Inhuman shield: How ‘The New York Times’ protects US elites from Gaza’s brutal reality

Israel/Palestine
on 42 Comments
New York Times headquarters. (Photo: Wikipedia)

New York Times headquarters. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The New York Times’ reporting on Israel’s latest assault on Gaza has been a rollercoaster. Unfortunately the high points have been few, short and quickly followed by dizzying and prolonged plunges back into a morass of lazy, credulous recitations of Israeli government talking points, and efforts to portray balance and symmetry in a dramatically unbalanced situation, all permeated by an absence of skepticism and critical analysis, and a failure to explain context. Though Israel has slaughtered over 1000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza and only three civilians have been killed in Israel, in The Times’ upside down world, every Palestinian weapon is a major threat, while Israeli weapons are either defensive or non-existent.

As a result, a few days of strong, urgent reporting by Anne Barnard and Tyler Hicks on the ground in Gaza have been overwhelmed by embarrassing headlines, false equivalencies, and a seemingly unembarrassed willingness to promote Israeli perspectives no matter how obviously outrageous they might be. Who can forget, just in the last days as the Palestinian death toll soared, “Israel Shells Are Said to Hit UN School,” “Israel Says Its Forces Did Not Kill Palestinians Sheltering at UN School,” “Pause in the Fighting Gives Civilians on Both Sides a Moment to Take Stock,” and “Neighborhood Ravaged on Deadliest Day So Far for Both Sides in Gaza;” or these oldies, “Israel on Edge after Possible Revenge Killing of Arab Youth” and “Missile at Beachside Gaza Cafe Finds Patrons Poised for World Cup”?

At it’s worst The Times’ reporting on this crisis has reminded some readers of Judy Miller’s and Michael Gordon’s enthusiastic shilling for the US attack on Iraq. There is so much that could be written about these failures, but I’ll focus on a few highlights – The Times’ failure to examine Hamas’ involvement in kidnappings or the manipulation of information about Israeli teens’ deaths, The Times’ failure to explain basic context about Gaza, Times’ explainers that grossly distort reality, and the papers’ hyping of Palestinian military capacity, in contrast to the invisibility of Israel’s massive arsenal.

Failure to Examine Hamas’ Involvement in Kidnappings or the Manipulation of Information about Israeli Teens’ Deaths

The stage was set early by The Times’ reporting on the development of the current crisis. When the Israeli government launched a crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, blaming Hamas for the abduction of three Israeli teens in early June, The Times generally repeated Israeli government claims of Hamas responsibility for the kidnapping, while also occasionally introducing some uncertainty about Hamas involvement, and at least once quoting Hamas denials of those claims. But The Times never published a piece examining the suspicious lack of clear evidence that Hamas was responsible, unlike Shlomi Eldar on Al Monitor or Sheera Frenkel on Buzzfeed. And in the last weeks, as some Israeli authorities have been quoted saying that they had concluded that Hamas was not responsible for the abductions and killings, The Times has not looked back. The growing consensus that the Israeli government based the escalation against Hamas that led directly to the current fighting in Gaza on false claims seems not to interest The Times.

Even more damning, however, The Times’ Jerusalem-based reporters never examined the revelation that the Israeli government likely knew from day one that the three teens were killed by their kidnappers within hours, even as the Israeli government launched a massive manhunt and PR campaign for their freedom, and claimed they were operating on the presumption that the teens were alive. Gunshots could be heard followed by a groan in an audiotape of a call from one of the teens to the police that was circulating in Israel. Additionally, shell casings, blood and DNA found in an abandoned car suggested the teens were killed there. The Israeli government placed this information under a gag order, but the rumor of gunshots on the audiotape were reported on social media almost immediately, and later detailed by outlets like this site on June 23.

The existence of the audiotape was brought to the attention of Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren on June 24 on skype by Mondoweiss reporter Allison Deger. Deger tweeted at Rudoren, “I’m sure @rudoren can find out about the emergency call details for herself if she wants to dig…” The seemingly out of it Rudoren responded on twitter to the series of tweets, “What recording?” Rather than seeking a scoop that might have contradicted the Israeli government narrative, The Times didn’t report on the recording until July 1, after the Israeli government lifted the gag order on the audiotape. Rudoren’s report on the call was minimal, and included no examination of the fact that the Israeli government very likely knew almost immediately that the teens were dead, though they told the public for weeks that they presumed them to be alive.

It was left to Times blogger Robert Mackey to publish a July 10 piece that did not make it into the print newspaper. Mackey questioned whether

“keeping salient facts of the investigation secret for weeks allowed a government-backed social-media campaign to channel outrage over the abductions to grow, but also set the public up for crushing disappointment once the bodies were discovered.”

That outrage, fed by the unexamined, dubious accusations against Hamas, led directly to overwhelming Israeli support for a brutal attack on Gaza. Times readers who did not read between the lines, read this Robert Mackey blog post, or seek out other sources of information were left largely in the dark about these key facts.

Failure to Explain Basic Context in Gaza

Times readers also probably lack an understanding of the broader context of the events in Gaza, again due to the paper’s poor reporting. In the run-up to Israel’s current assault on Gaza, The Times had neglected the Gaza Strip. According to my repeated searches of The New York Times’ website (which while thorough still could miss stories), Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren reported from Gaza only one time during the 16 month period between December 2012 and April 2014. Rudoren defended this in a March 2014 email exchange with Mondoweiss by saying “we rely on our excellent Gaza-based stringer,” and noting some of the stories that they published. But it seems from the content of the articles that Fares Akram is not given much latitude in his reporting. During one seven-month period when Rudoren was completely absent from Gaza (8/13 – 3/14), I counted 27 New York Times stories reported from Gaza. Only five focused on the difficulties of life in Gaza, though those difficulties are severe.

My review of recent Times articles shows that the paper has generally failed to explain the basics: that most of Gaza’s residents are refugees from the area from which Israel launches attacks on Gaza, that Gaza remains under Israeli military occupation and a siege, and that Gaza is increasingly unlivable. The Times very infrequently uses the words occupation, siege and blockade to describe Gaza, and when it does they are most often in quotes from Palestinians. Over the last four weeks, The Times has noted a handful of times in a brief paragraph Israel’s control of land, sea and airspace around Gaza, and broached the words occupied and siege.

The Times noted just once in 2012, when the relevant UN report was published that the UN has predicted that Gaza, one of the most densely populated places in the world, may be unlivable by 2020 due to deteriorating drinking water quality, inadequate electricity supply and infrastructure, growing population and the impacts of Gaza’s isolation from the world. Finally, while The Times has reported on some of Israel’s attacks on and killing of Gazans throughout the ceasefire of the last two years, it has failed to explain that, “even when rocket fire comes to a halt as called for by the cease-fire agreement, Israel continues its violations with total impunity,” as documented by Yousef Munayyer at the Palestine Center.

Two Times’ “Explainers” that Grossly Misrepresent Reality

For the last 24 days The Times has published an online summary of “The Toll in Gaza and Israel, Day by Day” that depicts a completely false sense of near parity between Palestinian and Israeli military attacks. As of August 1, 2014 the summary notes “3,834 targets in Gaza struck by Israel” versus “2909 rockets launched at Israel by Gaza,” a ratio of 1.32 to 1. The showcasing of these figures, implying near parity, is suggestive of a desperate effort by The New York Times to provide a counter to the only other figures in “The Toll in Gaza and Israel” that show a stunning disparity between the number of Palestinian than Israeli deaths.

A series of July 30 tweets at Jodi Rudoren by Amnesty USA’s Middle East and North Africa Advocacy Director Sunjeev Bery explained that The New York Times comparison between targets struck and rockets launched is misleading. Both figures come from the Israeli army, which has an interest in spinning the numbers. Also, the statistic on targets struck by Israel neglects “scale of IDF munitions.” One “target” in Gaza can be hit by multiple Israeli strikes of munitions of varied sizes. Plus, Israeli bombs and shells are on average significantly heavier than the small Palestinian rockets. Bery’s tweets of concern about these Times statistics were seconded on twitter by Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson.

Closer analysis shows that Israel has probably shot and dropped more than five times the tonnage of ordnance that Palestinians have fired at Israel. As of July 16th, Human Rights Watch, reported, Israeli officials said that Israeli attacks in Gaza had “delivered more than 500 tons (1 million lbs) of explosives in missiles, aerial bombs, and artillery fire.” The New York Times “toll in Gaza” shows that 1274 rockets had been launched from Gaza at Israel by that date. Using the 65 kg (143 lbs) weight of a grad rocket frequently fired from Gaza as an average for a rocket from Gaza, Palestinians would have fired approximately 182,182 lbs of ordnance at Israel by that date. Thus Israel had fired approximately 5.49 times as much ordnance at Gaza as Palestinians had fired at Israel as of July 16th. This disparity has likely increased since then as Israel has intensified its attacks, including very heavy shelling. Furthermore, fired Palestinian ordnance is extremely inaccurate compared to targeted Israeli ordnance and thus far less likely to hit anything, and some Palestinian rockets are shot down by Israel’s “Iron Dome.”

Though the comparison between “targets in Gaza struck by Israel” and “rockets launched at Israel by Gaza” is inappropriate and deceptive, The New York Times has persisted in using it, even after the issue was raised with the paper by a number of people.

This Friday The New York Times introduced a second problematic comparative “explainer” graphic, “In Gaza, a Pattern of Conflict.” This explainer purports to show “similarities and differences in the last three major conflicts” between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza in 2008/09, 2012 and 2014. However, this “Pattern of Conflict” explainer begins with an inaccurate historical summary, asserting that Hamas started each conflict: “Hamas launches volleys of rockets into Israel; Israeli warplanes strike targets in Gaza. This has escalated into an Israeli ground invasion twice.” This explanation of how the three conflicts started incorrectly places all the blame on Hamas, and none on Israel, repeating standard Israeli talking points.

In contrast, in summarizing the Israel’s Operation Cast Lead which began in 2008, The Institute for Middle East Understanding notes, “a situation of relative quiet prevailed in and around Gaza until November 4, when Israeli soldiers staged a raid into the Strip, killing six members of Hamas. The attack… ended the ceasefire and led to an escalation of hostilities culminating in Cast Lead the following month.” The New York Times’s own report from November 4, 2008 explained, “Israel carried out an airstrike on Gaza on Tuesday night after its troops clashed with Hamas gunmen along the border in the first such confrontation since a cease-fire took effect in June. Five militants were killed…”

Robert Wright reported a detailed 2012 timeline developed by Emily Hauser. It included the November 4, 2012 killing of a mentally-disabled Palestinian, the November 8 killing of a Palestinian boy, the November 12 killing of four Palestinian fighters, Palestinian rockets fired into Israeli on November 11th, and then Israel’s assassination Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari and eight other Palestinians.

The most recent conflict can be traced back to the Israeli government’s aim of breaking up the new Fatah-Hamas endorsed Palestinian authority, the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens and then one Palestinian teen, and Israel’s crackdown against Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

To top off the misrepresentation that Hamas started the three conflicts, the “explainer” includes a graphic depicting “cumulative rockets fired at Israel from Gaza.” Perhaps realizing late in the game that “targets struck in Gaza by Israel” is fatally flawed, the new explainer thus depicts military attacks in the conflict as only by Palestinians. In summary, the explainer suggests that Palestinians started the conflict and implies that only Palestinians launch attacks.

The Hyping of Palestinian Military Capacity and the Invisibility of Israel’s Massive Arsenal

The same narrative emphasizing Palestinian rockets dominated The New York Times early reporting on both sides’ military capacity in this 2014 conflict, before Palestinian tunnels evolved to become a second focus. In the first weeks The Times published two stories detailing Palestinian rockets – “A Growing Arsenal of Homegrown Rockets Encounters Israel’s Iron Dome” and “From Gaza, an Array of Makeshift Rockets Packs a Counterpunch.” The only Israeli military weaponry that garnered any attention in those articles was Israel’s defensive “Iron Dome,” despite the fact that Israel was wiping out entire Palestinian families with bombs dropped from F16s, with shells from tanks, rockets fired from drones, and shells and rockets fired from gunboats. Even The Times explainer described above never names an Israeli weapon, instead noting passively “targets struck.”

Then, following a PR push by the Israeli government, Israel’s tunnels became a focus of The New York Times’ reporting. First The Times published a Q&A on the tunnels that included a fancy map and a video courtesy of the Israeli government. Then, after she went on a guided tour by the Israeli army, The Times Jodi Rudoren published her own piece hyping the tunnels, “Tunnels Lead Right to the Heart of Israeli Fear.” Avoiding any mention of the fact that no Israeli civilian has been injured or killed in an attack from a tunnel to date, as noted by Greg Mitchell and others, Rudoren’s article included a breathless, overblown narrative about the terror tunnel threat, saying, “In cafes and playgrounds, on social-media sites and in the privacy of pillow talk, Israelis exchange nightmare scenarios that are the stuff of action movies: armed enemies popping up under a day care center or dining room, spraying a crowd with a machine gun fire or maybe some chemical, exploding a suicide belt or snatching captives and ducking back into the dirt.”

Then, sounding practically like an Israeli spokesperson, Rudoren continued on The Takeaway and CNN to sell the threat of the tunnels to American audiences. In contrast, Anne Barnard’s US media appearance that I was able to locate lacked this type of one-sided tone.

Despite all the attention paid to rockets and tunnels, including four New York Times articles in three weeks, no Israeli civilians have ever been killed in an attack from a tunnel, and Palestinian rockets and mortars have killed a total of 40 Israelis since 2001, six during this current 2014 conflict. On the other hand, I can’t remember ever seeing a New York Times article focusing on Israel’s huge military arsenal which has killed over 8000 Palestinians since 2000. Lethal Israeli F16s, drones, tanks and gun boats that are tearing apart hundreds of Palestinian children seem non-existent and invisible to the paper.

The angle that the US provides billions of dollars in military aid to Israel and that many of Israel’s weapons are made in the US doesn’t evoke any interest from The Times either. Even the US government’s recent decision to resupply Israel with mortars and grenades at the same time that the US government was criticizing Israel’s shelling of a UN school was not deemed newsworthy enough by The Times to break its silence on Israeli weapons.

*       *       *

With a few exceptions, The Times reporting on Israel’s ongoing assault in Gaza has been dreadful and deserves condemnation. The paper has deliberately obscured or lazily failed to examine key events and realities, and presented information in a way that attempts to portray a balanced conflict where both sides are suffering similarly, rather than the reality of a one-sided Israeli massacre of Palestinian civilians. The Times has omitted key facts in a way that hypes threats to Israel while obscuring Israel’s overwhelming power, and control over and brutal repression of Palestinians. All this seems aimed at shielding Israel and the US, Israel’s most dedicated and uncritical backer, from facing the troubling realities that most of the rest of the world now sees. The New York Times has taken on the role of comforting powerful Israeli and US elites, while afflicting the comparatively powerless and brutalized Palestinian people, and obfuscated Israeli war crimes. In all these respects The Times is little different from other US mainstream media outlets, but it is perhaps more important because it is seen as a leader that other US media and US elites follow.

Do I think The New York Times’ coverage is likely to improve following criticism? Unfortunately, after observing The Times’ reporting on Israel and Palestine closely for more than ten years, I don’t think more than marginal change is likely, because these biases seem deeply entrenched at many levels within the paper. What seems more likely is that continued coverage of this sort will further discredit the paper, and more people will turn to alternative sources for their information.

42 Responses

  1. In2u
    August 2, 2014, 3:00 pm

    “John Prescott: Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is a war crime – and it must end”

    Is this the beginning?

    link to mirror.co.uk

    • just
      August 2, 2014, 4:18 pm

      Pretty good, but I don’t get this bit:

      “Compare that to the toll in Gaza. Of the 1,000-plus to die, more than 80 per cent were ­civilians, mostly women and children.

      But who is to say some of the other 20 per cent weren’t ­innocent too? Israel brands them terrorists but it is acting as judge, jury and ­executioner in the ­concentration camp that is Gaza.”

      I totally agree with that, but then he seems to put equal blame on Hamas here:

      “We cannot be a silent witness to this carnage one minute longer. The world must force Israel and Hamas to stop this endless cycle of death.”

      link to mirror.co.uk

      It’s better than silence. Thanks for sharing it In2u. I really get fed up with the labeling of Hamas as only ‘terrorists’– they are the resistance! Aside from that, they are partners in the Unity government of the Palestinian people. The GoI is certainly behaving like genocidal terrorists. If we don’t call out the use of certain words, we’ll never shatter the illusions that Israel has created.

      • In2u
        August 2, 2014, 5:31 pm

        The point I was trying to make is, John Prescott was a former deputy prime minister of UK. It is very rare for a politician of that level to criticise Israel. This might make way for more politicians to speak out about the injustice that has been going on for far too long.

        If that’s the case, I say Onwards and upwards!

      • just
        August 2, 2014, 7:29 pm

        I’m with you on onwards and upwards for sure!

      • Blownaway
        August 2, 2014, 9:58 pm

        Lots of former politicians find their voice on Israel once they get the former title

      • just
        August 2, 2014, 10:17 pm

        I certainly haven’t heard any former US pols finding their voice on Israel.

        I’d be grateful if you could inform me.

        On July 22nd:

        “ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta/AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter says all combat operations must stop, and Israeli troops should withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

        In a statement issued Tuesday through the Carter Center in Atlanta, the former president also said that both sides in the conflict must distinguish between combatants and noncombatants.

        Carter said Israel must ensure that its use of force is “proportionate in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

        “Both sides must distinguish between combatants and noncombatants, and Israel must ensure that its use of force is proportionate in accordance with international humanitarian law. More immediately, all combat operations must stop, and Israeli troops should withdraw from Gaza,” Carter said in the statement.”

        link to atlanta.cbslocal.com

      • Kay24
        August 3, 2014, 8:43 am

        Good point. Normally, when they are in the present mode, they are deaf and mute, daring not to speak out of turn.

        American politicians stay mute even after they are the former.

    • RoHa
      August 2, 2014, 9:15 pm

      Old “two Jags” John is going to offend some people again. Nice to see him sticking up for the sort of values he was supposed to have when he was young.

    • Blownaway
      August 2, 2014, 9:57 pm

      Wishful thinking. Israel knows that the people in power who would be needed to push for war crimes are completely neutered. From Abbas to Obama… Completely cowed. They know that even the most outraged will move in in a few weeks.

      • In2u
        August 2, 2014, 10:38 pm

        “Wishful thinking. Israel knows that the people in power who would be needed to push for war crimes are completely neutered”

        For now yes, but for how much longer? Change doesn’t happen overnight.

        Part 2.
        John Prescott: My Gaza opinions went global but talking is the only solution

        link to mirror.co.uk

  2. SallySnyder
    August 2, 2014, 3:17 pm

    Here is an up-to-date tally of the total number of munitions that both sides of this conflict have used since it began in early July and what it looks like when both sides are under attack:



    link to viableopposition.blogspot.ca

    It is interesting to see an accurate count of how many missiles, shells and rockets each side has used.

    • Bumblebye
      August 2, 2014, 4:48 pm

      Oops!
      “Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist. “

      • Bandolero
        August 2, 2014, 5:30 pm

        Bumblebye

        Remove the garbage in the link after the .html and then it works:

        link to viableopposition.blogspot.ca

      • Bumblebye
        August 2, 2014, 5:59 pm

        I nipped into the archive to see it.
        Interesting.
        To Aug 1, rockets and mortars from Gaza to Israel 4,169
        Missiles, naval and tank shells from Israel to Gaza 21,324

        That’s numerically over 5 times as much from Israel, not even considering killing/destructive power.

      • tree
        August 2, 2014, 6:20 pm

        That’s numerically over 5 times as much from Israel, not even considering killing/destructive power.

        I agree and I see the comparison of Palestinian rockets to Israeli weaponry to be one of the weak points of this article. It is comparing the warhead explosive weight of the Israeli weapons with the overall weight of the Palestinian rocket, rather than the warhead explosive weight. This overstates the lethality of the rockets (explosive weight always being much smaller than total rocket weight) and thus makes the 5:1 ratio a significant understatement.

      • Kay24
        August 3, 2014, 8:45 am

        Much as the lie about the deadly rockets (that have killed maybe 3 so far)
        there is NO comparison when it comes to military might, and the deadlier weapons. It is almost a joke that Israel keep howling about those deadly weapons, when theirs is killing more and more and nearing 2000 Palestinians now.

    • Citizen
      August 3, 2014, 5:17 am

      I went to the url and it says the page does not exist.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 3, 2014, 5:18 pm

        works for me, i just tried it

  3. Bumblebye
    August 2, 2014, 4:20 pm

    A few nights ago, Rudoren popped up being interviewed by the bbc (radio), burbling on about the rocket notification app. The bbc has also been pretty awful in its coverage. Today, it seems the ‘body count’ has started all over again – instead of referring to the sum total of the dead, every bulletin I’ve heard refers ONLY to the dead since the breakdown of the (non) ceasefire as 200 (and that was just the first day!). But another 80 or so have died today. The number killed in this onslaught must now be over 1700, but is being minimized by this kind of reporting. Are they trying to create a sort of ‘amnesia’ amongst most of the public?

    • eGuard
      August 2, 2014, 5:57 pm

      BBC is horrible. To compensate, one can take a look at this. Not for the BBC journalism quality (absent), but for the total response.

      Ilan Pappe is interviewed on BBC’s HARDtalk, by Zionist journalist Stephen Sackur.
      Great Pappe quotes: “This is flimsy” (Morris writing about what could have happened); 10:30. “This is a rediculous summary of my work”; 19:35.

      link to youtube.com (last June?; h/t Tony Greenstein from Brighton).

  4. Daniel Rich
    August 2, 2014, 4:26 pm

    Guard dogs, attack dogs, dogs of war and very drunk dogs…

    ” Voight blasted the actors [Cruz, Bardem] this morning with his own Open letter saying they have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel” – Johnny ‘Where’s the ff-ing Bottle’ Vomit Voight

  5. Taxi
    August 2, 2014, 4:39 pm

    OT but a related media moment: Israel/Palestine, Russell Brand versus Sean Hannity, Round 2:

  6. John Douglas
    August 2, 2014, 4:42 pm

    “As of August 1, 2014 the summary notes “3,834 targets in Gaza struck by Israel” versus “2909 rockets launched at Israel by Gaza,” a ratio of 1.32 to 1.”

    Comparing targets struck with missiles launched? This couldn’t be inadvertent stupidity. Why not compare targets struck on both sides?

  7. bilal a
    August 2, 2014, 4:51 pm

    The Israeli-American cultural milieu:

    ” the only time any Palestinian speaks in the nearly hour-long video is when Gary Rudoren sends his dirty clothes to a local laundromat.

    “There are some very nice Arab guys that do a very good job with the cleaning,” he informs his viewers before handing a pile of laundry to an unidentified Palestinian man whom he greets in English.

    link to electronicintifada.net

    disgusting what these people have done to America

  8. tree
    August 2, 2014, 5:12 pm

    Max Blumenthal has a piece up on Electronic Intifada about Rudoren’s Zionist bubble in West Jerusalem, and her private chat with Foxman.

    link to electronicintifada.net

    In a March 2014 interview in Hadassah Magazine, the official publication of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, conducted by Charley Levine, a settler and Israeli army spokesperson who operates a pro-Israel public relations firm, Jodi Rudoren explained that her motivation to apply for the Times job in Jerusalem stemmed from her first trip to Israel.

    “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,” she told Levine. “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.”

    Since Rudoren entered her position in Jerusalem, criticism of her work has accumulated, prompting her to complain, “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.”

    Rudoren added, “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.”

    Eventually, Rudoren conceded, “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 video produced by Gary Rudoren provides clear confirmation of the Israeli-centric outlook that colors Jodi Rudoren’s coverage. More importantly, it offers a sense of the insular, ethnocentric environment the Rudorens have embedded themselves in, presenting an almost absurd portrait of a couple of Jewish-American Brooklynites basking in the exclusively Jewish culture of West Jerusalem while casually shielding out the presence of Palestinians.

    Indeed, the only time any Palestinian speaks in the nearly hour-long video is when Gary Rudoren sends his dirty clothes to a local laundromat.

    “There are some very nice Arab guys that do a very good job with the cleaning,” he informs his viewers before handing a pile of laundry to an unidentified Palestinian man whom he greets in English.

    Reminiscent of other racist colonial mentalities…

    More at link.

  9. michelle
    August 2, 2014, 6:20 pm

    .
    is there a ‘popular’ U.S. newspaper
    that would offer balanced reading
    if not there should be
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  10. James Canning
    August 2, 2014, 7:18 pm

    The NYT in effect facilitates Bibi Netanyahu’s programme of growing the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank. Which requires blocking any Unity government of Hamas and Fatah. And requires periodic slaughters of Palestinians in Gaza.

  11. Donald
    August 2, 2014, 7:36 pm

    The Kershner article today in the NYT about Israeli and Hamas tactics was really bad.

    link

    She softened the Dahiya doctrine and took out explicit mention of destroying villages where rocket fire comes from. The wikipedia entry was honest. Last time I checked (five seconds ago), the very first sentence mentions how it is meant to target civilian infrastructure and make civilians suffer.

    link to wikipedia article

    • Kay24
      August 3, 2014, 8:48 am

      Absolutely right Donald, I just read your link, and it sounds horribly like this.

  12. In2u
    August 2, 2014, 9:03 pm

    AN OPEN LETTER TO WESTERN MEDIA
    From an angry Muslim woman

    link to medium.com

  13. Citizen
    August 3, 2014, 5:25 am

    Candid video reveals NYT bureau chief Jodi Rudoren’s Zionist bubble link to electronicintifada.net via @intifada

  14. Vera Gottlieb
    August 3, 2014, 9:50 am

    After the disgraceful job the NYT did before/during/after the Iraq attack…not even for free would I care to read this newspaper. Zionists seem to excel at twisting truth to fit their lie.

  15. Hostage
    August 3, 2014, 9:54 am

    Urban Dictionary Human Shield: role played by US representative to the UN Security Council during debates about the adoption of sanctions against Israel.

  16. piotr
    August 3, 2014, 10:49 am

    I am not sure if Kershner “softened” Dahiya doctrine, but surely she is guilty of presenting as facts speculative and self-serving statements of Israeli officials, and of course, removing the context. For example, the “fact” that Hezbollah leadership was in Dahiya, which is a speculation at best, and even if they were in Dahiya, they would be in shelters much more sophisticated than whatever Hamas can build, so “flattening Dahiya” had purely terroristic effect, inflicted on about 100,000 people. It also accepts the statement that a soldier was captured, which is far from clear: either he was simply killed, or captured and killed in a strange corollary to Dahiya doctrine, Hannibal directive: flatten the neighborhood where an Israeli soldier was captured to kill the soldiers, armed opponents and civilians, to avoid the calamity of negotiating about that soldier.

    This is a truly bizarre doctrine. When an American was captured by Taliban, was there any outrage that it was particularly barbaric to capture him, rather than shoot dead? In fact, there were no stories whatsoever about him until he got released and treated with hostility by his compatriots. That is somewhat less weird, an old tradition views prisoners of war as traitors. But in this context, this is not a local American tradition (I know no examples), but a newer tradition that any person associated with an action of left-of-center President is reviled by the right-of-center talking heads. That is not out of the ordinary (in terms of word wide occurrence). But Hannibal directive seems uniquely weird.

    Apart from that, some interesting facts were given in the article. For example, of 31 tunnels discovered by IDF, 11 lead to the border. The other 20 were used as defensive structures by the fighters, and discovering them requires to enter buildings.

    It stands to reason that if the opponent flattens any structure occupied by fighters, then the only way fighters can fight is to dig some shelters, or more generally, occupy positions for ambushes. A “network” of such tunnels would have to count in hundreds, mostly very short. A cart blanche to destroy all tunnels is a permission to IDF to enter and destroy any building. If fighters are in such a building and they do not simply surrender, then this would be a violation and the neighborhood will be flattened. If they not only shoot back but also capture a soldier, then this is presented to the world as “unusual barbarism” (the neighborhood would be flattened in any case). This is Pax Israeliana. But is it a ceasefire as a practice in other places would suggest, not to mention the poor dictionary that is one of the victims here?

  17. peeesss
    August 3, 2014, 1:01 pm

    Sickening. 2,000 dead all innocents, civilians, men , woman and children. And yes the Palestinian fighters called militants, terrorists ,

    yes HAMAS. All 1500 fighters , Palestinians, against the might of the 4th.strongest , largest military in the world.. 86,000 soldiers are

    engaged in combat armed to the teeth with the most modern weapons of death , furnished by the United States and our great Liberal,

    Progressive African American President.. Obama says it is heartbreaking to witness the civilian casualties. Yet he has just

    re supplied Israel with more weapons. guns, ammunition, rockets, mortars

    missile’s to kill more Palestinian babies. And , of course, complete diplomatic backing. 450 children dead, thousands maimed for life,

    without parents, siblings, grandparents, friends. School, hospitals, Mosques, power plants, refugee centers, whole neighborhoods and

    homes demolished, no electricity , no water. Obama says repeatedly that “Israel has the right to defend themselves”. What f……..g

    world am I living in.. He made a big thing about an Israeli soldier supposedly captured by Hamas. A soldier of an invading Army

    , armed to the teeth, to kill Palestinians is , somehow, a figure of sympathy . But not his unarmed victims, men, woman and children.

    Even this was BS as Israel admitted he was killed in battle. Many sources say he was killed deliberately by the moral Israeli Offence

    Forces rather than having him be prisoner and thus be a possible negotiating instrument.. So as Israel violates every law , humane

    moral, international our “Israeli Occupied Congress” passes unanimous resolutions praising Israel, granting hundreds of million

    dollars more for more war, military funding. Israeli politicians and citizens talk of mass murder, extermination, genocide which

    coincide with US citizens and politicians joining in this rampant hatred, racism against Palestinians that permeates Zionist ideology. .The people of Gaza

    of 2,000,000 50% under the age of 16 are refugees or ancestors of refugees and now being slaughtered for the third time in 5 years while the world

    is silent. This racist State of Israel ‘s policies toward the Palestinian people have been described by leaders in South Africa as far

    worse than what they had to endure under the white Racist Government of Aparthied .South Africa. . So as this massacre continues I

    stand on the side of the victims and those that try to defend them, call them Hamas, militants, Terrorists. They are Palestinian

    resistance fighters just like the French resistance, the Jewish Resistance, against the Nazi’s. . The Hasbara, and Israeli occupied

    mainstream media can scream Hamas, Hamas, Hamas all they want. I shout back, refugees, occupied, resistance. , Palestinian.

  18. adele
    August 3, 2014, 3:24 pm

    It used to be that peddling the Israeli version of events was a career-builder….seems like more and more that is no longer the case. It now makes you a laughing stock among your peers and discredits you in the eyes of many viewers, especially the younger audience .

    PS: regarding the expose Max Blumenthal did on the Rudorens, the Rudorens have now made that video private (the implications being obvious). Not only has she become a laughing stock within the media world, but this reflects really poorly on the NYT. I think the NYT will be forced to do something about it…not sure what their response will be but I don’t think they will be able to ignore it. The NYT encourages their journalists to be visible on social media but Rudoren is proving to be a liability.

  19. piotr
    August 4, 2014, 9:06 am

    The Rudioren’s article today is definitely an improvement. The tone is anodyne, but the facts are like a recitation of evidence for war crimes trial: link to nytimes.com

  20. piotr
    August 4, 2014, 9:36 am

    I lost edits in the previous posting. This article is important, and if you cannot read it, I will make a summary: the closing words:
    Most are still staying in the shelter. On Wednesday night, Asma Ghabin, who had 10 stitches in her thigh where doctors had removed shrapnel, lay with her two toddler sons on a thin mattress, in the same spot where she had been wounded hours before.

    Ben Hubbard reported from Jabaliya, and Jodi Rudoren from Jerusalem. Fares Akram contributed reporting from Gaza.

    NYT reporters established the pattern of using large caliber long distance artillery, “effective in 50 yard radius”, “impossible to target precisely”, “inappropriate for urban setting”, with no evidence of threat to which IDF was allegedly responding, and total nonsense spouted by IDF, as responsible for the latest, and at least some of the prior school incidents.

    And, for a good measure, a Palestinian voice:
    link to nytimes.com

    A cynic can see a pattern of NYT supporting Administration first (no Israeli firsters there!). And the de facto policy is to let Israel have its fun, taking care of the paranoid security needs, but with LIMITS. After killing of 1500, Israel should REALLY wind it down. But it does not. Plus, there were fresh insults of Obama. So Israel should brace herself for a certain dose of “second guessing”.

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