Sunday, January 15, 2012

Even in its Travel Section, the NY Times Reveals its Ambivalence Towards Israel - Update*

"As a traveler, I am not a particularly choosy person. I will go pretty much anywhere, anytime." But, "...I had absolutely zero interest in ever visiting Israel."

"This surprised friends and mildly annoyed my parents, who had visited quite happily. As a Jew, especially one who travels constantly, I was expected at least to have the Jewish state on my radar, if not to be planning a pilgrimage in the very near future. Tel Aviv, they’d say, has wonderful food!
"But to me, a deeply secular Jew, Israel has always felt less like a country than a politically iffy burden. For decades I’d tried to put as much distance between myself and Judaism as possible..."
Thus in Lost in Jerusalem Matt Gross tries to establish his cool credentials before presenting a travel story about Jerusalem where, apart from kvetchy mentions about the Western Wall and Mea Shearim, he describes a city in which the really interesting parts have little to do with the historic Jewish presence, except in regards to night life and restaurants.
It is almost as if the NY Times specifically sought a story that reflected its own deep ambivalence towards Israel. Read a couple of other pieces from the 'Lost' series, here and here and tell me the Jerusalem piece isn't written in an entirely different tenor.

* I'm so glad that both David Harris and Mark Tracy picked up on this story and elaborated far more than I did. Although, ahem, I beat them to it.


  1. Bella -

    There is something very fascinating about the people who describe themselves "as deeply secular Jews" - translation, I know little about Judaism believe they are qualified to hold sophisticated opinions regarding the existence of the a Jewish State.

    Let's translate what he really means to say:

    I know little about Judaism, and care even less about Jewish history. Yet somehow the existence of a Jewish State, which means there is a Jewish people, embarrasses me, because it interferes with my ability to deny my background.


  2. I couldn't have put it better!

  3. So in short, Mr. Gross sort of liked his trip except for all the Jews there. This is standard NYT editorial policy.

  4. "As a Jew..."

    That just about summarizes it.

  5. Still they are referring to Jew, I don't know if this is a big issue but to me it doesn't matter.


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