Three weeks ago the New York Times stunned its readers with a frontpage story proclaiming, “Europe’s Anti-Semitism Comes out of the Shadows.”
From the immigrant enclaves of the Parisian suburbs to the drizzly bureaucratic city of Brussels to the industrial heartland of Germany, Europe’s old demon returned this summer.
The story contained numerous references to German anti-Semitism. “Gas the Jews!” yelled marchers at a pro-Palestinian protest in Germany, the story said. And a long section on “Anxiety in Germany” included this lesson from an attempted firebombing of a synagogue in Wupperthal:
“For Jews in Germany, especially for us, this has very, very deep meaning,” said Artour Gourari, a local businessman and synagogue member. “Synagogues are burning again in Germany in the night.”
OK, now fasten your neckbolts tight. Because today the New York Times has a story, on an inside page, about Jews leaving Israel for… Germany: “In Exodus From Israel to Germany, a Young Nation’s Fissures Show.” Germany sure seems like a different place than the last article:
Israelis have for years been drawn to Berlin’s cosmopolitan flair, vibrant arts scene and advanced public transportation. There are already several places in the city where one can have authentic hummus, and there is a bimonthly Hebrew-language magazine…
Asaf Moses, 32, said there were “no Israelis around” when he moved to Berlin a decade ago, but now he could hardly walk a mile from home “without picking up some Hebrew from the sidewalk.” There are at least three Israeli restaurants in Prenzlauer Berg, a central neighborhood near a synagogue and Jewish cemetery. What began as a casual monthly book exchange over coffee has grown into a Hebrew lending library with 2,000 volumes.
“Our community is growing every day,” said Diana Reizman, 32, who moved to Berlin as a student and now owns Elfenbein, a kosher cafe and caterer.
We have a simple question for the Times. Which story is correct?
These stories can’t be reconciled. You can’t have an old demon coming out of the shadows and Jews wanting to move to the country. Jews fled Nazi Germany from the time of Hitler’s ascent in the early 1930s. When synagogues burned in the night, in 1938, there was huge desperation among the Jews still in the country. It seems clear that the Times is falling prey to hasbara hysteria– not unlike Todd Gitlin saying that “Jew-hating pogroms and murders rage through Europe.”
P.S. Today’s Times piece treated the exodus of young Israelis to Berlin as part of an “adolescent” nation’s growing pains. They want a better quality of life than they can get in Tel Aviv. The Times reporter trivialized the movement by highlighting the fact that they can buy a pudding in Germany for a lot less than the same pudding in Israel. She all but ignored the fundamental issue, that Israel is becoming a deadend politically because of the occupation and international efforts to isolate the place. Even former Clinton ambassador Marc Ginsberg says this about the young Israelis leaving, at Huffpo:
With its international standing rapidly eroding, and calls for more punishing economic boycotts against Israel’s incendiary occupation, younger Israelis — the future foundation of the state — are increasingly calling it quits. In 2013 alone, more than double the Israelis quit Israel than in 2012.
What about their participation in “incendiary” occupation? Might that be a reason they want out?