Monday, September 10, 2007

The Guardian: Neo Nazis in Israel are Victims

The story is strange enough without the Guardian pitching it their way. A couple days ago the Israeli police arrested 8 young men, all immigrants from the ex-Soviet Union, for what has been described as Neo-Nazi activity. Haaretz, as usual, supplies a decent description. Thugs, non-Jews with some degree of Jewish ancestry that allowed them into Israel by the Law of Return, who didn't fit in and turned to vile actions such as spray-painting swastikas on synagogues and tattooing themselves likewise, and vicious actions such as beating foreign workers, ultraorthodox youth and drunks. Predictably the populist elements of the story set agog all the instincts of all the politicians - and Haaretz details that, also.

The element of the story that Haaretz dares not mention is the innate degree of hatred in general and hatred towards Jews these young thugs have. It must have come from somewhere, and I think it's wrong to tell the story without ever even mentioning the possibility that their Soviet cultural background might have some wee influence over their behavior.

The Guardian uses the story to lay on their usual fare of anti-Israeli reportage. Some examples:

Many Russians live in large communities in Israel's cities in which they have little interaction with other Israelis. They have their own supermarkets where pork is available, unlike in the majority of stores. Russians feel they are victims of discrimination in Israel and many are denied the right to marry by the Jewish authorities.

Well, sort of. Large communities, yes. Little interaction with other Israelis? Come on now. Supermarkets with pork, true, but what does it prove? Russians feel they are victims? Hmm. Among some million and a half people there certainly must be such people, but the word "Russians" is not helpful in telling if there are 1,000 of them or 250,000. Many are denied the right to marry - yes, that's an accurate description of about 15% of the issue.

For whatever reason, the Guardian seems constitutionally unable to take Israel seriously as a complex and human society. The only way they can see us is through some narrow ideological filter that reduces us to flat stereotypes.

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