

Azans in UKIP Country

On Sunday afternoon, I participated in an act of theatrical protest at Nigel Farage’s local pub: the George & Dragon in Downe. During the “Beyond UKIP Cabaret,” I recited the azan over a loudspeaker, while wearing a red-and-white keffiyeh. More»

Nowhere to Hide

Nowhere to Hide

As I was preparing to spend a year abroad in Germany, I agonized over one of the tips my exchange student organization had sent me. It encouraged us to photograph aspects of the United States that wouldn’t be familiar from watching American movies and television. But what came to mind for me were the homeless people I saw on every trip to Washington D.C. More»

Music for Palestine

Music for Palestine

Israeli pop has never crossed over. Though a few artists have gotten airplay on European radio, and spawned a YouTube meme from time to time, with the exeption of Ofra Haza, it’s never been a big success internationally, and it’s not for lack of trying. Dozens of licensing agents  have tried to place it abroad over the years, at best landing niche artists at boutique labels and ad agencies. Think Idan Raichel, and Monotonix. More»

Camping in Poland

Camping in Poland

We were terribly thirsty. Pots with some beverage were just delivered. The same people, who had been killing us, were distributing round mugs of that beverage along our ranks, while asking: “Was bist du von zivil?”We got what desired, that is (a) beverage, and replied some trade, a worker or a craftsmen. And those pseudo-people, while beating and kicking us, shouted:… “Hier ist Auschwitz – mein lieber Mann!” More»

Death From Above

Death From Above

The drone war, as it has been fought to this point, has featured an effective interweaving of military and ideological considerations. Grégoire Chamayou’s A Theory of the Drone represents  the most comprehensive attempt to untangle the most politically complex aspects of drone use, and to explore its and psychological implications. More»

The Mecca Cleaners Strike

The Mecca Cleaners Strike

In November 2013, thousands of street cleaners in Mecca went on strike. The move was triggered by South Asian workers, primarily, complaining that intense police harassment was accompanying an immigration crackdown. More»

Red Scares

Red Scares

When Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote the first lines of The Communist Manifesto, they turned the conventional notion of haunting on its head, conjuring the “ghost”, not of something that had passed away, but of something that had not yet come to pass. Since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, though, this has changed decisively. The world is haunted instead by the communism that was — and wasn’t. More»

Ukraine Troll Armies

Ukraine Troll Armies

The Ukrainian government, in an attempt to counter the narrative of the Russian-backed rebels, announced last month that it would be recruiting an iArmy of media volunteers. This is not an ideal means of countering biased narratives on Ukraine.  More»

Georgia's Economic Decline

Georgia’s Economic Decline

Makuna is a 35 year-old self-made entrepreneur, running a cozy little shop in Tbilisi’s busiest tourist area. For several years, her idea to create unusual jewelry, clothes and original souvenirs blossomed into a lovely business, giving her plenty of time for herself and family, and as a steady income. More»