Kristallnacht

Beat the journalism clock: Track rising anti-Semitism via Jewish and Israeli news media

Beat the journalism clock: Track rising anti-Semitism via Jewish and Israeli news media

This past Saturday, the Jewish sabbath — just two weeks removed from the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and 80 years to the day following Kristallnacht -- the Israeli news site Times of Israel ran the following stories on its home page. Each was about anti-Semitism; either a hateful display of it (including one new one in the United States) or warnings about its steady rise in Europe.

Because it would take too much space to explain them all, I’ll just supply the links and note the nation of origin. Please read at least a few of them to gain a sense of the level of concern.

(1) The Netherlands.

(2) The United Kingdom.

(3) Poland.

(4) Germany.

(5) Austria.

(6) United States.

A quick web search that same day uncovered a host of other stories documenting recent anti-Semitic actions, many cloaked in anti-Israel and anti-Zionist rhetoric, including this one from The Jewish Chronicle, the venerable, London-based, Anglo-Jewish publication.

A local Labour party [meaning a regional branch of Britain’s national opposition political party] confirmed it amended a motion about the Pittsburgh synagogue attack to remove a call for all forms of antisemitism to be eradicated and for Labour to “lead the way in opposing" Jew-hate.

The story, of course, included the usual explanations meant to excuse actions of this sort. And, for the record, while I do not consider all criticism of Israeli government actions to be anti-Semitic, I do believe that the line between legitimate political criticism of Israel and hatred of Israel because its a Jewish nation is frequently blurred.

I listed all the above stories to make some journalistic points. The first of them is to point out journalism’s unique internal clock.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Really? A Starbucks cup is news and a Judenrein Kristallnacht commemoration isn't?

Really? A Starbucks cup is news and a Judenrein Kristallnacht commemoration isn't?

Let's start with some basic questions.

Raise your hands if you're familiar with the recent story about a Starbuck's coffee cup. You know, the red one. C'mon, keep them up. I'm counting. (Play along. Someday there'll be an app for this.)

Ah-ha. Quite a few of you, I see.

Now, how many of you are aware of the story about how the Swedish city of Umea marked the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht last week but didn't invite local Jews because city officials thought it too dangerous for them to attend?

Not many hands in the air this time, I see. I'm not surprised.

Last question: What does it say about the American news media that a silly non-story about a Starbucks' cup shows up everywhere, but a Judenrein Kristallnacht commemoration passes largely unreported?

I'd say a great deal. None of it good.

So I just said "last question," but here's one more. Why does it take a Paris massacre for journalists to pay close and continued attention to the individual dots that when connected lead to mass terrorist assaults?

Here's some background -- not on the cup. What's left to say? Let's talk about the incident in Umea.

The following is excerpted from The Daily Beast, one of the very few American news outlets to report the story, even if it did so with an incomplete and poorly edited story.

Please respect our Commenting Policy