Joel Schalit


Who are the Palestinians?

By Joel Schalit

Who are the Palestinians?
As “Arabs,” Palestinians could be absorbed by any other Arab nation. The more we ignore their national identity, the more we delegitimize their struggle for independence, writes Joel Schalit.Read More


The Optimism of the Will

By Joel Schalit

The Optimism of the Will
‘It’s located on Rosa Luxemburg Straße,” she said, “Two blocks from Alexanderplatz. Just take the train, and I’ll meet you there.” Savoring the combination of literary brand names wrapped into that sentence, it all made sense to me. The invitation had been extended by an old friend I’d met through punk circles, in Lon-don, during the 1990s. She’d since moved back to Germany to get better social services for her children, both of whom are disabled. “You’ll love the burritos,” she said before hanging up the phone.Read More


Is Buchenwald Survivor's Israel Criticism 'Abnormal'?

By Joel Schalit

Is Buchenwald Survivor's Israel Criticism 'Abnormal'?
According to the Israeli government, the 93-year-old Buchenwald survivor is a liar. Decried by French embassy spokesperson Yaron Gamburg for spreading falsehoods about the Jewish state, Stéphane Hessel’s criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians apparently does not correspond with reality. “It is a literary fad which will have no affect on the real world, a pseudo-intellectual phenomenon whose facts have not been verified,” an incensed Gamburg told The Jerusalem Post.Read More


The Egyptian Plumber and My ‘Eurabia’ Problem

By Joel Schalit

The Egyptian Plumber and My ‘Eurabia’ Problem
The toilet in my Milan apartment hadn’t worked for weeks. Standing outside the entrance to the bathroom, I listened to the sounds of the plumber applying his tools, speaking in hushed Arabic to his assistant. My wife had let them in while I’d been out walking our dogs.Read More


We Are All Simon Schama: The Threat of an Undefined Jew

By Joel Schalit

We Are All Simon Schama: The Threat of an Undefined Jew
It was the year’s biggest helping of humble pie. Less than a month after a heated takedown of Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People” in the Financial Times, the very same reviewer, writing in Italy’s respected business daily Il Sole 24 Ore, offered the book qualified praise, calling it his book of the year. So distinct was this follow-up appraisal, it could have been written by a different person.Read More






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  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
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