24 February 2011 10 Comments

For Arabs: democracy, then crime fiction

Crime fiction may not be the first thing on the minds of the protesters taking to the streets for democracy across the Arab world. But one of the offshoots of the downfall of Arab dictators is sure to be an explosion of thrillers and mysteries. Until now there has been almost no crime fiction written […]

25 December 2010 0 Comments

Bethlehem upbeat for Christmas

For the first time in years, the people of Bethlehem have something more to celebrate at Christmas than the recollection of an important birth in their town 2,000 years ago. After the city’s economy was devastated by the Palestinian intifada over the last decade, Bethlehem’s economic recovery has picked up pace in the last year […]

13 December 2010 0 Comments

New West Bank road to peace?

ST. GEORGE’S MONASTERY, West Bank — Gathered in the chapel of this outpost in the Judean Desert last week, the Orthodox priests chanted “Lord, have mercy” in Greek, in a service of blessing for a new road that makes the venerable building accessible to the growing number of tourists willing to dare a visit to […]

6 June 2010 3 Comments

How to avoid writer’s block

Writer’s block has nothing to do with writing. That might seem obvious. When a writer wants to write, but can’t get anything out, he’s blocked. Not writing. Blocked. But it isn’t the writing that causes the block. Neither is it some psychological problem or an inability to conjure up the Muse of inspiration. It’s because […]

2 April 2010 0 Comments

An Islamic Romeo and Juliet

Since 9/11, journalists and writers have tried to understand the extremists committed to the destruction of the West and, often, that of their own societies in the Middle East. Writers have mostly done this by “going inside” the world of those extremists, giving us the inner life of suicide bombers or of the “American Taliban.” […]

10 March 2010 0 Comments

Political suicide of a peace-loving party

The Israeli party of conscience dissolves, and with it a rare leftist voice in a rightist country. (I posted this on GlobalPost) TEL AVIV — Israel’s politics is in a mess. How do I know? The party that stands most firmly for peace talks, environmentalism, liberal education, social justice, separation of religion and state, women’s […]

11 February 2010 1 Comment

Jerusalem Zoo: Penguins before pols

Here’s a whimsical video explaining why the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is a better place from which to observe the Palestinian-Israeli conflict than a Gaza refugee camp or an Israeli military base. Seriously. And yet not.

21 January 2010 0 Comments

Everyone comes back to Jerusalem

Everyone comes back to Jerusalem. I don’t know why, I really don’t. It’s too hot. The people can be offhandedly mean, and they drive as though they want to kill you. It isn’t a very pretty place once you look close. Oh and, yes, sometimes it gets violent. With shocking self-obsession, it thinks the eyes […]