Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

The New York Times Postscript: Rudoren and Friedman

August 6, 2014 9:05 pm 13 comments

CAMERA billboard compares The New York Times to terror group Hamas.

The Gaza ceasefire is prompting an array of assessments, in Israel and worldwide, of the costs and potential benefits to Hamas and the Jewish state from their month of bitter conflict. A quick glance at the morning-after New York Times (August 6), featuring reports by present and past Jerusalem bureau chiefs, provides an illuminating glimpse of its unrelenting message of moral equivalency.

During the month-long conflict Jodi Rudoren focused on the toll exacted from Palestinian civilians by Israeli retaliation for the Hamas rocket assault and tunnel invasion. She all but dismissed Hamas’s strategy of using Gazans as civilian shields, writing (with Anne Barnard): “Nothing is ever so clear in the complex and often brutal calculus of urban warfare.” Insisting that it was “somewhat dangerous” for Netanyahu to emphasize demilitarization of Hamas as the Israeli objective, she glibly described her underground tunnel “tour” as “part of the propaganda push” conducted by the IDF.

In her morning-after “Memo From Jerusalem,” Rudoren concluded that “open discourse and dissent appear to be among the casualties of the month long war in Gaza” – at least “according to stalwarts of . . . the Zionist left” with whom Rudoren is clearly aligned. Even Facebook users were defriended (gasp!) for posting photos of death and devastation in Gaza. Audience members at the Jerusalem Cinematheque were berated for standing for a moment of silence in memory of four Palestinian boys killed on a Gaza beach – but not for the scores of Israeli soldiers killed protecting their country from Hamas invasion.

Rudoren’s primary source of lamentation was Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, founder of the ultra-liberal Reform congregation Kol Haneshema. There, she noted (acknowledging her occasional attendance), the traditional Jewish prayer for peace had been modified to include a line from a Muslim prayer. In a statement of moral equivalence confirming Rudoren’s approach to the conflict, Rabbi Weiman-Kelman bemoaned the absence of “a nuanced position that recognizes the suffering on both sides.” But there is hardly nuance in the unrelenting war  that Hamas has waged ever since Israel departed from Gaza nearly a decade ago.

Lamenting the “war casualties” of “open discourse and dissent” in war-torn Israel, Rudoren nonetheless managed to cite examples of their survival: an anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv; a Haaretz editorial warning against Israeli “McCarthyism”; the claim by leftist Naomi Chazan in that newspaper that “intolerance runs rampant”; and a Tel Aviv protester who freely asserted that Israeli media covered soldiers’ funerals but rarely showed videos from Gaza. That omission offset the daily deluge of Gaza civilian photos in The New York Times, which did not cover the funeral of Sgt. Max Steinberg, the “lone soldier” from the United States who was killed in battle.

A belated entry from Thomas Friedman, elsewhere during most of the Gaza war, appeared the same day. His focus on the decline and inevitable fall of immoral Israel dates back to his coverage of the first Lebanon war in 1982. Then, “boiling with anger” and determined to “nail Begin and Sharon,” he “buried” the Israeli commanding officer on page one and “along with him every illusion I ever held about the Jewish state.” As Jerusalem bureau chief between 1984-88, Friedman proudly claimed (erroneously) that he broke the “old unwritten rule” at The Times never permitting a Jew to report from Jerusalem. (He overlooked Joseph Levy, who was posted there between 1928-35 and provided criticism of Zionism no less incessant than Friedman’s.) One of Friedman’s valued Jerusalem mentors was liberal Orthodox Rabbi David Hartman who, like Rudoren’s Rabbi Weiman-Kelman, believed that “something had gone terribly wrong” in the Jewish state.

Friedman still reiterates his familiar litany of complaints about Israel. It was “not deterred by the prospect of substantial collateral civilian casualties” (because Hamas protected its leaders and rockets with civilian shields). Hamas scored “a huge victory” because it focused attention (really?) on Israel’s “reckless Jewish settlement project,”  which constitutes “colonial occupation.” To stabilize Gaza, Friedman hallucinates, Israel must make “territorial concessions in the West Bank,” relinquishing the biblical homeland of the Jewish people. The Gaza tunnels, he said, inspired “awe” over the “craftsmanship” and “sheer dedication” required to build them. He barely noted the “apocalyptic jihadist agenda” that inspired them. In Gaza and Israel alike, according to his vision of moral equivalency, “the religious-nationalist forces have the real energy.”

From Friedman (indeed from Joseph Levy) to Rudoren and back, the more its Jerusalem reporters change the more things stay the same at The New York Times.

13 Comments

  • Israel has allready been condemned by mr. Ban kimun!!!(however you write it)totally ignoring the facts that even foreign journalists mentioned, and also the pictures taken by israelis sgave proff of the real war crimes casme from the hamass.
    It is impossible that the people working in these UN buildings ignored the presence of hamass fighters. how come there has never been any reaction to this fact?
    every honnest person would at least ask for an investigation of BOTH SIDES OF THE CONFLICT

  • What needs to be done to put the NYTimes out of business?
    Maybe we could get Adelson to buy it and then shut it down.
    A more trashy, lying, biased news source would be hard to find in all the USA.

  • WHY IS AN ISRAEL WAR DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER WARS’ NAME ONE OTHER COUNTRY THAT TELEPHONES/CELL/DROPS LEAFLETS 2 WARN CIVILIANS 2 EVACUATE FUTURE BATTLE ZONES WHY ISRAEL DOES NOT PUBLICALY PURSUE WAR CRIME CHARGES AGAINST HAMAS EVERY ROCKET SENT 2 KILL ISRAELIAN POPULATION IS A WAR CRIME IN WAR EVERY NATION ENDS UP KILLING CIVILANS GERMANY/RUSSIA/BRITTEN/US IN W.W.2 KILLED MILLIONS EVERY LIFE IS EQUAL BUT SOME R MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS RIGHT?

  • The so-called “Paper of Record” can only be deplored for its obvious hatred of Israel and its support for terrorists. Its Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Jodi Rudoren violates every ethical standard of objective journalism. She may be influenced by her “progressive” rabbi, in the Park Slope Jewish Center, in Brooklyn. That “rabbi” is a longtime Israel-basher. As for Friedman, his self-righteous Israel-bashing is very well known.

    • My theory about why NY Times is generally anti-Israel is this that the Sulzbergers bend backwards trying to appear neutral about Israel so that nobody can complain that Jews run the Times. In fact, the Times’ founding families of Adolph Ochss and the Sulzberger’s were Jewish. They converted to Episcopalian, but they are sensitive about it. And therefore hire anti-Israel Jews like Thomas Friedman to reflect their ambiance about Israel.

      • They were Sulzberger but some changed to Ochs in WW1 so they wouldn’t sound too German. Now they don’t want to sound too Jewish. Maybe they should try for Smith.

  • Two of Der Sturmer’s best.

  • Stella schindler

    Your analysis was anything but. Repeating the biases of Rudoren and Friedman simply gave them another forum. So, keep it simple. They both should be shunned — that would be moral equivalence. Let us boycott the nyt and divest ourselves of these pimps. Now that is a bds movement I could support!

    • Liliane Abergel

      Stella, I have boycotted that “rag” a long time ago as well as others who dish out trash not news. Since I speak several languages, it’s not hard to get more ” balanced”
      news.

    • Agreeing with Stella Schindler. Who needs to hear this vomit regurgitated here.

    • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

      I fully support you suggestion .

  • good old tom friedman the foreign service officer wannabe he told us that if Israel took the high road and surrendered South Lebanon and betrayed the Lebanese allies the world would welcome Israel and hizbouleh would lose its raison d’etre He told us that if Israel abandoned the gaza hamas would lose its raison d’etre and we would have peace in the south.

  • We are in a World wide Islamic Cultural War or 1400-year-old Jihad.
    We each see a different parts of it in the world and if you put all the violent parts together it adds up to only one cause: a 1400 year old Islamic Cultural War. It is the same as that joke of four blind men touching the elephant.

    ҬThe names of the Arabs and Muslim Terrorists change but the behavior has been always the same for the last 1400 years.

    It is not about land, rights or settlements, water or being politically left or right. If it were it would have been solved long ago. It has not.

    It is Cultural War that means Islamic Culture must destroy Western Culture or Western Culture must destroy Islamic Culture. It is a Genocidal War.

    Muslims have been fighting each other and others for 1400 years or more. There is no reason that it will stop now. If we want peace we must change Islamic Culture.

    The book “Culture and Conflict”, explains it clearly. It shows that current cultural conditions in the Arab Middle East will not support internal development, advancement or peace until there is a major cultural change.

    “It is critical that we understand our enemy. That is step one in every conflict,” RR. Philip Carl Salzman, INSB # 978-1-59102-587-0.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Says Playing Muslim Character in ‘Tyrant’ Has Made Her More ‘Hopeful, Humble’

    Israeli Actress Says Playing Muslim Character in ‘Tyrant’ Has Made Her More ‘Hopeful, Humble’

    Israeli actress Moran Atias said that playing a Muslim woman in the hit FX series Tyrant has changed her outlook. “Educating myself about a different culture has made me more hopeful and humble, that we’re all the same,” the Jewish actress, 35, said during an interview with AOL Build. Atias plays Leila Al-Fayeed, the strong and politically minded wife of the president of Abbudin, a fictional Middle Eastern country run by a dictatorial family. The Israeli-born former model, who earned the title of Miss Globe International […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Jewish Fashionistas From Around the World to Tour ‘Chic Side of Israel’

    Jewish Fashionistas From Around the World to Tour ‘Chic Side of Israel’

    A delegation of 35 Jewish fashion industry mavens from around the world will travel to Israel later this month to “discover the chic side” of the country, 5 Town Jewish Times reported. The eight-day tour, organized by the Maryland-based Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) and the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, will include visits to key fashion sites and meetings with some of the country’s top fashion designers, merchandisers and marketers. Participants will also attend a JWRP Fashion Week event in Tel Aviv. JWRP said the trip is […]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors Honored to Represent Israel at 2016 Olympic Games

    Granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors Honored to Represent Israel at 2016 Olympic Games

    Pro golfer Laetitia Beck said she is honored to have been selected to represent Israel at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil largely because of her grandparents, who survived the Holocaust. “Everywhere I go, I want people to know where I’m from, my background and where my family came from because of the struggle they had to go through,” she told the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). “Every week when I play and I see the Israeli flag, it brings me a lot […]

    Read more →