Trending Topics:

NYT’s Jerusalem bureau chief: ‘I come knowledgeable about the Jewish American or Jewish Israeli side of this beat’

Israel/Palestine
on 27 Comments
Rudoren meets with American Jewish Committee group

Rudoren meets in Jerusalem with American Jewish Committee group in Jan 2014

Hadassah Magazine scores a big get, an interview with The New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, and Charley J. Levine asks her how her Jewishness affects her work. A lot.

Q. How does your Jewishness impact your job?
A. I came to Israel as a teen with United Synagogue Youth and the memory of that, particularly of Jerusalem…and the layered history that you see in the Old City and elsewhere, were things that as a journalist I found incredibly compelling. I wanted to come here to cover this fascinating beat. Being Jewish certainly is central to that. I know a decent amount about Judaism, I speak Hebrew pretty well. I come knowledgeable about the Jewish American or Jewish Israeli side of this beat.

Q. What about the non-Jewish angle?
A. One of my biggest regrets is not studying Arabic before coming over because I find working in a language that I really don’t know to be very difficult.

Q. Why does the left wing criticize you?
A. Some pro-Palestinians attack me based on the idea that I am kind of entrenched in the Israeli-Zionist-Jewish-American perspective. They complain that I live in West Jerusalem [and] spend quite a bit of time in my office there. I wish I spent much more time in the West Bank than I do, both reporting and living, because that impacts how you develop your sensibility about things.

Q. How does your perspective differ from reporters from, say, Portugal?
A. I have an American world view…[which] takes Israel’s existence as a given. There are some places in the world that do not. The argument that Israel is an amoral, ahistorical experiment that will fall like apartheid and the Soviet Union is outside the American mainstream way of seeing things. America and the United Nations have embraced Israel as a modern state and I operate from this same assumption.

We have frequently stated that Rudoren is “culturally bound,” operating inside an American-Israeli-Jewish framework.

Something else: Rudoren tells Hadassah she got pulled back on social media by the Times in November 2012 after she said on Facebook during a visit to Gaza that “many Gazans seemed almost ‘ho-hum’ about the [Israeli] attacks after all they had endured. I should have said ‘resilient.’”

Her actual statement referred to Palestinians being ho-hum about lately losing family members. And it was framed by Rudoren’s comment, “So great to hear from all these new people, and to see how FB makes the world such a shtetl.” Here’s the ho-hum bit:

while death and destruction is far more severe in Gaza than in Israel, it seems like Israelis are almost more traumatized. The Gazans have a deep culture of resistance and aspiration to martyrdom, they’re used to it from Cast Lead and other conflicts, and they have such limited lives than in many ways they have less to lose. Both sides seem intensely proud of their military “achievements” — Israel killing Jabari and taking out so many Fajr 5s, Hamas reaching TA and Jeru. And I’ve been surprised that when I talk to people who just lost a relative, or who are gathering belongings from a bombed-out house, they seem a bit ho-hum.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

27 Responses

  1. hophmi
    February 28, 2014, 12:20 pm

    As usual, you leave out anything that might undermine your POV.

    “Bloggers make all kinds of suppositions about my background, my personal life, my friends and associates, how I spend my free time, without any basis in fact…”

    “I have since waded back into Facebook and Twitter solo…but on a much smaller scale, mostly to just post articles or news items. Even so, many of my posts are hijacked by extremists who post comments that regurgitate their entrenched positions…”

    • amigo
      February 28, 2014, 1:19 pm

      “Even so, many of my posts are hijacked by extremists who post comments that regurgitate their entrenched positions…” Rudoren.

      She is referring to you hoppy.

      Speaking of omissions, when will you include the truth in your extremist regurgitated rantings.

      • hophmi
        February 28, 2014, 3:04 pm

        “She is referring to you hoppy.”

        She’s referring to both sides, not me, Amigo (I’ve never protested her writing), but nice try.

        “Speaking of omissions, when will you include the truth in your extremist regurgitated rantings.”

        Again, Amigo, nice try.

      • Ecru
        March 1, 2014, 2:12 am

        @ Hoppy

        Continuing Amigo’s theme, when will you admit that you have REPEATEDLY misrepresented the recent report on perceptions of anti-semitism in Europe?

    • Krauss
      February 28, 2014, 1:28 pm

      Of course she defends herself. That’s her duty, to maintain what little credibility she has left. This doens’t change the fact that she is culturally bound. She almost doens’t even seem willing to engage that kind of argument in part because she knows it’s absolutely correct. She even admits it. It plays a “central part” of her.

      Also:

      Bloggers make all kinds of suppositions about my background, my personal life, my friends and associates, how I spend my free time, without any basis in fact…

      This is not the argument and she knows it. People are not talking about how her friends.

      We’re talking about she is covering the issue, the fact that she is identifying very closely with one side and it comes through time and time again in her language.
      You don’t need to know her friends; it’s enough reading her coverage of the conflict to know where she stands. There are countless of examples over the past few years alone.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 28, 2014, 3:22 pm

      pt scoring again hops?

    • Chu
      February 28, 2014, 3:45 pm

      Rudoren could disappear from the pages of the Times tomorrow and no one would care. She isn’t a great journalist and not many have time today to read someone who is struggling to create a sense of interest in a one sided illegal occupation success story.

      It’s inevitable Rudoren is another petard that will be expelled from the bowels of Zionism. Her or anyone coming to act neutral on behalf of a newspaper, when her entire existence has been living with Jews in Brooklyn and now in Jerusalem. She is bound to sound like she has no perspective because, by and large, she doesn’t. NYTimes is afraid to stop defending Israel, so it installs this reporter to try to make the case that Israel is doing good, but wait for it… because there is ‘soo much conflict’ in the middle east today!

    • Hostage
      February 28, 2014, 11:32 pm

      Even so, many of my posts are hijacked by extremists who post comments that regurgitate their entrenched positions…”

      Sorry Hophmi but the New York Times doesn’t need to pay the expenses of a correspondent in Israel that embraces and operates on the assumption that Israel is a modern state. The Prawer Plan and the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation -State of the Jewish People truly are immoral and completely outside the American mainstream way of seeing things. Only someone with vested tribal sympathies would even attempt to downplay those racist official policies and sell everyone a line of bullshit instead.

    • Citizen
      March 1, 2014, 11:06 am

      @ hoppy
      Here, you are doing your customary stuff here, trying absurdly trying stupidly to make us think that the Jews of Israel are suffering like the Palestinians are in both iIsrael and more especially, in the Israeli OT. We don’t buy your assumption that the only superpower in the world is supporting the Palestinians right or wrong as that superpower is supporting Israel.

  2. JohnAdamTurnbull
    February 28, 2014, 12:41 pm

    “And I’ve been surprised that when I talk to people who just lost a relative, or who are gathering belongings from a bombed-out house, they seem a bit ho-hum.”

    Maybe not all that eager to talk to a representative of the powers that just bombed them in a language she doesn’t understand. Maybe too wrapped up in the practical business of where they will be sleeping and what they will be eating while she gets a bite on the way home and settles in for the night in Jerusalem. Sure, they may be culturally different from a New York pro, but who’s the idiot?

    • Daniel Rich
      February 28, 2014, 1:04 pm

      @ JohnAdamTurnball,

      Q: Maybe not all that eager to talk to a representative of the powers that just bombed them in a language she doesn’t understand.

      R: But don’ t we humans, universally, understand the wrongs of oppression, apartheid and mindless destruction? Isn’t that a language everyone understands?

    • seafoid
      February 28, 2014, 1:06 pm

      Imagine a Mongolian reporter with no English looking for copy in New York post Sandy. That would be called taking the piss. Imagining mistaking NYC bravado or stoicness for nonchalance. Rudoren is a joke. And only 40% of Americans believe god gave the land to the jews so I dunno how strong that point about Israel as a given is.

  3. Donald
    February 28, 2014, 1:02 pm

    ” I have an American world view…[which] takes Israel’s existence as a given. There are some places in the world that do not. The argument that Israel is an amoral, ahistorical experiment that will fall like apartheid and the Soviet Union is outside the American mainstream way of seeing things. America and the United Nations have embraced Israel as a modern state and I operate from this same assumption.”

    Gotta give her credit for honesty here, but she’s just admitted that she has a bias. Israel is a “modern state”, whatever that means, and isn’t “amoral”, not like apartheid South Africa. This is why there’s such a consistent gap between the reporting that you find in Amnesty International and HRW publications and what you see in most NYT reporting.

    • Hostage
      February 28, 2014, 11:58 pm

      Gotta give her credit for honesty here, but she’s just admitted that she has a bias. Israel is a “modern state”, whatever that means, and isn’t “amoral”, not like apartheid South Africa.

      I’ll say, this useful idiot belabors her own articles about Grand Apartheid/the Prawer Plan with sympathetic statements about poor Israeli “officials [who] have struggled to convince residents of the ramshackle communities scattered across the vast Negev desert that moving to new, legal homes will pave a path to a better future.”

      She’s the same bureau chief who accepted the Isabel Kershner propaganda piece on the subject that didn’t even interview a single Bedouins about their views, while quoting the Prime Minister’s spokesman from the Headquarters for Economic and Community Development of the Negev Bedouin, saying that “The Bedouin of the Negev, being equal citizens, deserve adequate housing, public services and a better future for their children,” and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (who was actually denying Bedouins equal protection under the law) explaining that the plan offered “a historic compromise.”

  4. ritzl
    February 28, 2014, 1:34 pm

    When people with total control of their own professional behavior say “I wish I could get out more…[to cover the story as I know it should be covered].” it reflects such a deeply flawed ethic that you have to wonder how she got the job in the first place.

    Pathetic.

    • Citizen
      March 1, 2014, 11:10 am

      @ ritzl
      No, it makes us wonder if there will ever be a person in her job position who is not an Israel First occupant.

      • ritzl
        March 1, 2014, 5:21 pm

        @Citizen- Yep. I was going to wonder further what the hypothetical job posting/description contained, but as you imply, it doesn’t really matter. The past decade or more of actual hiring practices says it all. She’s just the most recent outgrowth of NYT editorial policy.

        What does matter though is the NYT’s larger vulnerability that this exposes to public scrutiny, in the specific. Do they treat every other issue/story they cover in this way? Is adversarial reporting an across-the-board anachronism, or is it just one with Israel?

        If I was a NYT ed/pub, those publicly-evident doubts would scare the crap out of me. As the “source for hard news” competition constricts, people will simply go somewhere else if one of the competitors shows itself to have gone all mush, all the time.

        The market for mush is pretty limited. The market for facts/truth/relavant context never goes away [is growing].

        The mush factor is shown by Rudoren’s self-described standard of reporting only in a way that’s “mainstream,” whatever that means.

        Cheers.

  5. American
    February 28, 2014, 2:55 pm

    ‘ I have an American world view…[which] takes Israel’s existence as a given. There are some places in the world that do not. The argument that Israel is an amoral, ahistorical experiment that will fall like apartheid and the Soviet Union is outside the American mainstream way of seeing things. America and the United Nations have embraced Israel as a modern state and I operate from this same assumption”>>>>

    The fat lady is waiting in the wings to sing on Ms Ruderon’s ‘presumptions.

    • Chu
      February 28, 2014, 3:28 pm

      And notice how the US is the shield for her soft core view on Israel. Later she goes into her teen years as a United Synagogue Youth in Israel from America. Isn’t this the same reporter who said she was heading to Jerusalem with an open mind right b efore she embarked? She further said that she didn’t know much about the conflict and was willing to see and understand and report for the NY Times.

      But, it’s not her problem as much as it is the New York Times.

      • American
        March 1, 2014, 12:10 pm

        It insults me that she uses “American world view’ when it is anything but. Just as Judis said in his book about Truman–even Truman saw the establishment of Israel in Palestine as against the principles the US advocated.
        All the US Zios use ‘America” as their claim for Israel being legitimate…as in American style democracy *approves of Israel.
        I imagine some of them that ‘use’ the America claim do so just as propaganda, others may be so self deluded as to believe it.
        I dont know that the ‘American” claim really does anything for them and Israel any more because our support of criminal Israel has earned the US the disgust of most of the world….lol
        But like I said—the fat lady is waiting to sing.
        They will never last…..

  6. jsinton
    February 28, 2014, 2:57 pm

    ” I have an American world view…[which] takes Israel’s existence as a given.”

    What an objective reporter… not.

  7. adele
    February 28, 2014, 3:21 pm

    There are/were many reporters in Palestine & Israel who didn’t speak Arabic fluently but still had enough professionalism to do their research, hire trustworthy guides/stringers, and actually make the 20 minute trip from Jaffa Street in Jerusalem to downtown Ramallah. Why can’t Rudoren do that?

  8. mjordan
    March 1, 2014, 11:14 am

    So let’s get this straight – Rudoren came to the ‘regional editor’ job culturally bound to the Jewish experience, speaking only Hebrew (not Arabic), and being familiar with only the Israeli/American narrative and not the Palestinian or international human rights narrative. How does this qualify someone to be the Jerusalem based editor as opposed to maybe an beat reporter in Israel? This means the hiring process itself was totally slanted to promote one side of the conflict.

    The result of this process has been predictable – Rudoren promotes the Israeli historical narrative of the conflict (in general reports, personal profiles, book reviews, etc.), overwhelmingly quotes Israeli sources over Palestinians/int’l experts (staying within the he said-she said presentation), and uses Israeli/American terminology on the conflict over established int’l consensus positions and int’l law. She more or less admits all of this openly.

    I don’t understand how this passes the laughing test of acceptable journalism practice. Rudoren is doing the public a disservice w/slanted coverage and shouldn’t be in the editor position anymore.

Leave a Reply