Trending Topics:

David Brooks’s son joining Israel army is an ‘extreme case’ — NYT public editor

US Politics
on 23 Comments

As you surely know, the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree, and the son of New York Times columnist David Brooks has joined the Israeli army; Brooks disclosed the service in an interview in Israel in which he spoke of himself as an Israeli parent. Now the New York Times Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, has weighed in. She quotes a person or two who are outraged over Brooks’s son’s service, and editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal saying it is no big deal:

“I do not think he ever had an obligation to say that his son made this choice, any more than if his son had joined the U.S. Air Force.”

Sullivan begs to differ. She says the matter should be disclosed in the New York Times.

In general, I agree with Mr. Rosenthal about columnists and their family members. I don’t think readers usually need to know what the spouses of columnists think or what brothers do for a living, or whether a daughter has joined the U.S. Army. But this situation strikes me as a more extreme case. Mr. Brooks’s son is serving as a member of a foreign military force that has been involved in a serious international conflict – one that the columnist sometimes writes about and which has been very much in the news.

I strongly disagree with those who say Mr. Brooks should no longer write about Israel. But I do think that a one-time acknowledgement of this situation in print (not in an interview with another publication) is completely reasonable.

Will the Times follow through? (Adam says the Times won’t.)

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach jumps on Sullivan’s commentary:

Incredible. The @NYT attacks it’s [sic] own columnist David brooks because his son serves in IDF.

About Philip Weiss

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

Other posts by .


Posted In:

23 Responses

  1. seafoid
    October 8, 2014, 3:34 pm

    “I do not think he ever had an obligation to say that his son made this choice, any more than if his son had joined the U.S. Air Force.”

    Yes but what if he joined ISIS?
    Oh, I just remembered . ISIS doesn’t kill children.

    • Ellen
      October 8, 2014, 3:48 pm

      I also found that defensive comment and justification by Rosenthal odd, if not disingenuous.

      If Brooks were writing and commenting on the US Air Force, yes a disclosure that any close family member is in the service would be obligated.

      And that says nothing about Rosenthal confusing in his mind an arm of the US military and that of a foreign country, namely the IDF.

      • RoHa
        October 9, 2014, 12:36 am

        I seldom speculate on other people’s beliefs (aside from my blanket assumption that they are all crazy) but I will suggest that perhaps Rosenthal does not think of Israel as a foreign country, and does not see a distinction between US forces and Israel forces.

        (Not always easy for some of the rest of us to see, either, but for different reasons.)

      • Krauss
        October 9, 2014, 1:30 am

        I also found that defensive comment and justification by Rosenthal odd, if not disingenuous.

        Rosenthal is a Zionist, he protects his own.

        By the way, nobody should be surprised if his own children or the children of Rosenthal’s own family has served in the IDF.

    • Talkback
      October 9, 2014, 8:41 am

      @ Seafoid

      “ISIS doesn’t kill children.”

      Maybe because ISIS doesn’t follow Israel’s Dahiya doctrine.

      • seafoid
        October 9, 2014, 12:57 pm

        It’s more like a Nazi doctrine.

      • seafoid
        October 9, 2014, 12:58 pm

        Lidice doctrine perhaps

    • Reds
      October 15, 2014, 10:06 pm

      NPR agrees with Mr. Rosenthal

      “We appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns regarding David Brooks.
      David Brooks is an opinion columnist for The New York Times. He appears on NPR’s All Things Considered to offer his opinions, not as a reporter.

      Mr. Brooks’ son’s service with the Israeli Defense Forces is no secret. NPR agrees with the Times’ editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, that Mr. Brooks’ long-standing views about Israel have been “formed by all kinds of things … [and] are not going to change whether or not his son is serving in the IDF, beyond his natural concerns as a father for his son’s safety and well-being.”

      NPR also agrees with the Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, that Mr. Brooks should not be barred from commenting about Israel. She has recommended that he address the issue of his son’s service in the IDF in a future column.

      If a situation arises and we feel he should also mention it on our air, NPRmanagement will discuss that with Mr. Brooks at that time.

      What you hear on the air, or on NPR.org, is governed by a strong code of ethics and practices. These standards are in place to protect and support the integrity, impartiality and conduct of our journalists. We encourage you to review the code, which is posted online at http://www.npr.org/about/aboutnpr/ethics/ethics_code.html.

      Additionally, NPR has an Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is the public’s representative to NPR, serving as an independent source of information, explanation, amplification and analysis for the public regarding NPR’s programming. For more information about the role of the NPR Ombudsman, please visit http://www.npr.org/2012/08/02/6407004/mission-and-mandate-the-ombudsman-at-npr.

      Thank you for listening to NPR, and for your continued support of public broadcasting. For the latest news and information, visit NPR.org.”

      Thought you and others might be interested.

  2. seafoid
    October 8, 2014, 3:36 pm

    Let’s hope Brooks’ son doesn’t commit suicide like other American IDF warriors.

    And a number of IDF soldiers who fought in Gaza recently have been choosing suicide rather frequently as well. But it’s not as if Zionism gives a f#ck about them. Manifest destiny.

  3. seafoid
    October 8, 2014, 3:40 pm

    The @NYT attacks it’s [sic]

    Orthodox education , tsk tsk.
    And it’s not like Shmuley has any empathy to fall back on either.

  4. American
    October 8, 2014, 4:05 pm

    Is there such a thing as too stupid to exist? There may be.
    Brooks ‘s son isnt unusual, these Zionist Jews actually believe US Jews have no obligation to the US, military or any other kind.
    The casino King didnt even blink at saying in public he regrets serving in the US military and wishes it had been Israel.
    And listen to this guy:

    Jewish Leader Attacked at Brooklyn Nets Game by Pro-Palestinian Demonstrators
    Leonard Petlakh Suffers Broken Nose in Barclay’s Fracas

    ”Petlakh said that the protestors were yelling obscenities and that he had to ask them to move out of his way after the game. That was when a protestor filming the scene on his camera phone punched him, causing a bloody scene.

    He said he was angry that his children witnessed the attack after the game, but hoped they learned a lesson about self-defense.

    “I hope it sends a strong message to them to stand up for their values as proud Americans and as those who will eventually volunteer to serve in the Israel Defense Forces,” Petlakh said.

    Read more: http://forward.com/articles/207067/jewish-leader-attacked-at-brooklyn-nets-game-by-pr/#ixzz3FaJaE3oX

    What ‘proud American value’ and what is ‘American’ about going to serve in the Isr IDF?
    Too stupid to exist?—I think so.
    Cruising for a bruising.
    They arent Americans.

  5. just
    October 8, 2014, 4:06 pm

    “Mr. Brooks’s son is serving as a member of a foreign military force that has been involved in a serious international conflict – one that the columnist sometimes writes about and which has been very much in the news.”

    Good for you Margaret.

    It’s also a foreign military funded in large part by many US taxpayers who are against this and other IOF genocidal massacres. Brooks is a very visible paid pontificator who gives full- throated support to Israel and US warmongering.

    (I also think that other editorial writers should divulge whether they have family serving in any conflict. It gives context to the reader.)

  6. Kay24
    October 8, 2014, 5:32 pm

    No amount of words can change the obvious. No human being can have a child serving in some nation’s armed forces, and NOT feel even a little bit of bias for that nation, and certainly cannot be trusted to write articles without feeling that iota of bias. I know how the howling hordes of zionists would have reacted, how the media would have covered this, had this kid decided to join the Iranian army. But this is for dear Israel, and we must all act like he is fighting for the US.
    Hmmm maybe he uses US made weapons, so that would be okay.

  7. seafoid
    October 8, 2014, 5:33 pm

    http://www.haaretz.com/misc/iphone-article/.premium-1.614426

    “On August 20, Mr. Netanyahu was recorded on film expressing his deep shock at the beheading of an American journalist by the knife of an Islamic State murderer. Truly, a wicked deed.

    On August 19, just one day before that horrific execution, the prime minister approved the killing of an 8-month-old baby together with his mother, in the hope that the father would be with them and also be killed. ”

    Joining the IDF is a sign of a disturbed mind
    No identity is worth the life of a child.

  8. Shingo
    October 8, 2014, 7:38 pm

    Boatech is such a hypocritical moron. He’d be squealing like a banshee if a NYT columnist was a member of the PLO.

    No less absurd is Brooks’ reference to himself as an Israel parent. Shouldn’t he come xlean about not considering himself American?

    • Kay24
      October 9, 2014, 7:45 am

      They are basically not true Americans. Their loyalties go to Israel first. They are here to benefit from the US, and do whatever it takes to keep the Israeli narrative going. They are here to do the dirty work for Israel.
      As many comments here show, their first instinct is to join/support the IDF, not the US armed forces. All this, and our kids have to lose blood and lives to fight the battles to protect Israel.
      It is utterly disgusting that our politicians and other leaders keep putting up with this shet.

  9. bilal a
    October 8, 2014, 10:52 pm

    Talk is cheap, why aren’t you taking action? Show me what you’ve done to actually stop Ebola. And if enough Muslims had really condemned Ebola like you claim, it wouldn’t be spreading, now would it?

    Redditors mock ‘Islamophobia’ by denouncing a deadly virus.
    http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201410081451-0024222

  10. Krauss
    October 9, 2014, 1:33 am

    Sullivan isn’t correct to suggest that this is an “extreme case”. It is actually a very, very common case inside the NYT.

    We’ve uncovered three so far, how many more?

    And by the way, for Rosenthal to say that it’s the same thing as if being in the U.S. Air Force as in an occupying apartheid army is really indicative of his own mindset. This is why you can’t have a serious discussion about Israel. And as long as Rosenthal remains the Op-Ed editor, that won’t change.

    • Boomer
      October 9, 2014, 9:22 am

      Krauss, as you note, “to say that it’s the same thing as if being in the U.S. Air Force . . . is really indicative of his own mindset.” RoHa made a similar comment above, (but there was no “reply” button so I couldn’t express agreement there):

      “perhaps Rosenthal does not think of Israel as a foreign country, and does not see a distinction between US forces and Israel forces.”

      This is actually a rather common attitude among some past and present elected officials in DC as well as among some of their supporters. Jane Harman comes to mind, for example.

      I would merely add to your comment that Rosenthal’s job as Op-Ed editor, while relevant, isn’t the most fundamental source of this attitude at the NYT. Ownership matters.

      • Mooser
        October 11, 2014, 2:01 pm

        “to say that it’s the same thing as if being in the U.S. Air Force . . . is really indicative of his own mindset.”

        Concerning the mind-set in the US Air Force, you might want to Google a guy named “Mikey Weinstein”

        He can tell you all about it.

  11. American
    October 9, 2014, 9:23 am

    I naturally disagree with the tribalist Rosenthal– but I also disagree with Sullivan in this…

    ”In general, I agree with Mr. Rosenthal about columnists and their family members. I don’t think readers usually need to know what the spouses of columnists think or what brothers do for a living, or whether a daughter has joined the U.S. Army. “”

    Anyone who is given a ‘public platform’ from which he can influence or misinform the pubic –columnist, politicians, whoever, —should have to reveal any and all interest that may be ‘conflicts of interest’.

    The conflicts of interest rule is another democratic tool that has been destroyed by special interest, ethic identities and etc..

  12. tumblin_tom
    October 10, 2014, 5:49 pm

    It says on my American passport that I risk losing my American citizenship if I join another country’s military. Double standard, no?

  13. palijustice
    October 12, 2014, 12:28 pm

    Interesting that is on passports. Then that’s what should be done with Book’s son.

    Brooks is also a commentator on NPR and PBS. a disclosure about his son in the Israeli army is needed there as well. Otherwise, he shouldn’t comment on the mideast.

Leave a Reply