NYT’s Rudoren: Gaza funeral ‘didn’t feel incredibly human to me’

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 69 Comments

Earlier today we published two responses from the New York Times‘s Jodi Rudoren to Phil Weiss’s piece on her comments regarding Palestinian culture. I found her second response to be impressive and self-critical, we could have only hoped for such a response from Ethan Bronner. It points to the accountability role social media can play, and I think it’s admirable how Rudoren explained herself and faced her critics.

I certainly understand how things can be written, and misconstrued, in the heat of the moment in realtime publishing, and everyone is allowed some confused words from time to time. But the issue here wasn’t a slip of the tongue. Rudoren had already expressed similar ideas to those she shared over Facebook, and they were much more troubling.

The story begins with Rudoren’s November 19th New York Times article “Hoisting Dead Children, Gazans Mourn Family Killed by Israeli Strike.” The article covers the funeral for the al Dalu family which lost 12 members to an Israeli missile strike. This was the same story that Rudoren was evidently referring to in her Facebook comments. She writes in the Times:

There were few if any visible tears at the intense, chaotic, lengthy funeral on Monday of Jamal and seven relatives, among 12 people killed the day before in the single deadliest attack since the latest hostilities between Israel and the Gaza Strip began Wednesday after months of Palestinian militant rocket fire into Israel. Instead, there were fingers jabbing the air to signal “Allah is the only one,” defiant chants about resistance and calls for revenge, flags in the signature green of Hamas and the white of its Al Qassam Brigades.

At the destroyed Dalu family home, a man climbed atop the pile of rubble where a dozen photographers had positioned themselves and hoisted the body of one of the four dead children into the air several times, as though a totem. At the mosque, the eulogy was disrupted by the sound of missiles launched toward Israel from nearby. And at the cemetery, a Qassam commander addressed himself not to the mourners but to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, warning, “We still have so much in our pockets, and we will show you if we have to.”

Much of the militant pageantry most likely was meant as a message for the news media, and thus the world, given how the Dalus had instantly become the face of the Palestinian cause. But the tone, far more fundamentalist than funereal, was also a potent sign of the culture of martyrdom that pervades this place, and the numbness that many here have developed to death and destruction after years of cross-border conflict.

Later on Monday, Rudoren was interviewed by Warren Olney on KCRW’s To the Point. His first question dealt with this report and specifically Rudoren’s description of the funeral as “far more fundamentalist than funereal.”

Here is Rudoren’s answer:

When I heard about this loss for this family, I’ve been to lots of funerals in lots of places and I expected a gut wrenching, emotional kind of experience. And what I was found was, just as I said, really intense, but not very focused on the people, really much more focused on the kind of national struggle, resistance and the issue of martyrdom. And also there were just a lot of rituals that I found surprising, maybe the most, the funeral procession goes from the morgue to the home then to the mosque and then to the cemetery, so at the home, which of course has been totally destroyed, this man took one of the dead children, there are four dead children, and climbed up on this rubble pile and lifted, hoisted, the child into the air several times, the whole time he was wrapped in a shroud, a flag, and there was another child being hoisted whose head was not covered. And so it was just surprising to me to see that, so graphic, and maybe they were holding up the children so the world would see children have been slaughtered in the conflict, but it didn’t feel incredibly human to me.

The fact that Rudoren didn’t find the funeral procession “incredibly human” certainly factored into her reporting where Palestinians are represented as indifferent to death. Rudoren’s perception also raises questions about her role as a reporter covering the conflict. People look to the New York Times for explanation and context, to help understand a world and conflicts they will most likely never experience firsthand. In both her written news report and in this interview Rudoren comes off as tourist. Her reflex to dehumanize people whose lives and practices are unfamiliar to her reflects her limited experience and knowledge of the region, and results in her failure to fulfill what should be her primary purpose — to illuminate a human tragedy at the center of an important news story.

Olney asked if in Rudoren’s experience this seemingly impersonal funeral represented a change in Palestinian society, and to her credit Rudoren was up front about her limited background on the issue:

I don’t want to overstate my own experience because it’s the first mass funeral I’ve been to during wartime in Gaza so I don’t have that much to compare to but I talked to people who’ve been to lots more and they said they’ve never seen the bodies of children hoisted like that.

Yet, having conceded that, she proceeded to make broad generalizations about Islam and Palestinians:

I found talking to people both at the funeral and throughout the last six days that the level of tolerance here for death and destruction is quite high. They’ve been through this before. They all know people who’ve been killed. Also, there is a very powerful culture of martyrdom in Islam in general and here in particular. So many people talk about aspiring to martyrdom in what they see as their national struggle against Israel. And then thirdly, life here is rather grim and in some ways, and it’s just very hard to understand this or say it, but in some ways people don’t feel like they have that much to lose.

Here, Rudoren slips from tourist to intrepid orientalist. “There is a very powerful culture of martyrdom in Islam in general and [in Gaza] in particular.” She adopts this well worn “clash of civilizations” shorthand and stops just short at calling Islam and Palestinian culture a “death cult.” While this may also be the result of her limited experience in the region, and lack of familiarity with the diversity of the Palestinian or Muslim experience, this reveals a much deeper-seated bias which puts the credibility of any future reporting from the region in serious jeopardy.

69 Responses

  1. anonymouscomments
    November 21, 2012, 4:20 pm

    their learned helplessness, and the death and brutality they see in gaza, clearly does develop a level of desensitization… as a reaction, and form of selfdefense. i think many of us, wherever in the world, even get somewhat desensitized to bodies in the I/P “conflict”, due to the regularity of civilian deaths, in gaza and the west bank…. and even in israel proper at times.

    i can see her making this observation, but if she does, she needs to take a full accounting of the context….. *israeli* use of force, often amazingly disproportionate and often taking only civilian lives, is the context. if anything, the “normalization” of death speaks more to the massive amount of death and desperation israel has precipitated not some islamic or gazan “indifference”.

    and the “didn’t feel incredibly human” phrase is not only odd, but inexcusable… given both nazi propaganda, current israeli dehumanization, and the general thrust of such a statement…. it is really a comment that “didn’t feel incredibly human to me”.

    • Shlomo
      November 22, 2012, 3:22 am

      I bet she thinks battered women who stay with “their men” love to get beaten, too.

      And that the “Stockholm Syndrome” is a porn video.

      She also probably thinks the Chinese love death, too, since they wear white to funerals…you know, like we do to weddings.

      That the NYT sends an unsophisticated and biased-against-Arabs “reporter” to Gaza is to be expected. They want everything viewed through Western eyes. They don’t get that showing the bottom of one’s foot is an insult in Arab culture, and call everyone “dude.”

      So much for respecting others’ values and ways of living. She’s the type of lame brain, culturally clueless marketer that tried to sell the Chevy Nova in South America… where “no va” means “doesn’t go.”

      Ijit!

  2. Cliff
    November 21, 2012, 4:21 pm

    The most revealing bit about this whole Facebook-Twitter-Rudoren issue is that she doesn’t use the term ‘martyrdom’ in her backtrack.

    She instead says Palestinians are ‘stoic’. Her armchair comments about Islam are akin to people in our own comments section making pseudo-intellectual arguments about the connection between Judaism and Zionism without really knowing anything about the former.

    Instead, relying on the religiousity of prominent Zionists as well as their (the commentator’s) general instincts about the zeitgeist of Jewish this and that.

    She is so arrogant and in love with her status that her first reaction was to belittle Phil because he isn’t a corporate hack.

    That shallowness pervades the rest of her claptrap.

  3. Avi_G.
    November 21, 2012, 4:26 pm

    What a mess!

    And she’s the bureau CHIEF?

    Wow.

    This is going to make many people long for the days when Bronner used to transcribe Israeli officials.

    This entire episode only goes to show how networking works within certain cliques. In this case, it’s the Jewish Zionist clique. You don’t have to be qualified, you just have to be a good Zionist, bumbling optional.

  4. seafoid
    November 21, 2012, 4:33 pm

    “but in some ways people don’t feel like they have that much to lose.”

    I wonder how many Jews genuinely understand what Palestine means to Palestinians. What an insult it is to say “You have 22 other countries to choose from”. How a refugee camp like Shati in Gaza or Balata in Nablus and a precarious stake in ahla Falastin is preferable to a flash job and a life that ends in a graveyard somewhere in Palestinian Galut.

    Most of the people of the world live “limited lives” under our economic system. But that doesn’t mean they live lesser lives than we do.

    I wish Lenny Bruce was the Jew that Israel followed, rather than Jabotinsky.
    Lenny said “There is only what is and that’s it. What should be is a dirty lie.”

  5. bilal a
    November 21, 2012, 4:41 pm

    You would think the NYT reporter would know something about Islamic funeral etiquette.

    It is disliked to wail , cry,lament at funerals as the deceased will be unhappy with it, and it is the manner of the time before Islam, Jahilliyah:

    Al-Bukhaari (1291) and Muslim (933) narrated that al-Mugheerah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Whoever is lamented will be tormented because of that lamentation (or wailing).”
    link to islamqa.info

    • seafoid
      November 21, 2012, 5:02 pm

      Haram khaalis ya’ni

    • thankgodimatheist
      November 21, 2012, 7:39 pm

      Bilal nails it.

    • gamal
      November 21, 2012, 9:36 pm

      The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Whom do you reckon to be a martyr amongst you?”

      The Companions replied: “The one who is killed in Allah’s way.”

      He (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “In that case, the martyrs among my people would be few.”

      The Companions asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Then who are the martyrs?”

      He (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “Those who are killed in the way of Allah are martyrs; those who die naturally in the Cause of Allah are martyrs; those who die of plague are martyrs; and those who die of a gastric disease are martyrs; and those who are drowned are martyrs.”

      [Muslim]

  6. James North
    November 21, 2012, 4:44 pm

    A lesser, but still significant point. Rudoren’s article about the al Dalu funeral leaves “Allah” untranslated, instead of changing the Arabic to “God.” (In fact, “Allah” literally means “the God.”) Using “Allah” is a long-standing element of Orientalist writing about the Middle East. If journalists who covered France or Spanish America used “Dieu” or “Dios” all the time, we might start to get the idea that people there are exotic, maybe not quite human in the way we are. If Jewish Israelis talk about God to Rudoren, will she leave it in the Hebrew?

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      November 21, 2012, 5:18 pm

      Very good point.

      Another term misused by lazy Western journalists is ‘martyr’, which is used in a way to imply that dying in war is some sort of Islamic mission which is deliberately sought out. In fact, the term ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ is used for anyone who dies in a violent way. Christian Arabs use the term too.

    • Avi_G.
      November 21, 2012, 6:47 pm

      Hebrew: Elohim Gadol

      Or as they say in SCARY Ay-rabic Allahu Akbar.

      • James North
        November 21, 2012, 9:30 pm

        Avi: So, to be consistent, Jodi Rudoren should write “Netanyahu said, ‘Elohim gave Moses this land thousands of years ago.'” How long would she get away with that?

  7. tear-stained uzi
    November 21, 2012, 4:46 pm

    Her lack of introspection throughout this incident has been stunning. Most discouraging to me is that she seems clearly better than Bronner, yet is still so far from being a neutral observer that it almost doesn’t matter.

    Her responses to Phil’s critique have been angry and defensive, and demonstrate a stubborn refusal to reflect honestly on her own prejudices. Unbelievable that the Times, the opinion-shaping “paper of record” which ought to be playing a central role in carrying the Palestinian story to westerners, can’t do better. It’s pitiful, and the Palestinians pay a heavy price when they are portrayed to the world in such a chauvinistic, distorted way.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 21, 2012, 5:05 pm

      demonstrate a stubborn refusal to reflect honestly on her own prejudices

      give her time. all this has probably caught her off balance.

      • MRW
        November 22, 2012, 3:57 am

        give her time. all this has probably caught her off balance.

        Doubt this is going to happen, annie. David Binder wrote some of the best foreign correspondent journalism (NYT) from Berlin, the Soviet bloc countries, and Yugoslavia before and after Tito died in 1980. He made those places come alive. Although he wrote from the perspective of an American in that region, he had trusted contacts there who knew he would give them a fair deal reporting how they perceived facts on the ground; he wasn’t shy about busting American prejudices or ignorance. [He wrote about the Berlin Wall going up in the 60s and coming down in 1989, or whenever it was.] But Binder wrote for American interests, national interests. He didn’t write for a narrow clique that lived on the Upper Eastside nursing anti-communist animus who revived themselves with Lewis Lapham at Elaine’s, or with a late-night pizza in the back on the checkered tables.

        Rudoren is writing for Tel Aviv. Big difference. And the NYT carves out that exception for her.

    • valency
      November 21, 2012, 6:07 pm

      It’s an indicator of significant progress that she feels she /has/ to respond to Weiss’s critique. Not long ago the paper of record would simply print the piece and then maybe print a critical letter from Weiss with its most important points edited out. The internet has helped equalize the dynamic and spread countervailing voices, and there’s been a cultural sea change that means that the zionists now understand they have to defend their racism now, they can’t take the complaizance of the American left for granted (that is to say, the genuine left, not the Daily Kos drones.)

  8. seafoid
    November 21, 2012, 5:08 pm

    “Didn’t feel very human to me ” is just crass.

    I’m sure she wouldn’t write those words were she to find herself at a funeral for an African American killed in a car crash or whatever, if she were to be posted back to base at some stage. But it’s fine to dehumanise the Palestinians.

    • Shlomo
      November 22, 2012, 3:59 am

      Good point. She probably disses black Baptist religious services as child-like, undevout, and out-of-control because rather than be prim, proper, and quiet they worship by “making a joyous noise.”

      Imagine how aghast Jodi would be if she dined with folks who used bare hands to eat/share food instead of Martha Stewart silverware!

      She’d probably implode watching an Asian “pushing” his boat from the rear (like a fish tail) rather than “properly” pulling mid-boat oars. She filters everything through inexperienced Western eyes.

      In short, she is clueless about the customs of the people she’s bureau CHIEF of. Why not make her an astronaut, too? Who cares if she knows not a jot about NASA?

      Apparently the less you know about a subject, the more the NYT treats you like an expert.

      This clueless “Jodi Knight” probably thinks Chewbacca is the Abominable Snowman, too.

      • seanmcbride
        November 22, 2012, 9:19 am

        Shmuel,

        In short, she is clueless about the customs of the people she’s bureau CHIEF of. Why not make her an astronaut, too? Who cares if she knows not a jot about NASA?

        Apparently the less you know about a subject, the more the NYT treats you like an expert.

        Funny — and so true.

        Can the New York Times be shamed with justified ridicule into improving its editorial standards? Perhaps the owners of that once august institution are beyond feeling shame at this point — they are into circle-the-wagons mode.

    • W.Jones
      November 22, 2012, 4:00 am

      Unless she was posted on the Injun frontier back in the early 19th century, when she would do a fine job describing their whooping cries and open-air burials in the woods. Not incredibly human – more animal or ritualistic.

  9. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    November 21, 2012, 5:15 pm

    I never for one moment thought Rudoren didn’t mean what she said in her original article. Her ‘clarification’ merely confirmed her Orientalist-lite view of Palestinians as folks who just aren’t like ‘us’ – ‘us’ being sheltered, elite Americans who’ve been wrapped in the warm fuzzy glow of cultural superiority since birth.

    I don’t think she’s a bad person – just a very shallow, superficial and naive one, who simply cannot let go of deep cultural prejudices she isn’t even aware she has. Her comment about how the people of Gaza are ‘ho hum’ about their houses being demolished because they don’t have much ‘stuff’ in them was Paris Hilton-esque. And that’s what she is to me – Paris Hilton with a laptop and press pass.

    • W.Jones
      November 22, 2012, 3:56 am

      Hey maybe she reflects either a major target audience for the Times, or a perspective they want to convey?

    • LondonLeftist
      November 22, 2012, 9:27 pm

      “Her comment about how the people of Gaza are ‘ho hum’ about their houses being demolished because they don’t have much ‘stuff’ in them was Paris Hilton-esque.”

      Do I remember correctly reading somewhere that many Palestinians build their own homes, too? I guess that must give it an even greater sense of loss than “just” having your family home, the place where so many memories were created, blasted away. Plus the demolishing of a house has an even greater impact financially than here in US–Europe because of the lack of resources and opportunities for other kinds of investment?

  10. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    November 21, 2012, 5:31 pm

    BTW over on her FB page, Rudoren says a colleague (NYT’s House Arab):

    ” met a man whose cousin, a militant, had been killed earlier today. “We don’t want a truce,” he said. “We don’t want a lull. We want the resistance to keep fighting and revenge for my cousin.”

    So even though there are photos on the news of crowds of Palestinians out on the streets celebrating the true, Rudoren just HAD TO end her piece by referring to one Palestinian who was against it?

    Everything this woman writes just confirms that she is so deeply brainwashed that she’s not even aware of how far her ‘writing’ is from any form of objective journalism.

    • W.Jones
      November 22, 2012, 3:53 am

      Maximus, It should be obvious that there would be many people happy about a truce and less bombardment of their homes. She is living right in Gaza with pictures on the news of this happiness.

      Whatever. You are insightful on this.

  11. LanceThruster
    November 21, 2012, 5:36 pm

    It sounds like she’s channel Gen. William Westmoreland.

    In the 1974 film Hearts and Minds, Westmoreland opined that “The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does a Westerner…We value life and human dignity. They don’t care about life and human dignity.”

    • W.Jones
      November 22, 2012, 3:23 am

      I heard that Saladdin treated POWs better than the Crusaders.

  12. joemowrey
    November 21, 2012, 5:45 pm

    “…12 people killed the day before in the single deadliest attack since the latest hostilities between Israel and the Gaza Strip began Wednesday after months of Palestinian militant rocket fire into Israel.”

    Gotta love the amount of Zionist spin she can cram into one sentence to offset the fact that 12 innocent people were blown apart. “…hostilities between Israel and the Gaza Strip…” implying your average fair fight between two warring countries. As if. Then, “…began…after months of Palestinian militant rocket fire into Israel.” Oh, of course, these equally-balanced “hostilities” are only taking place because of Palestinian rocket fire. More than 60 years of Zionist oppression, dispossession and ethnocide against the native population of Palestine has nothing to do with it.

    No one will ever match the devious propagandistic mastery of Ethan Bronner, but Rudorin ain’t half bad at it herself.

  13. Kate
    November 21, 2012, 5:47 pm

    And then there is this, from her NYT article:

    “The three-hour ritual was a nearly all-male affair. Several dozen women did briefly view the bodies in a home near the rubble pile, one of them collapsing in grief. But even close female relatives did not attend the service at the mosque nor the burial.”

    Doesn’t she even know that women don’t attend funerals or burials in this culture? It is not actually forbidden in Islam, but it is not customary. Since the Israeli army has been known to shoot at funeral processions, it is also dangerous. What DOES she know about Palestinians or Muslims, and why is she in this job when she is so clueless?

    • ToivoS
      November 22, 2012, 1:11 am

      Kate mentions: Since the Israeli army has been known to shoot at funeral processions, it is also dangerous.

      Of course we should also mention the US has launched a number of drone missile attacks against funeral processions in Pakistan honoring Pashtun warriors killed in earlier drone missile attacks. Not only that but the US launches drone missile attacks against medical responders from similar missile attacks. Basically the US waits for about a half hour to hit the same target again.

      Israel is not alone here. These are Obama approved tactics in the international war against against “terror”.

  14. dbroncos
    November 21, 2012, 6:46 pm

    Rudoren’s parochial understanding of the world becomes more and more clear:

    ” I’ve been to lots of funerals in lots of places and I expected a gut wrenching, emotional kind of experience.”

    The Palestinian funeral “…didn’t feel incredibly human to me.”

    “people feel like they don’t have that much to lose”

    “a culture of martyrdom that pervades this place”

    Rudoren doesn’t want to understand why these statements are so offensive and why they reveal so much about her prejudice and ignorance. Her perspective tells me why she was hired in the first place. The NYT wanted a Israel firster correspondent who would tow the line. Since they couldn’t find another reporter with a husband who advocates for Jewish settlers or a reporter with a son in the IDF, they settled for Rudoren and her Billy Joel world view. A safe bet for the Times.

  15. Pamela Olson
    November 21, 2012, 7:08 pm

    Nice correct usage of “deep-seated.”

  16. thankgodimatheist
    November 21, 2012, 7:35 pm

    Mrs Rudoren discovers a previously unknown tribe and finds that they have different cultural features to civilised man. A group of people who do not shed tears when in pain. Do you even feel pain? She wonders. she’s not quite sure yet but keep posted for more to come on the strange cultural habits of this really strange group of Homo Sapiens.

    • aiman
      November 21, 2012, 8:12 pm

      In a study of grief among Anglo-Celtics, it was found that they, too, were very stoic because of deaths in the world wars. They learned to express their grief when they got into contact with Mediterranean communities who were not affected by loss in the same way. Rudoren speaks of sociological and whatnot analysis while failing to even relate to the Palestinians within a shared understanding without which no authentic analysis is possible. We are left with tribal gesticulations. What is most stunning is a lack of empathy coupled with a refusal to understand. This is narrow-minded thinking in effect. What’s more, she does no psychoanalysis of the Israelis. Those who have faulted her for her shoddy journalism are correct, but journalism as a profession (which does not encompass a social and moral understanding) was always doomed and has only had a few moral luminaries. Like the majority of establishment ‘journalists’, Rudoren is a ‘churnalist’.

      • Elliot
        November 21, 2012, 10:31 pm

        What’s more, she does no psychoanalysis of the Israelis.
        That’s an important point. Aside from the unusual gesture of the public display of the body, everything in Rudoren’s description of the funeral happens regularly in Israel, say, in settler funerals: public calls for revenge, invoking God’s revenge (through use of scripture), threatening the lives of Israel’s enemies in the eulogy at the graveside, the sense of inevitablity, martyrdom and so on.
        In particular, a key accusation in Rudoren’s piece i.e. the nationalization of private grief, is standard practice in Israeli funerals of “terrorism” victims.

  17. piotr
    November 21, 2012, 7:44 pm

    Charitably, without exposure to many different cultures most people classify what they see as “familiar” and “strange”.

    And if Rudoren stops short of using “culture of death” meme to which she was surely exposed, that gives her credit.

    Also, it is complicated if there is “culture of martyrdom”, and if there exists one, what is it exactly, and is it good/bad/neutral.

    Consider this song (and not what is repeated):
    English literal translation

    Let us raise boldly our banner,
    Even though a storm of hostile storms is howling
    Even though sinister forces oppress us today,
    Even though everybody’s tomorrow is uncertain.
    Oh, this is the banner of the whole mankind,
    The sacred call, the song of resurrection,
    It’s the triumph of labor and justice,
    It’s the dawn of the brotherhood of all peoples!

    Forward, Warsaw!
    To the bloody fight,(repeat)
    Sacred and righteous!
    March, march, Warsaw!

    I guess that Jody did not have to learn anything like that in elementary school. (Of course the song is not Muslim, but it uses Christian imaginary of martyrdom.)

    • piotr
      November 21, 2012, 8:37 pm

      I wanted to write “note what is repeated”.

      Translation of poetry is tricky because words are used outside their usual context and with “stretched meaning”. “storm of hostile storms is howling” perhaps should be “the mob of hostile elements is howling”, but “elements” here is a word for storm/flood/fire etc. Perhaps “mob of hostile forces is howling”?. As the ceasefire is announced, “mob of hostile forces is howling” in Israel, both “centrist” like Mofaz of Kadima and Lapid of Whatever, and far right. Blood is in the water and sharks, in the absence of prey, may tear each other.

  18. jewishgoyim
    November 21, 2012, 8:23 pm

    “and stops just short at calling Islam and Palestinian culture a “death cult.””

    Right on. This is what It made me think about. It’s just Pamela Geller tamed for liberal consumption.

    “this reveals a much deeper-seated bias which puts the credibility of any future reporting from the region in serious jeopardy.”

    Right again but since I am a commenter I can say it out loud: she must go. And I think she’s going to be kicked out, not because her NYT bosses disagree with her but because she is not smart enough to hide her bias in a more sophisticated way.

  19. AhVee
    November 21, 2012, 8:23 pm

    I love how she almost seems proud of her ignorance, the way she hints at it all the time. While she’s in her “everywoman” role, why doesn’t she sit by the discussion had in the IDF quarters after the news has spread that tens, if not hundreds of Palestinians have died due to Israeli forces, I’m sure she’ll find the “gut-wrenching terror over the news of death” and a ‘full appreciation of human tragedy’ there… not. Maybe someone ought to tell her of Israeli reactions to the 9/11 bombings? And maybe she’d like to visit the settlers, or talk to a family who are standing by the curb of their new home with their luggage, while its Palestinian owners are barely done being manhandled out the back door? Tons of victim mourning going on there…

    The fact she leaves any attempt of analysis completely by the wayside in an increadibly painful faux-attempt to seem less biased actually makes her seem all the more biased. (Mostly because every form of analysis would go more towards painting a nasty picture of Israel than it would of Palestinians…)Everyone, everywoman or everyman, would set out to find answers to these, I would imagine quite immediate questions pertaining to customs and the wider picture, and counter-balance that with some sober observations about Israeli behaviour. This is the kind of “impartial reporting” the zios are more than happy to re-print. That fact alone tells us all we need to know about it.

    In general though, the strategy of it all doesn’t surprise me in the least bit. If you can no longer hide the fact that innocent civilians are dying, you might as well paint them as brutes with a death wish, so foreign and alienating their death cannot be seen as a tragedy to anyone with “heart in the right spot”. It’s the same old victim-blaming routine that’s been going on for ages now, each permutation as bad as the previous.
    That aside, I suppose the countless pictures / videos / accounts of Palestinians mourning their losses in tears and through pained howls have passed her by completely. Or if they haven’t, she’s obviously “too impartial” to mention those in her superficial analysis. Durr.

    • W.Jones
      November 21, 2012, 11:26 pm

      “Maybe someone ought to tell her of Israeli reactions to the 9/11 bombings? And maybe she’d like to visit the settlers, or talk to a family who are standing by the curb of their new home with their luggage, while its Palestinian owners are barely done being manhandled out the back door?”
      C’mon Avee, you don’t think she would be able to downplay these things? Here’s a try: That’s too bad, one more part of this very complicated conflict, meanwhile 200 rockets rained down from Gaza just in the last few days… etc etc.

      You can even get a sense of this in the way the NYT article was written. Compare Israeli trauma “even when no one hurt” to Palestinians’ reactions which are “ho hum” and “not incredibly human.” Downplay and spin away.

      But but but… You may respond. Even if your re”but”tals are right, they will not be printed. And in the tiny chance they are, you will really see “inaccurate context” given to them.

      But… please try anyway, my friend! :)

      • AhVee
        November 22, 2012, 8:28 pm

        “you don’t think she would be able to downplay these things”

        Of course she’d downplay these things, (as she *has* been by blatantly ignoring them). I’m not saying she’d engage in fair reporting at all, I was attempting to mock her fake impartiality.
        Ten to one she’d recount how many IDF soldiers had pictures of their family taped to their locker, then get sidetracked and give us an anecdote over how an Israeli Jewish kid was late for school because he lost his homework the other day.
        Put her in an Arab locker room and she’d be counting the Korans and keeping a tally of Allah Hu Akbars. :,)

      • W.Jones
        November 23, 2012, 3:01 am

        “Put her in an Arab locker room and…” she would be traumatized, don’t you think?

  20. gamal
    November 21, 2012, 8:26 pm

    “And so it was just surprising to me to see that, so graphic, and maybe they were holding up the children so the world would see children have been slaughtered in the conflict, but it didn’t feel incredibly human to me.”
    this surely must rank as one of the worst pieces blather i have heard in a long time, the one thing that is not ambiguous in these idiotic and rebarbative musings is her malice. I wonder what she means by “incredibly human” in that context, she doesnt seem to have the courage of the convictions she is unable to conceal. ho-hum another great white hope bites the dust.

    lan ya murra

  21. Mondowise
    November 21, 2012, 8:29 pm

    Rudoren doesn’t come across to me as being particularly human, far from it, in fact…so it’s no wonder she said something this obtuse, appalling, and utterly absurd. She herself has a long way to go before she can claim understanding humanity to even the slightest degree.

  22. jewishgoyim
    November 21, 2012, 8:30 pm

    “it didn’t feel incredibly human to me.”

    Rudoren does not feel incredibly human to me.

  23. yourstruly
    November 21, 2012, 8:45 pm

    what didn’t appear human to me were those israelis picnicking on a hill overlooking gaza & cheering the death & destruction unfolding below.

  24. crypticvalentin
    November 21, 2012, 9:06 pm

    there are overt ways to dehumanize people and subtle ones( such as Rudoren’s articles), and once you accomplish that, you can kill them with impunity, with little repercussion..

  25. jewishgoyim
    November 21, 2012, 9:35 pm

    And what if some Palestinian hearts were a little bit hardened compared to the average “oh so delicate” upper westsider? Would that say something about the humanity of the Palestinians or something about the hardships they went through?

    I’m sure that after a while in a war, or in a concentration camp for that matter, people get insensitive to the suffering around them in a way that would be absolutely shocking to all of us who live in good conditions. It does not mean they are less human. It just means the conditions in which they live are less human.

    But for Rudoren to even suggest there can be different degrees of humanity is really, really troubling. But then again, someone who comes to Gaza under fire but has “her first tear” for somebody in good health in Israel AND FEELS THE NEED TO REPORT IT seems to be just a tad out of touch. I wonder whether the Palestinians were “human enough” to deserve her second tear, or third…

    • W.Jones
      November 22, 2012, 3:12 am

      ” I wonder whether the Palestinians were “human enough” to deserve her second tear, or third…”

      I don’t, partly since I expect she would have mentioned it and her reaction actually focuses on Palestinians’ supposed lack of emotion except for funerals that are not “human”. :/

      But that’s good you noticed the point.

  26. Taxi
    November 21, 2012, 9:47 pm

    Send Jodi to an Irish wake in Spittle. Would she dare say: I saw more people drinking than crying?

    Or to a Buddhist sky-funeral. Would she dare say: No family members came to the funeral, only two priests and five vultures?

    p.s. personally, I think drinking at funerals is a deep expression of grief.

  27. Rania
    November 21, 2012, 10:38 pm

    I suppose if Palestinians were wailing and sobbing and gnashing their teeth, Rudoren would think that we were overly emotional savages incapable of reigning in our emotions like civilized people, who know innately exactly to what degree emotion is appropriately displayed. We’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. The plight of the oppressed indigenous person never changes. I don’t know why she’s wasting her time explaining herself so much; she could save vast acres of time by merely cutting and pasting some passages from any number of European books on the strange ways of the savages in America in the 1600s. It’s just the same tired colonialist crap over and over and over again, and swallowing it over and over has become quite the unappetizing ordeal. Did she think for a minute that maybe over-expressing anguish over the loss of a child in a place where many, many people around you have lost a child would be conceived as insensitive or somehow disrespectful to the grief of others? In my culture, you don’t make a big display so as not to demean the similar grief of those around you. We are all in it together. We are a grieving people, but also a fighting people, and without the belief that all these children are dying for something, the senselessness and violence of it all will become unbearable. If constantly putting yourself in the place of others isn’t human, then I am proud to call myself a savage.

  28. DICKERSON3870
    November 21, 2012, 11:00 pm

    RE: “I found talking to people both at the funeral and throughout the last six days that the level of tolerance here for death and destruction is quite high. They’ve been through this before. They all know people who’ve been killed. . . life here is rather grim and in some ways … people don’t feel like they have that much to lose.” ~ Jodi Rudoren

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Learned helplessness]:

    [EXCERPT] Learned helplessness is the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it to help itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.[1] Organisms which have been ineffective and less sensitive in determining the consequences of their behavior are defined as having acquired learned helplessness.[2]
    The American psychologist Martin Seligman’s foundational experiments and theory of learned helplessness began at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression. Quite by accident, Seligman and colleagues discovered that the conditioning of dogs led to outcomes that opposed the predictions of B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism, then a leading psychological theory.[3][4]

    Experiment
    Summary
    In the learned helplessness experiment an animal is repeatedly hurt by an adverse stimulus which it cannot escape.
    Eventually the animal will stop trying to avoid the pain and behave as if it is utterly helpless to change the situation.
    Finally, when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness prevents any action. The only coping mechanism the animal uses is to be stoical and put up with the discomfort, not expending energy getting worked up about the adverse stimulus. . .

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

  29. W.Jones
    November 21, 2012, 11:20 pm

    Thanks, Adam.

  30. aiman
    November 21, 2012, 11:32 pm

    Rudoren: “Instead, there were fingers jabbing the air…”

    I had to stop there. Who writes like this? Anybody who sees “fingers jabbing the air” is projecting their own violence on to others. Why are these “fingers jabbing the air”? What is the moral rationale for such an expression? Indeed, to dehumanise people.

  31. Taxi
    November 22, 2012, 12:56 am

    There’s an old saying that good journalism is all about comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.

  32. Taxi
    November 22, 2012, 1:11 am

    “Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism” – Hunter S. Thompson

  33. ToivoS
    November 22, 2012, 1:33 am

    Rudoren is really coming across as one incredibly insensitive human being. I think she is trying to be empathetic at some level but she has no idea what the people of Palestine are experiencing.

    Her writing brought to mind a personal anecdote. My father was a veteran from the Spanish Civil War as a volunteer in one of the international brigades. Normally he did not talk about what happened but then one day (I was a child then) he began to describe what he felt. He told me that after awhile the horror and deaths that he witnessed left him emotionally “calloused” (his word). That is he no longer had any feelings in the face of massive deaths. As an example he began to describe one terrible battle that took the life of a close friend. In the middle of his story he broke down and just started sobbing. He couldn’t continue and I never did hear the end of that story.

    I could imagine that if he was interviewed by some reporter (and I read one of his interviews from that time) he came across as one emotionless, hardened warrior.

    That fool Rudoren has no idea what is going on with those people in Gaza who have faced such incredible levels of violence at the hands of the Israelis.

  34. eGuard
    November 22, 2012, 2:27 am

    Let’s not forget: Mark Thompson, editor of the NYT, was editor-in-chief at the BBC. Four years ago, after the 2008/9 attack on Gaza, he decided not to broadcast the UK humanitarian fundraising for Gaza. Basically he was contenting the viewers. Probably this gesture to Israel landed him the NYT job.

    link to bbc.co.uk

  35. mcohen
    November 22, 2012, 6:53 am

    I wonder if this could be connected to those ads about “savages”that appeared in subways

  36. Accentitude
    November 22, 2012, 7:51 am

    I urge Ms. Rudoren to read this article: Tears Breed Defiance at Funeral for Gaza Family: link to maannews.net
    Posted November 19th on Ma’an.

    “Is this your wife?” asked a medic inside the morgue.

    “Ahh, what happened to your face sweetheart?” her husband said, weeping and collapsing into the arms of his spouse. The woman’s face was burnt beyond recognition.”

    Despite what you may think, we are indeed human beings. I can no longer read about the atrocities that occurred in Gaza. Not because I don’t care about what has happened, but because I can no longer read about dead children and families without feeling a venomous rage begin to boil within my veins.

  37. seafoid
    November 22, 2012, 9:15 am

    Rudoren sounds like a white prude at a jazz club in New Orleans in the 1920s.
    Maybe she needs some Arab music to relax.

    link to youtube.com

  38. chinese box
    November 22, 2012, 10:42 am

    Is it possible that Rudoren’s tone deaf response is at least as much related to being out of her depth on foreign affairs as is it is to bias? As someone else mentioned, to anyone who has thought about the issue, desensitization is a natural response to these kinds of conditions. One doesn’t expect child soldiers in Africa to wail and moan when all they’ve seen around them is death for their whole lives.

  39. Les
    November 22, 2012, 12:37 pm

    Martyrdom is not the choice but is forced upon the Palestinians.

  40. Donald
    November 24, 2012, 6:34 pm

    Whatever Rudoren’s biases, she also does some good reporting. Here’s a passage from today’s (November 24) article about the buffer zone Israel imposed on Gaza–

    “The buffer zone was established in 2005, when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, which it had occupied since the 1967 war. Human rights organizations say that Israel drops leaflets warning residents to stay out of the area, and that its security forces killed 213 Palestinians near the fence between September 2005 and September 2012, including 154 who were not taking part in hostilities, 17 of them children. Critics say Israel has classified broad sections of border land as a “no-go zone” in which soldiers are allowed to open fire on anyone who enters, which military officials have strongly denied.”

    That’s the sort of reporting I want to see–references to what human rights groups say actually occurs in Gaza. She then says critics say one thing and Israeli military officials deny it, which you could say is “he said, she said” reporting, but she’s already given the statistics. Reporting official denials is also part of the job, but she’s already reported what the human rights groups say and implicitly given them more credibility. I can’t complain about that.

    If the NYT makes a habit of reporting facts about the suffering of both sides, complete with statistics and of course the official denials, they will be doing what they should be doing. (And given the fact that Palestinians are doing the bulk of the suffering, this can only work in their favor.) The editorial page will still be a pile of dog poop, but I don’t expect that to change.

    • Donald
      November 24, 2012, 7:25 pm

      That sounded a bit Pollyannish, on re-reading it. She obviously has said some stupid things and probably has unconscious biases, but she also seems to listen to her critics. So I end up being an optimist. It’s mainly because of the Internet–the MSM can’t ignore all its critics or pretend that they’re all crackpots anymore, like they could in the days when we were all limited to typing out letters and sending them via snail mail, not even knowing if there was anyone else (beyond a few other crazed lefties) saying the same thing.

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