An editorial that will live in infamy

Kung Fu Jew blogged earlier this week about reacting to the horrible Mumbai terrorist killings as universalistic Jews. It’s worth pointing out a particularly egregious example of the particularistic Jewish response that appeared in last week’s New York Jewish Week.

The editorial, “Another Day Of Infamy“, linked the Mumbai killings to Kishinev and Babi Yar. It begins:

And so Mumbai joins Kishinev, Hebron, Berlin, Babi Yar, Maalot, Sbarro’s, Sderot (we could easily mention 150 other sites) to the annals of sudden infamy. Another “wake-up call,” we’re told, for a somnambulant world. It is somehow perverse, even cruel, however, to speak of a wake-up call when the six Jews killed in Mumbai by Islamic terrorists were preceded by more than 2,000 Jews killed (and 5,000 wounded, some horrifically) by Islamic terrorists in the last decade alone.

You wouldn’t know from this paragraph — or the eight that follow — that nearly two hundred non-Jews were killed in the coordinated terror attacks whose primary targets were foreigners in Mumbai. The official paper of the UJA-Federation of Greater New York treats them as unpersons. Has the paper officially bought into the Chabad doctrine that gentiles are less human than Jews?

Shame on Jonathan Mark for writing this editorial, Gary Rosenblatt for publishing it, and the UJA-Federation for not noticing that something has gone very rotten in their newspaper.

14 Responses to “An editorial that will live in infamy”

  1. Amen!

    If 2,000 was supposed to shock us, I think numbness has set it, because it sounds almost pithy. Examined relative to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the number of Palestinian non-combatants who died by Israeli security forces in the Gaza Strip in the last decade: 2,990. The West Bank adds 1,791.

    Which is meant not to undermine the severity of terrorism, but to put the extremism of Mark as a representative of the Jewish-only-Jewish-first-Jewish-always choirboys into perspective.

    Kung Fu Jew · December 11th, 2008 at 4:46 pm
  2. KFJ, the 2,990 and 1,791 numbers you took from B’Tselem are not all non-combatants, according to their site. They are the overall number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces since Sept. 29th 2000, and fully include those known to have taken part in fighting.

    Further down the page, you can see that:

    “Palestinians who did not take part in the hostilities and were killed by Israeli security forces (not including the objects of targeted killings).” These number are 1,382 in Gaza and 840 in the West Bank, for a total of 2,222.

    Additionally, there were according these statistics 128 in Gaza and 25 in the Wes Bank – Palestinian non-combatants who were killed as bystanders from a targeted killing (and not the target themselves).

    All this of course doesn’t diminish the point. I just think that if numbers are going to be quoted, they should be accurate.

    Jason Silberman · December 11th, 2008 at 6:24 pm
  3. Jason, I misread the chart — I thought those were non-combatants, as obviously I wanted to make the point without someone jumping in to claim that 4,779 were terrorists and 2 innocent bystanders.

    Kung Fu Jew · December 11th, 2008 at 6:57 pm
  4. right, i understood that. It’s definitely a true, and an important point.

    Jason Silberman · December 11th, 2008 at 7:00 pm
  5. This notion that Jews focusing in on their element of a greater issue is absurd!
    When is the last time a Jewish center was taken hostage for two days with no survivors?
    Consider: If this event occured without the other murders would you see it differently?
    US media (before we knew the Jews were American or killed) ran cover stories & breaking news headlines, about a Virginia father and daughter killed at a cafe with press conferences and all. And US casualties are always counted and reported in these attacks. Why? Because as Americans we care more about each other (supposedly) and are more interested and concerned about the safety of our own.
    Similarly Jews used to care about members of their own faith, more than those of others – just like you would be more concerend if your sister were taken hostage than if John Doe was. Don’t misconstrue this as being heartless, supremacist, or inconsiderate of others – it is natural to care about your own.
    Apparently we have reached a new level in the progressive approach which deems concern for another Jew tantamount to inconsiderate to all other suffering.
    If a loved died in a crash with 5 strangers why would you mourn?! For the strangers? No, for your loved one! That doesn’t mean you don’t care about the others it means you love your sibling!

    Merliner · December 11th, 2008 at 8:42 pm
  6. If a loved one died in a crash with five others but you never once mentioned any of the others in your reporting of the crash, that would be heartless, supremacist, and inconsiderate.

    I don’t think the issue here is that Jews are mourning Jews. It’s that Jews are mourning Jews without any acknowledgement or understanding of the attack as part of something bigger.

    If you went to a Holocaust memorial vigil in memory of the Roma who died in the camps, would you find it odd if Jews were never once mentioned? I sure would, even though the particular vigil was in memory of a different group that died alongside the Jewish majority.

    dlevy · December 11th, 2008 at 9:22 pm
  7. It wasn’t just a Jewish center with hostages inside for two days: it was two major hotels.
    And if you connect Kishinev with Sderot, then you’re just an anti-Zionist.

    Amit · December 11th, 2008 at 10:37 pm
  8. Let’s not forget that there has been a conscious, concerted, strong effort on the part of Chabad to use the Mumbai massacre for its own publicity purposes- and they’ve done a darn fine job at it. Chabad has sent out PR releases to every media outlet anywhere near a local Chabad house, and in many cases convinced JCC’s, Federations and other rabbis to participate in community memorial services, which end up being Chabad PR events, in my view. That the Jewish community is seeing Mumbai as a jewish event is not surprising given that one of the biggest, most media savvy Jewish organizations in the world is driving that narrative.

    Neal · December 14th, 2008 at 1:21 am
  9. For the right, it wasn’t enough to mourn even the loss of Jewish life. Rather, we had to all BE Chabadniks.

    I thought this was rather trite and untrue. If only Reform Jews had been killed, would the haredim at Cross Currents have said, “Today we are all Reform!”? I don’t think they would have, and I don’t expect them to say that, but then why should I pretend this? And shouldn’t they have also said, “Today we are Satmar!” since a Satmar person was murdered? I guess they would have to pick two different days…what if women only were killed? I guess then we have to say, “Today we were made according to his will!”

    DK · December 14th, 2008 at 7:23 am
  10. particularistic … ooh, big word! Is it bad?

    Rick in KC · December 15th, 2008 at 9:37 pm
  11. Here’s an irony. You could start your own tribe by bringing together Jews who whine about the particularism of (orthodox) Judaism.

    formermuslim · December 16th, 2008 at 7:32 pm
  12. formermuslim, I think only 10% of the world’s counted Jewry is orthodox. The majority belong to other denominations. Too late?

    Kung Fu Jew · December 16th, 2008 at 9:55 pm
  13. I thought I covered all my bases when I put orthodox in parentheses. Unless you think, as I do, that there is no difference.

    But seriously, this running after other peoples errands has to stop. Jews have plenty of problems of their own and the whole world would appreciate it if you could solve one problem in particular.

    formermuslim · December 17th, 2008 at 5:25 pm
  14. [...] Here’s one from Larry Yudelson: [...]

    The Jewish Right To Mourn Our Own | Route 17 · December 22nd, 2008 at 5:47 pm

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik