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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Book Reviews Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    It is cocktail hour on an April afternoon in 2004. The sun is hot on Amsterdam’s canals, and I am sitting at Café den Leeuw on the Herengracht with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is still a member of the Dutch Parliament, and we talk about Islam. Specifically, we talk about the concept of “moderate Islam,” or what she calls “liberal Islam.” And she has one word for it. “It’s absurd,” she says. “It’s complete nonsense. There is no ‘liberal […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    JNS.org – A fairytale ending to Jewish basketball coach David Blatt’s first season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was not meant to be, as the Blatt-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night dropped Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, 105-97, to lose the best-of-seven series 4-2. Blatt, who just last year coached Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv franchise to a European basketball championship, failed to finish a second straight hoops season on top. But after the Cavaliers began the NBA […]

    Read more →