The New York Times has
a longstanding history of pro-Israeli bias. An earlier If Americans
Knew report explained "highly disturbing patterns" of distorted, one-sided
Over time, little changed. Former Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner
is ethically challenged. He's a longtime Israeli apologist. He blames
Palestinians for Israeli crimes. He largely ignores settler violence.
In March 2008, he joined Lone Star Communications' speakers bureau.
It's one of Israel's leading PR firms. An illegal settler runs it.
It arranges speaking dates for Bronner and others on pro-Israeli issues.
Times editors see no conflict of interest about writers compromising
their journalistic integrity.
An earlier controversy involved Bronner's son serving in Israel's military.
Former Times executive editor Bill Keller backed him. Times assistant
managing editor Susan Chira called his coverage "scrupulously fair...."
Ethical challenges finally got him transferred. Jodi Rudoren replaced
him. More on her below.
Deputy Jerusalem bureau chief Isabel Kershner is ethically compromised
twice over. She consistently misreports. Her husband, Hirsh Goodman,
is senior research fellow and director of Tel Aviv University's Institute
for National Securities (INSS).
It's connected to Israel's government and military. Many of its professionals
have government and/or IDF backgrounds. Israel helps fund it.
Goodman's job is spin. Material he puts out influences Kershner's writing.
He calls media reporting strategically important. No matter how lawless
and harmful, it gives Israeli policy legitimacy.
INSS and Goodman are tasked with shaping a positive Israeli image. Kershner's
articles rely heavily on INSS analysis. Times editors conceal her affiliation.
They ignore her consistent bias. She's a walking conflict of interest.
Her articles lack credibility.
The Times own ethical policy says:
"Staff members must be sensitive that direct political activity by their
spouses….may well create conflicts of interest or the appearance of
"If newsroom management considers the problem serious, the staff member
may have to withdraw from certain coverage. Sometimes an assignment
may have to be modified or a beat changed."
Kirshner's family ties automatically should have disqualified her from
reporting on Israel/Palestine. She's more Israeli press agent than correspondent.
In February 2012, Jodi Rudoren became Times Jerusalem bureau chief.
Like Bronner, Steven Erlanger, James Bennet, Deborah Sontag, and others
before her, she's Jewish.
Critics ask why does The Times consistently post Jews in Israel. Ethnic
nationals aren't assigned to other foreign correspondent positions.
Times Ochs and Sulzberger controlling families are Jewish. In 1992,
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. succeeded his father as publisher and board
chairman. Whether or not Jews alone get Jerusalem assignments, expect
pro-Israeli bias to continue. Perhaps it's easier for Jews.
Israeli critics hoped Rudoren's perspective might be fresh and less
biased. Instead, it's same old, same old. In February 2012, Alison Weir
asked "(w)ho is Jodi Rudoren?"
Previously she reported on domestic issues. Most recently, she headed
The Times' education bureau. She speaks what she calls "functional Hebrew"
but no Arabic.
It's unclear "how much time, if any, she spent in Israel, whether she
has family there, or whether she has" relatives in Israel's government
Since 1984, notes Weir, Times Jerusalem bureau chiefs lived in a house
acquired for Thomas Friedman when he held the post. He now serves as
lead foreign policy columnist. He's ethically challenged like other
The home is stolen property. It once belonged to a Palestinian family.
In Israel's War of Independence, they were dispossessed and lost everything.
They and descendants can't return.
Times management, editors, and correspondents express no second thoughts
about living illegally in someone else's home. It's reflected in editorial
Early in her tenure, Rudoren connected with David Ha'ivri. He's an extremist
settler rabbi. He's involved with Jewish Defense League founder Meir
Kahane's Kach group.
Kahanism is known for racist, ultranationalist, terrorist policies.
Israel, America, EU nations and Canada declared Kach a terrorist organization.
Kahanists call Arabs enemies of Jews and Israel.
In February 1994, Kananist Baruch Goldstein massacred 29
Palestinian worshippers. He died violently in the process. Before he
could reload and keep shooting, he was overwhelmed and beaten to death.
He was a Brooklyn born physician turned racist killer.
Weir said Rudoren's upbringing "appears to have included considerable
immersion in Zionist mythology." Her pro-Israeli bias reflects it. Her
children go to Israeli schools. Her contacts are largely Israelis.
Ali Abunimah calls her "another New York Times reporter for whom Palestinians
are just bit players in someone else's drama." In July, Max Blumenthal
tweeted, "In Bronneresque occupation whitewash, Rudoren calls Israel's
demographic separation the 'Israeli security cordon."
Her coverage of two Palestinian administratively detained hunger strikers
was dismissive and contemptuous. She called them "members of Islamic
Jihad, a radical and militant Palestinian faction."
She equated legitimate resistance to terrorism. On August 14, she headlined
"Enlisting from Afar for the Love of Israel." It was a thinly veiled
pro-Israeli puff piece.
It discussed a New York teenager becoming an Israeli citizen and IDF
recruit days after visiting on a summer tour. "The Jewish people don't
need another Jew in suburban New York," he said.
Rudoren's article read like PR urging other American youths to join
him. It included Netanyahu welcoming troops for what he called a battle
against "a new anti-Semitism. You've decided to defend the Jewish future,"
he said. "In previous times, for almost two millennia, the Jews could
not defend themselves."
He omitted explaining that Israel's notion of self-defense involves
decades of crimes of war and against humanity. His Jewish future comes
at the expense of others.
On August 14, The Times featured a Aaaron David Miller op-ed headlined
"Preserving Israel's Uncertain Status Quo." It said too many Palestinians
and Israeli Arabs live in Israel and territory it wants.
"The country's demographics look bad." It's also got too many ultra-Orthodox
Jews and not enough secular ones. Nonetheless, he's sanguine, saying:
"As for the Palestinian issue that threatens to undermine Israel’s future
as a Jewish, democratic state, there too the dangers seem mitigated
by the current situation."
"The Palestinian Authority’s state-building enterprise and the security
cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian services have generated
more than a manageable status quo and all but eliminated terrorism."
In other words, Abbas and PA officials serve as Israel's enforcer. They
have things well in hand. The "Palestinian problem" is "tolerable,"
he adds. Other issues take precedence. They include
"Egypt's future and Iran's centrifuges." The "Palestinian issue" is
"subordinated….to the back burner.
Despite major unresolved issues, he says Israel is "in remarkably good
shape." Fewer Arabs would make it better he believes.
A Final Comment
Last December, Obama addressed the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). He
came to enlist support. He praised the liberal legacy of American Jews.
Outgoing URJ president Rabbi Eric Yoffie introduced him. He prominently
supports ethnic separation. He opposes Palestinian statehood. "I prefer
to live with Jews," he says.
He cares about "humankind," but he loves his "own group" more. Asked
he wants fewer Arabs in Israel, he said "that's exactly what I'm saying."
Israel calls it Judaization. Yoffie added, "I don't apologize for my
view because I don't apologize for Zionism." Obama considers Yoffie
a friend. He's a racist. It rubs off on major media reporters writing
on Israel/Palestine. Fairness and balance are verboten.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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