Photo Credit: Lori Lowenthal Marcus
NYT Jerusalem correspondent Jodi Rudoren wrote that the US believes the "settlements" are illegal. That has never been the US position. The NYT had to issue a correction.

The New York Times recognized that its correspondent in Jerusalem, Jodi Rudoren, had gone too far this time in blithely vilifying Jews who live and breathe beyond the so-called Green Line.

Rudoren ascribed a position to the United States government about Israeli policy which was flat out wrong. That was the only part of the otherwise slanted and deceptive article which merited a slap on the wrist.  Rudoren wrote that the position of the U.S. is that Israeli towns and cities beyond the Green Line are illegal, when in fact this government has taken no position on the legality of Israeli Jewish towns in that region.  The actual correction appears at the end of this article.

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Before we get to the begrudging but still humiliating factual correction, take a stroll through the rest of her article.

In this article headlined, “Israeli Decree on West Bank Settlements Will Harm Peace Talks, Palestinians Say,” Rudoren not only originally falsely stated that the United States believes the “settlements” are illegal.  Her language throughout the piece makes clear her hostility to Jews daring to live beyond what the esteemed Israeli statesman Abba Eban had termed the “Auschwitz borders,” the lines drawn in 1949 at the end of the war against the newly-reborn Israel, when surrounding Arab states attacked it rather than permit a Jewish State in their midst.

For one thing, she described the early stage approval of subsidies to homeowners in various places including in “Jewish settlements in the West Bank territory that Israel seized in the 1967 war.”  You’d never know that in 1967 Israel (again) fought a defensive war and gained the land in a battle for its existence.  The verb Rudoren chose, “seized,” suggests an aggressive action by the belligerent in military hostilities.

Given that the New York Times is treated like Torah from Sinai by most American Jews, no wonder they and the organizations those Jews tend to support believe that Israel should give away that territory to people who never possessed it,  and never – until Israel legally acquired the land – expressed any interest in owning or governing it themselves.

And it was not until the sixth paragraph of a 10 paragraph story that Israel is even permitted a voice to counter what Rudoren already set up as a move by the Israeli government to expand “settlements” which upset the Arab Palestinians and may now torpedo the “fragile peace talks.”

In the sixth paragraph the reader – if he is still reading – learns that all that happened is the Israeli government has made a completely routine and preliminary decision to provide assistance to homeowners in authorized towns and villages for things like “education, housing, infrastructure projects, cultural programs and sports, along with better mortgage rates and loans for new homeowners.”  Isn’t that what governments are supposed to do?  Take care of their citizens?

Rudoren distances her readers from identifying with Israelis who might otherwise be considered normal homeowners. She points out that, “Among the newcomers to the list are three formerly illegal outposts — Bruchin, Rachelim and Sansana — that obtained government recognition last year.”  Rudoren chose not to more concisely and correctly refer to those three towns as “legal and legitimate villages.”

But before Israel was permitted to offer a different point of view, Rudoren first ran condemnations of the move by the infamous Hanan Ashrawi, whose latest evidence of Jew and Israel hatred was the promotion on the website of an NGO she founded which claimed that Jews drink Christian blood on Passover.

In the space of three sentences, Rudoren paints a clear picture with Ashrawi’s words.  Ashrawi describes Israel’s move as a “confidence-destruction measure,” “attempts to grab more Palestinian land,” “provide settlers with preferential treatment” and the announcement that “the decision would have ‘a destructive impact'” on the current Israeli-Arab Palestinian talks.

Of course, Mark Regev was given a cameo appearance in the sixth paragraph.  But not to worry, because in the concluding three paragraphs of the article there is plenty to ensure that the lasting impression is one of an intransigent Israeli government filled with “many right-wing settlement supporters” which “refused to formally freeze settlement construction” in order to induce the oh-so-compliant, peace-supporting Arab Palestinians to even sit at the table with the Israelis.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

9 COMMENTS

  1. Oh, and the NYTimes could have added this:

    In 1997, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright already stated the Jewish communities are legal in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s "The Today Show" on October 1, 1997, and asked in relation to building in Yesha and said: “I wasn't happy…I felt that going forward with those kinds of buildings was not helpful. Mr. Lauer pressed her and stated: “ It's legal. “, and Albright admitted: “It's legal.”.

    http://myrightword.blogspot.co.il/2011/12/perry-settlements-legal.html

  2. We've done a perfectly lousy job explaining that no, international law does NOT forbid the return of the Jews to the Jewish Holy Land. The truth is that the truth is not crystal clear, you have to read the Geneva Convention – which the State of Israel legally affirmed – with carefully, but a careful reading with some historical context definitely shows that the legal opinion of the vast majority of, e.g., Europe, that Jews living in Judea are outlaws, is bunk.

  3. Rudoren showed an insensitivity to the victims of stone-throwing that is immoral. She showed a sympathy for those who do violence and an emotional identification with them.
    As a supposedly objective reporter she has not done her job.

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