No part of the world is as stigmatised for its Antisemitism as Europe. With good reason. Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated six million Jews perished at the hands of the Nazis. Not just in Germany but throughout the continent. European Jewry never recovered.
The year Hitler came to power, the population numbered nearly ten million. The most recent estimates put it at under two million, with the community continuing to shrink due to the war in Ukraine.
Nothing could make it easier to fear European protests against Israel than ongoing conflicts like this. Particularly concerning Palestine and the now 55-year-long occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which over five million Palestinian Arabs call home.
Though Europe’s Palestinian population is tiny – less than 100,000 according to current figures – its political visibility can be far greater than its size. During every cycle of violence in Israel-Palestine, solidarity protests routinely draw accusations of racism and dominate the headlines.
Particularly in cities with big Palestinian solidarity scenes such as Berlin and Brussels. Enter Everywhere But There, a collection of eight field recordings of demonstrations against Israeli campaigns in Gaza in both capitals between 2014 and 2021.
Documentary recordings made as source material for journalists, the album is a first of its kind. Though protest samples have been used in pop and hip-hop songs since the 1980s, there’s never been a standalone collection about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Until now.
Everywhere But There is also an autobiographical work. Its recordist, Joel Schalit, is an Israeli-American journalist hailing from one of Israel’s founding families, who has written extensively on the conflict with the Palestinians since the 1990s, particularly its role in Western politics.
Nothing could be more of a challenge than recording it in a place like Europe, where, because of the Nazi genocide, covering criticisms of Israeli policy can be the most difficult beat of all.
Everywhere But There is a perfect case in point. It’s an exercise in listening without editing out any of the difficult parts. While angry and heartbreaking at times, Schalit’s recordings never embrace right-wing stereotypes of Palestinians either.
That doesn’t mean Everywhere But There isn’t challenging, because it is. But, in a political environment in which it can be impossible to hear the so-called other, even the smallest bit of listening can go a very long way.
Mastered and produced by Raz Mesinai. Artwork by Philippe Nicolas.