Russian and Israeli neo-Nazis: media double standard?

The anarchist blog Three-Way Fight wants to know (despite leaving the question marks off their questions):

Why does the media – CNN, MSNBC, FOX, BBC, Harretz, etc – spend today going over and over again, with lots of video footage, of the bust of a supposed neo-Nazi group in Israel that beat up people and vandalized synagogues. [Sic] The group, made up of Russian emigres who had at least some direct relative who had been of Jewish religious/cultural descent, were videoed attacking people and sieg heiling in front of a German flag.

But in the same mainstream press there was almost no reporting three weeks ago of the Russian Nazi’s (whether real or perhaps created by the Russian state agents as a way to spread propaganda against the regions [sic] actual growing far-right movement, with some estimates reaching 50,000) who kidnapped and murdered two men – one by beheading and one by blowing the poor mans brains out. The report and video emerged around August 15th. If there was reporting it was brief and buried.

Why do Nazis in Israel get coverage. [Sic] But when Nazis murder two men of possible Muslim origin (one who was from Dagestan and one who was a Tajiki), and issue a video that makes any Jihadi beheading video look amateurish, seem to get a media blackout. Why is there “outrage” and questions of “how is this possible” when it’s over threats against Israelis, yet actual killings of Muslims by Russian neo-Nazis seem ignored?

Well, the story about the Russo-Nazi surgence (a phenomenon eerily predicted by Bollywood, BTW) certainly does warrant greater attention—but it did get fairly prominent treatment in the New York Times Aug. 14—while the Times’ Sept. 9 coverage of the Israeli Nazis rated less ink and less prominent placement.

Also, the Israeli Nazi story has the man-bites-dog quality that the media always find so irresistible. (Although if we—the media, reading public and alienated Russian youth alike—remembered our history better, the notion of Russian Nazis would seem nearly absurd as Israeli Nazis.)

More troubling is Three-Way Fight’s use of the word “supposed” for the Israeli Nazis—there is nothing “supposed” about them, unfortunately; they are quite obviously in deadly earnest. The Times also makes clear that these kids are not Jews: “Russia has a problem with neo-Nazi groups, and the phenomenon arrived in Israel with relatives of Jews who came here from the former Soviet Union but who are not themselves Jewish.”

But nothing is more fashionable on the left these days than downplaying any threat to Jews. And we’d like to know why that double standard is any better than the one Three-Way Fight is decrying.

See our last posts on the radical right, Jew-hatred, Israel and Russia.

  1. Jewish enough for Hitler

    My Jewish grandson’s no Nazi, says Holocaust survivor
    By Rebecca Harrison
    Monday, September 10, 2007; 2:28 PM

    PETAH TIKVA, Israel (Reuters) – She escaped the Holocaust at age six by hiding from the Nazis under a pile of dead bodies in her Ukrainian village.

    Now the Israeli pensioner’s grandson stands accused of joining a neo-Nazi gang which allegedly attacked Orthodox Jews in Petah Tikva in metropolitan Tel Aviv and painted swastikas across the walls of the local synagogue.

    Her 17-year-old grandson is one of eight young Israelis, all from the former Soviet Union, arrested in connection with neo-Nazi activity, in a case that has stunned the Jewish state. All denied involvement at a court hearing this week.

    Some one million immigrants from the former Soviet Union have moved to Israel since the fall of Communism in 1990. Many, including some of the suspects, were not born to a Jewish mother — the Orthodox definition of a Jew — but qualified for Israeli citizenship because they had at least one Jewish grandparent.

    The accused’s grandmother said on Monday her family had been Jewish “since Adam and Eve.”

    It would be absurd, she said, to charge her grandson with neo-Nazi activities. Neither the accused, a minor, nor his relatives can be named for legal reasons.

    “I went through a first disaster when I was six years old and now I’m going through a second disaster when I’m 72,” she said in a telephone interview. “It was just chance the fascists didn’t shoot me … Now I’m very sorry they didn’t kill me.”

    The accused’s mother said her son was persuaded to join the gang after connecting with hardcore members on the Internet. She said he tried to leave when he found out about the attacks but was bullied into staying.

    “He was always interested in history and the War,” his mother told Reuters. “He made a mistake … he thought they were just a bunch of history freaks.”