You won’t have Ethan Bronner to kick around anymore . . .

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Per the NYTimes World twitter account, Ethan Bronner is being re-assigned to cover national legal affairs from New York. The new bureau chief in Jerusalem will be Jodi Rudoren, who is currently the Times education editor, and was formerly a deputy metropolitan editor for regional news. Rudoren will take up the new post in late April.

Politico has picked up the story and quotes from the internal Times memo announcing the move:

“For those of us who worked with him as deputy foreign editor, it came as no surprise that Ethan Bronner could navigate the Scylla and Charybdis of foreign stories, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as smoothly as he has,” foreign editor Joe Kahn and national editor Sam Sifton wrote in an internal memo, forwarded by a staffer. “Ethan’s deep familiarity with Israel, his unerring sense of fairness, and his nose for what is really new in an exhaustively charted territory distinguished his work.”

I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with Rudoren’s name at all. Here is older bio of her on the New School website from a journalism class she taught there:

Jodi is a Deputy Metropolitan Editor at the New York Times, where she has worked for 10 years. As a reporter for both The Times and the Los Angeles Times, Jodi has covered immigration, education, City Hall, the Columbine killings, the Amadou Diallo shooting, the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, and the 2004 presidential campaign; for five years, she was The Times’ Chicago bureau chief. Jodi lives in ProspectHeights, Brooklyn, with her husband, Gary, a comedy writer and architect, and their 2-year-old twins.

And here is an interesting Q & A between Rudoren and Times readers from 2007. Basically she says if you have a problem with the Times’s coverage of Israel/Palestine, it’s your problem, not theirs:

Q. How do you respond to critics from both ends of the political spectrum that claim The New York Times is either part of the so-called “liberal media,” or the outlet for corporate-filtered right-wing propoganda?

— Joe T.

A. Well asked, Joe. As your question implies, people with deeply entrenched political biases are generally the ones accusing The Times of being biased. The folks who cover the Middle East get criticism for being hopelessly pro-Israel and shamelessly co-opted by the Palestinians. I wish I still had the e-mails from readers during the campaign who would interpret the very same words about Howard Dean or John Kerry in exactly opposite ways.

One thing I’ve often urged such critics to do is to think about The Times’s coverage of an issue that they are not involved in or that they know little about. Our hallmark is detachment, and to people who are highly invested in a subject, detachment itself can seem like bias. If you’re a passionate advocate for (or critic of) bilingual education or violence prevention or Mitt Romney for president you are, not, frankly, in the best position to evaluate our coverage of those topics. We’re not really writing for you — the insider, the actor, the stakeholder — but for the mainstream mass of people who are smart and curious but uninformed or inexpert on the particulars.

And one thing I’ve tried to remind colleagues is that while we need to take very seriously the very loud criticism we sometimes see on blogs or in our in-baskets from these impassioned stakeholders, they are a pretty tiny fraction of The Times audience, the vast majority of which consumes the news, happily and engagedly, and maybe talks about it with a friend later in the day but otherwise pretty much forgets about it until the next morning, never thinking of calling or writing to comment or complain.

Over Twitter, Ali Abunimah has pointed to two articles she wrote in 2001 and 2002 — “Jewish Collegians Prepare to Defend Israel on the Campuses” and “American Jews; Unusually Unified in Solidarity With Israel, but Also Unusually Unnerved.” Both seem like cookie-cutter Times pieces, Abunimah remarked:

Mondo commenter munro points to this possibly auspicious tweet from Rudoren about the recent film Five Broken Cameras about Bilin:

Here is an interesting piece from this past December where she discusses her Jewishness, American identity and her kids. Turns out she is a member of Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which we’ve written about a bunch on the site. From her article “Class Parent: Mama, What Is Our Culture?”:

“Mama, what is our culture?” my son Lev, who is 4, asked the other morning while we were getting ready for work and school.

“Jewish, sweetie,” I responded without thinking.

“You have to write it on the back of our culture flags,” Lev said.

“Sure,” I told him, having no idea what a culture flag was or was for, but happy to oblige. “I’ll do it when we get to school.”

When we got to school — Public School 11 in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, where I am the class parent — it turned out that we were actually supposed to have decorated the culture flags, which the teachers had cut out of thick white paper and sent home with Lev and his twin sister, Shayna, the day before.

Because of baby sitter/husband communication bobbles, our undecorated flags were apparently sitting on the kitchen table rather than ready for posting outside the prekindergarten classroom. No problem, the teachers said, bring them Monday.

But I did have a problem: What is our culture, and how could we possibly depict it on a flag?

The culture flags were a great idea, bringing together December’s two curriculum themes of transportation and “cultures around the world.” The children had been talking for a few days about how they were “going on a cruise,” and we had already filled out faux passports.

On Friday, the teachers had planned to screen an Elmo movie about a world cruise, and that morning we arrived to see a cool ship on the bulletin board outside the classroom, just waiting to be surrounded by an array of diverse culture flags.

In a majority-minority school like P.S. 11, where 10 percent of the students are white like my children, sharing and studying roots is important and interesting both. There is a boy in our class whose dad is Austrian and mom Japanese — his flag looked awesome.

Before Thanksgiving, there had been a multicultural potluck, with chicken tikka masala, Irish soda bread, Korean sushi and be bim bop, potato latkes, chicken wings, coconut chicken, beef patties mac ’n’ cheese, and kabak goregi filled with spinach. But what did my little towheaded twins have to add?

We could, of course, make American flags — we are, after all, American. (Then again, so is everyone else.) One classmate had done a classic pre-K American flag, from the abstract-scribble school, and another had done one with silver-star stickers, the kind you use on behavior charts.

Maybe we should make an American flag with six-pointed stars, signifying Jewish-American. Or would that feel like defacing the flag? Did I want them primarily identified as Jews? (I know, I already sent them to public school with Hebrew and Yiddish first names.)

What about the Brooklyn flag — is there a Brooklyn flag? Lev loves rainbows: if we did a rainbow flag, would everyone assume he has two mamas (and would those who have met my bald, goateed husband be very confused)? Maybe we should just leave the flags white, since that’s how I was feeling: white; bland; boring.

Over the weekend, Lev was playing with blue paints, making what he described as a pool, and we decided to do the same for his flag. Shayna messed around with some reds and browns on hers. So for now, our culture is, um, free artistic exploration for 4-year-olds.

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