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June 10, 2016 8:18 am

Tel Aviv Terrorists Targeted Israeli Economic Sweet Spot; New York Times Blames Occupation

avatar by Ira Stoll

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Max Brenner. Photo: Wikipedia.

Max Brenner. Photo: Wikipedia.

One angle totally missing so far from the New York Times’ coverage of the Tel Aviv shooting attack is that the targeted café, Max Brenner, is an international brand owned by Israel’s Strauss Group.

Strauss and Max Brenner are in many ways emblematic of Israel’s success. Max Brenner has grown from its founding in 1996 as a single chocolate shop in Ra’anana to a global chain with, its web site says, “64 locations worldwide: 41 in Australia, 8 in Israel, 5 in the USA, 1 in Singapore, 5 in Japan, 2 in Russia, 1 Seoul, South Korea and 1 in China.”

The Max Brenner outpost in Boston, where I stopped by yesterday for a visit in solidarity, is on prime real estate near an Apple Store and steps away from the site of the Boston Marathon bombing. The Max Brenner location in New York’s Union Square was the scene of a solidarity gathering that went unreported and uncovered by the Times; a more official gathering was planned by the Washington, D.C. Jewish community for the Max Brenner in Bethesda, Maryland. Don’t expect to read about that in the Times, either.

When the Times did deign to notice the Max Brenner in New York, it was with a derisive review back in 2007 that claimed, “The standards aren’t particularly high. A congealed lasagna Bolognese could have been the work of that great Italian artisan Chef Boyardee. Even if you treat Max Brenner as a destination for just dessert — as a steroidal Serendipity — you can wind up disappointed.”

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Max Brenner’s parent company, Strauss Group, had revenues of approximately $2 billion in 2014. Its Sabra hummus brand, a partnership with PepsiCo, has been the target of campus anti-Israel divestment and boycott agitators in the U.S. Founded in the 1930s by immigrants to Israel from Germany, Strauss businesses now include coffee, chocolate, pudding, water and yogurt. Its chairwoman, Ofra Strauss, had a well publicized friendship with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

If there’s a Palestinian Arab equivalent to Strauss Group or to Max Brenner, I don’t know what it is.

It’s not clear if the terrorists who attacked Tel Aviv deliberately chose their specific target because of its symbolism as an outpost of Israeli global economic creativity and success. But even if they didn’t, it certainly seems to me — if not to the Times — to be part of the story. Instead of writing about Israel’s supporters in America or the Jewish state’s international economic muscle, the Times, however, much prefers to focus on the Palestinian Arabs.

A one-sided “Times video” — actually, by the Associated Press — sums up the newspaper’s view of the situation in the words of Palestinian Arab politician Mustafa Barghouti. He called the attack in Tel Aviv “a direct result of the Israeli repression and abusive policy…the occupation and Israel’s racist and persecutive system…what will solve the problem is one thing: to put an end to the longest occupation in modern human history.”

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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