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Jodi Rudoren Won’t be ‘Schooled’

June 3, 2013 10:17 am 9 comments

New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren.

When billionaire businessman and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson was honored in Jerusalem recently, with Mayor Nir Barkat declaring him an honorary citizen of the holy city, the New York Times bureau chief Jodi Rudoren was one of the reporters in attendance (A Mogul Comes to Lunch, and He Doesn’t Hold His Tongue).

As Rudoren tells it, Adelson “tried to school American reporters on the history of the Middle East” – the emphasis being on “tried,” since Rudoren and her colleagues are apparently much too expert and knowledgeable to be schooled by a mere “conservative casino mogul” who is “close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

As dessert was served, Adelson “held court, offering his characteristically unvarnished views,” and in Rudoren’s characteristically unvarnished view this is when the day’s most ill-founded and impolitic statements were uttered:

As for the Palestinians, Mr. Adelson said, “They teach their children that Jews are descended from swine and apes, pigs and monkeys.” Then he questioned their existence as a distinct ethnic group, saying they were “southern Syrians” or Egyptians until Yasir Arafat, who was leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, “came along with a pitcher of Kool-Aid and gave it to everybody to drink and sold them the idea of Palestinians.”

These ideas, staples of the far right, are deeply offensive to the Palestinians — perhaps partly the point.

Does Rudoren really believe that these claims are mere staples of the far right, and thus, at least in her view, incorrect and without foundation? If so, she does indeed need to be schooled in both current events and Middle East history.

For there is overwhelming evidence that, for example, programs on official Palestinian television routinely term Jews the “sons of apes and pigs” or the like, and it is amazing that Rudoren is either unaware of this or, perhaps even worse, is aware but is unwilling to acknowledge it.

Here, for example (via Palestinian Media Watch) is a children’s program on Palestinian TV that aired just a few months ago on March 13 in which a young girl recites a poem that refers to Jews, among other things, as the sons of pigs:
And this is far from the exception – PMW’s report Case Study: Portraying Jews as “Apes and Pigs” includes the girl’s poem and many other similarly racist and inflammatory references to Jews as the descendants of apes, monkeys, pigs, etc.

As for the second point, regarding the relatively recent origins of Palestinian nationalism, perhaps Ms. Rudoren would be surprised to learn that on this score the famous Arab historian George Antonius is on the same page as Adelson. Indeed, in his seminal book The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab National Movement (1939), Antonius wrote:

Except where otherwise specified, the term Syria will be used to denote the whole of the country of that name, which is now split up into the mandated territories of (French) Syria and the Lebanon, and (British) Palestine and Transjordan.

That is, according to Antonius, the British Palestine of 1939 was formerly part of a larger Syria, and that therefore the Arabs of British Palestine were actually Syrians, or to be more exact geographically, southern Syrians, just as Adelson said.

About a decade later, during the debate at the United Nations over the disposition of the Palestine Mandate, the Arab Higher Committee represented the interests of the Arab community in Palestine. Testifying on May 9, 1947 one of the AHC’s designated representatives, lawyer and historian Henry Kattan, stated:

Palestine was … part of the province of Syria, but this inclusion did not in any way alter or affect the Arab character of Palestine. Politically the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity. (Quoted in British Rule in Palestine, Bernard Joseph, 1948; see also a paraphrase of Kattan’s testimony in Yearbook of the United Nations, 1946-1947)

So it’s not just the famous historian Antonius that backs up Adelson, it’s also the Arab Higher Committee that in 1947 represented the interests of Palestinian Arabs at the United Nations.

Similarly, in 1946 testifying against partition before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, noted Arab-American historian and Princeton University Professor Philip Hitti said:

There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not…[It is but] a very small tiny spot there on the southern part of the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by a vast territory of Arab Muslim lands, beginning with Morocco, continuing through Tunis, Tripoli and Egypt, and going down to Arabia proper, then going up to Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq — one solid Arab-speaking bloc — 50,000,000 people.

(Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed, pp. 39-40 citing Abu Khaldun Sati al-Husri, al-Uruba Awalan (Beirut: Dar al-Ilm li-l-Malain, 1955) pp. 11-13; Hearing before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, Washington D.C., State Department, Jan. 11, 1946, Central Zionist Archives (CZA), V/9960/g, pp. 10-11.)

And it’s not just figures from the 1940’s who hold this position on Palestinian nationalism – in a 1994 interview on Israel’s Channel 2 the Israeli-Arab politician Dr.Azmi Bishara stated:

Well, I don’t think there is a Palestinian nation at all. I think there is an Arab nation, I always thought so and I didn’t change my mind. I don’t think there is a Palestinian nation, I think it’s a Colonial invention Palestinian nation. When were there any Palestinians? Where did it come from? What I think there is an Arab nation, I never turned to be a Palestinian Nationalist, despite of my decisive struggle against the occupation. I think that until the end of the 19th century, Palestine was the South of Great Syria.

Here’s the video:
(Bishara, a vitriolic critic of Israel, served as a member of the Israeli parliament from 1996 until his sudden resignation in 2007, when he fled the country as he was about to be indicted for aiding Hezbollah during fighting the year before, laundering money from Hezbollah, etc.)

The bottom line is that there is quite a lot of support for Adelson’s take on the relatively recent origins of Palestinian nationalism, and, contrary to Rudoren, not from the Jewish “far right” but from Arab intellectuals. (For more examples regarding the origins of Palestinian nationalism click here.)

So when Rudoren refused to be “schooled” by Sheldon Adelson, she was rejecting exactly what she desperately needs. If Rudoren wants to do a better job at covering the Middle East, she should take every opportunity to learn more about the region, even if the teacher happens to be – horrors – a pro-Israel mogul.

Alex Safian is the Associate Director and Research Director at CAMERA. Safian’s articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the San Diego Union Tribune, the Jerusalem Post, and National Review Online, as well as in other newspapers, magazines and academic journals across the United States. Safian has also lectured widely on media coverage of the Middle East as well as related issues. This article was originally published by CAMERA.


  • Herb Grossman

    Here was my letter to the NYTimes:
    In “A Mogul Comes to Lunch, and Doesn’t Hold His Tongue” (Jerusalem Journal, May 29), Jodi Rudoren quotes billionaire philanthropist Sheldon G. Adelson, a great benefactor of Israeli institutions, in public statements that she apparently believes to be damning of his character and intellect, mostly about Palestinians’ attitudes towards the Jews of Israel.

    One was about their teaching children that Jews are descended from swine, apes, pigs and monkeys. Another was about Palestinians’ never saying that they should give up hope of destroying Israel in favor of living in peace. He also scorned John Kerry’s plan to infuse $4 million into the Palestinian economy by asking why he would want to invest money with people who want to kill his people.

    Rather than damning, Adelson’s comments are a breath of fresh air and a dose of honesty about the Arab-Israeli conflict that your readers rarely, if ever, experience — not in the carefully vetted op eds you choose to run and certainly not in your reporting and editorials.

    In your politically correct and intellectually cloistered world, the Palestinian Arabs, who have clearly and continually rejected offers of their own state in peaceful coexistence with a Jewish one, in favor of genocide, since as early as 1937, are treated as freedom fighters, and the Jews, who have sought a non-dominating and peaceful coexistence all that time are treated as occupiers and oppressors.

    For publicly stating the truths that your newspaper chooses to conceal, as impolitic as you may believe it to be, it is not Sheldon Adelson who proves to be the buffoon.

  • Rudoren is patently one of those bleeding heart Jewish liberals without any knowledge of the middle east other than the preconceived ideas she learnt from the affluent comfort of her American home

    With forign Jewish correspondents like her who needs Arab enemies she does the job much better

  • Zuheir Mohsen, a member Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee between 1971 and 1979, made the following statement in a March 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw:

    The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.

    In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.

    For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

  • Anatoly Tsaliovich

    Listening to what this fair lady has to say, one may start wondering if the balyastinian propaganda about the “swine & ape” intellectual origins doesn’t indeed fit at least some of the Jews, namely the Jodi Rudoren kind of Jews. Of course, special praises and kudos are due to The New York Times for assembling a spectacular swine & ape Zoo from different shapes and shades of rudorens.

  • Shalom Sheldon Adelson, I’m in intermittent extreme back pain, waiting for the injection in 30 days to control it. But it does not stop me from asking you for help with this:

    The Beauty of Jewish and Christian Solidarity: We need a miracle to help with project from you.

    The Israel Longhorn project is about Tikun Olam, Repairing the world – a Jewish project to create jobs in Israel, to end poverty around the world by helping Africa. This project will build understanding and partnerships between Israelis and the Jewish and Christian communities in the United States.

    As the world struggles to feed more people, there is something that you can to help bring a vibrant and sustainable cattle industry to arid regions of Israel, the Middle East and Africa. For a small sustaining donation… in any amount… you can help with an historically important project to introduce Texas Longhorn Cattle to desert ranch lands that offers the potential to help sustain the environment and develop a native cattle industry that… over the years… can feed millions.

    In the US, the wealth of our nation was built in part on the introduction of Longhorn Cattle into the arid lands of Texas. With the coming of the railroads, the Texas beef industry helped feed a nation. Now you can help build an important and sustainable food industry for the world’s future generations. For more information, go to:

    Much like planting the seed from an apple… the is planting the seed of food self-reliance and self-sufficiency for people around the world. Please join us in making this vision a faster reality with your sustaining donation. This small step can mean so much to so many people.

    Robin Rosenblatt, M.Sc. (ex Israeli Soldier and past Anti Terrorist Agent).
    Director – The Longhorn Project
    501(c) 3 Nonprofit #74-3177354
    815 Hill St. # 5
    Belmont, CA 94002
    650.631.9270 / 03.722.6108

  • Jodi Rudoron could learn a lot from Mr Adelson

    The NY Times is owned and run by Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.,a self-hating Jew, and an employer of the muslim enabler Rudoron. They
    never miss an opportunity to denigrate, defame or debase the State of Israel.
    A truly pathetic lot.

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      You are correct about the NY Times but incorrect about publisher Sulzberger…he is an Episcopalian Protestant Christian. If you research this you will find this fact out.

  • A question for Alex.
    What did Jodi Rudoren say when this information was brought to her attention?
    Please publish the answer on the CAMERA web site as well as here.

  • robert borns

    she sounds like a ny times reporter. as they say in brooklin she is just another dangerous dumb ass.

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