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New York Times Pro-Israeli Bias

by Stephen Lendman Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 at 3:59 AM


New York Times Pro-Israeli Bias

by Stephen Lendman

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 coverage.

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 conflicts."

"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 or military.

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 Times professionals.

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 policy.

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 lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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 discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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