Is the New York Times Pro-Zionist? Wow, that was a dumb question. Unless you are a student of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, I strongly doubt that you would need a second chance to guess the answer. The New York Times is a flagship of American journalism. It is published in the heart of one of the world’s largest Jewish population-centers outside of Israel, and it has been pointed out that it has had Jewish owners and some of its influential writers over the years have been Jewish. Even with these factors considered, we are left with the follow-up question: “So what?” If this paper is located in a world Jewish center and has Jewish owners and writers, does that make it a Jewish paper? Is the Jewish Press redundant to the New York Times? Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it?
Last week, the New York Times announced that they are commissioning a new Jerusalem Bureau Chief to replace Ethan Bronner, who has completed his four-year assignment in Israel. Ethan, like his replacement, is an American Jew. Throughout his time here, both Jews and Arabs have criticized his reporting for being more sympathetic to “the other side”. I myself have had issues with his portrayal of events here, and have even engaged him about the way in which he and foreign journalists generally report on issues in Judea and Samaria – with a pre-conceived bias not complimentary to the Jewish residents and our rights here. Although my interests are clear, I guess that the fact that both Arabs and Jews equally feel that he is not reporting as they would like is a sign that he has succeeded relatively well in holding on to neutral ground.
Guilt By Association?
Bronner came under heavy attack from anti-Israel propagandists a few years ago when his son enlisted in the IDF. They claimed that he could no longer present an even-handed report on the conflict when his own child was wearing the uniform of one side. I didn’t think that concern was well-founded then, and I remain convinced that following that thread to its logical conclusion would bring it to the ludicrous point where anyone with close relative involved in any type of activity is unfit to write about anything connected to that activity.
The New York Times’ newly-appointed Bureau Chief Judi Rodoren came under fire this week from pro-Israel bloggers who noticed that she sent a friendly tweet to a very obnoxious anti-Israel propagandist based in Chicago. Rodoren, also an American Jew, was put to the test on her questionable relationship with a hater of Israel. “Is she a Zionist?” was one question asked. Her response was that the only “ist” she would call herself is “journalist.” Well, that is really what is expected of her. She is not coming to Israel as a representative of American Jewry (whose support for their President Obama calls into question their support for Israel even more than Rodoren’s tweet with the Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah).
I would be glad to see American Jews in general be more supportive of Israel – but in regard to foreign journalists, Jewish or otherwise, I wish to see objective reporting. Tell the story like it is and let the readers decide for themselves. Don’t make us Jewish-Israeli-Zionists out to be monsters, and don’t make the Islamic Jihadi terrorists out to be peaceful human rights activists. There is a real story going on here in this beautiful and tiny country. It might very well be the most interesting story in the world. Journalists stationed here should open their eyes and report what they see without ugly accent colors painted by hate-mongers tweet blasting from Chicago or elsewhere.