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Selective Sympathy and the Mumbai Chabad House

Over at RD, Naomi Seldman has some important reflections on the U.S. media's focus on one Hasidic Jewish couple from Brooklyn who died in the Mumbai attacks, rather than the more than a hundred Indians who suffered the same fate. The title and the teaser capture the question well:

Are the deaths of “our” people more important to us?

I'm also concerned that the story of this couple will, in the eyes of the public, cause the attacks to be perceived as yet another case of a long and continuous "global war on [Islamic] terrorism," where the target is primarily us and our freedoms. In fact, the most compelling leads suggest that the motive lies primarily in India-Pakistan relations and Kashmir; Jews and other Westerners (although there are non-Western Jews living in India too) were used for symbolic value in what is best understood as a regional dispute. [go!]