The American Press’s Predictable Indifference to the Anti-Semitic Attack in Los Angeles

November 29, 2018 | Armin Rosen
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Last Friday evening, Mohamed Mohamed Abdi tried to run over two Jews coming out of a Los Angeles synagogue while yelling anti-Semitic epithets; fortunately, both survived unharmed. Yet the Los Angeles Times reports that “authorities are trying to determine [the attacker’s] motivations.” Other national papers have given the story minimal coverage, notes Armin Rosen:

Despite the increased attention to anti-Semitism in America that followed the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh, this attack in LA hasn’t been treated as a national story. Maybe that shouldn’t be too surprising: the recent string of arsons against Jewish targets in Brooklyn, and the fairly common harassment of Orthodox Jews throughout the city—which takes the form of actual violence with distressing frequency—haven’t garnered anything beyond local, attention either.

In the former case, it seems mental illness and addiction were to blame for a series of attacks on Jewish targets and only Jewish targets. Maybe that’s because even these fairly threatening yet grindingly routinized manifestations of anti-Semitism don’t fit into an existing media or political narrative: as the New York Times noted last month, none of the anti-Semitic incidents in New York during the previous 22 months was the responsibility of anyone associated with a far right-wing group.

The attack in LA may have been of a kind that just isn’t deemed to be important or notable at the moment. Or maybe, because it can’t be blamed on a neo-fascist extremist, its contours are somehow more difficult for journalists and political leaders to recognize.

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