‘NYT’ editors twist themselves into knots not to say the word ‘Jewish’

US Politics
on 41 Comments

This is funny in an elephant-in-the-room sort of way. The New York Times posted a video to its Facebook page on Tuesday of the next Jerusalem bureau chief, Peter Baker, getting a primer about his new assignment from former bureau chiefs Jodi Rudoren and James Bennet, both of whom are now big editors at the paper, and Rudoren and Bennet repeatedly describe the fishbowl pressures on a New York Times reporter in Jerusalem and the closeness between Israel and the United States– but never actually use the word Jewish in doing so. During 25 minutes of palaver, the word “Jewish” occurs just once, when Rudoren refers to the Jewish National Fund.

The omission is entertaining because gee, everyone knows that a lot of the pressure on the Times is from Jewish groups, and the Times is owned by Jews; but Rudoren, now a deputy international editor, and Bennet, the paper’s editorial page editor, can only talk about all the “Americans” who are invested in Israel. Watch the contortions:

Rudoren: I mean it’s very interesting how America and Washington are perceived there. I mean it’s such an important part of life there, whether it’s because there’s a huge amount of Americans there, there’s also so much American philanthropy. There’s American names on so many buildings.

Bennet: Americans on both sides.

Rudoren: Correct. I mean a huge amount of Palestinian-American money yeah, also involved in things. And the foreign policy relationship and aid relationship is the defining thing in a lot of ways… Because Israel is so connected with America culturally, policy wise, alliance-wise, it’s not a distant sense of how they perceive America.

It’s not as if everyone in the room isn’t thinking, Jewish. I’ve been in Israel and the settlements: the names on buildings are Jewish ones. Blooomberg, Adelson, and so on.

The story-behind-the-story is that Baker is not Jewish and his appointment breaks a string of Jewish bureau chiefs for the Jewish-owned newspaper, including Rudoren and Bennet (who is of Polish-Jewish descent, according to Wikipedia). Rudoren has exhibited frank ethnocentrism: she has repeatedly given speeches to Jewish-American groups, seemed to pitch a lot of her coverage to American Jewish readers, and once told Hadassah of her assignment: “I come knowledgeable about the Jewish American or Jewish Israeli side of this beat.”

But then Peter Baker asks about the America-Israel relationship, and Rudoren and Bennet tuck into euphemisms.

Can we expect these editors to address questions of the U.S. Jewish community’s influence over foreign policy honestly? Forget about it. This issue is just too loaded for them personally and institutionally to say one plain word about it in public. And yes, in fairness, a component of their inhibition is that Jew-baiting/anti-semitism charges have been swirling throughout the election campaign and the Times has been in the crosshairs.

But the result is that readers are turning elsewhere to learn about something they have a right to know. Why, just yesterday +972 wrote directly of a “Jewish American billionaire” pouring huge amounts of money into Israeli politics, and Jewish Insider reported that Jewish conservatives are boycotting the Republican convention because as one of them says, Trump “has gone out of his way to offend Republican donors, especially the Jewish ones at the RJC [Republican Jewish Coalition]. Why attend a party that celebrates the defeat of the donor class?” Jews are important.

Another omission: throughout the Facebook session, Rudoren uses the word “Israeli” instead of Jewish Israeli, which is unfair to the 20 percent of that society that is not Jewish. It is like speaking of “southerners'” attitudes in the Jim Crow era when you are only talking about the white ones. And she rationalizes Israeli racism. When Bennet says that people in Israel and Palestine are more “raw and candid” than folks here, Rudoren says:

And also blunt and racist in a way that’s just different from America… It’s blunter there, but it is also more rooted in experience. It’s not based on some stereotype. It’s based on, “Every Israeli I know has acted in this way.” Or, “My cousin was killed by a suicide bomber.” It’s not based on kind of an idea, it’s based on experience.

Thanks to Adam Horowitz.

About Philip Weiss

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

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41 Responses

  1. Rooster
    July 14, 2016, 12:22 pm

    Most fascinatingly repulsive to me were Rudoren’s comments re: “zero sum empathy.” that is in having empathy for one, it requires (or to her readers it was perceived as) one to reduce empathy for the other.

    But I find this position itself to be consistent with supporting zionism, that is an exclusive, colonial, ethnosupremacist position, not with single-state, who support equality across-the-board, and are thus genuinely empathetic to both parties.

    She therefore taints the political movement towards Palestinian equal rights, or Israeli anti-apartheidism, with zionism. A perversely false equivalence.

  2. Shmuel
    July 14, 2016, 12:36 pm

    And also blunt and racist in a way that’s just different from America… It’s blunter there, but it is also more rooted in experience. It’s not based on some stereotype. It’s based on, “Every Israeli I know has acted in this way.” Or, “My cousin was killed by a suicide bomber.” It’s not based on kind of an idea, it’s based on experience.

    Classic apology for racism.

    I was also intrigued by Rudoren’s “huge amount of Palestinian-American money” (somehow comparable to “[Jewish-]American money” in Israel, as “such an important part of life there”), with an assist from Bennet. Fake balance is par for the course, but this is a real whopper.

    • Annie Robbins
      July 14, 2016, 12:47 pm

      shmuel, i was astounded by her reference:

      Bennet: Americans on both sides.

      Rudoren: Correct. I mean a huge amount of Palestinian-American money yeah, also involved in things.

      she can’t say (or even allude to) ‘jewish-american’ but palestinian-american money is “huge”?

      • eljay
        July 14, 2016, 12:56 pm

        || Annie Robbins: … she can’t say (or even allude to) ‘jewish-american’ but palestinian-american money is “huge”? ||

        As any hophmi will tell you, the mere suggestion that “Jewish-American money” exists (never mind a “huge amount” of it) is anti-Semitic. Perhaps Rudoren just wanted to avoid being labelled a “self-loathing Jew”.

      • hophmi
        July 14, 2016, 8:15 pm

        It is. Look at this piece, and all of the others in which Phil notes that the owner of the Times is Jewish, and suggests that it’s not possible for Jews to cover the Middle East objectively. I’ve never seen him suggest that Christians cannot cover Europe objectively or that Muslims cannot cover the Middle East objectively.

      • Mooser
        July 14, 2016, 11:31 pm

        “Phil notes that the owner of the Times is Jewish, and suggests that it’s not possible for Jews to cover the Middle East objectively. – “

        Uh,”Hophmi” , is Phil saying Jews can’t, or is he saying that so far, they haven’t?

        Would you like to suggest a Jew who can cover the Middle East objectively? Who would you choose?

      • Annie Robbins
        July 14, 2016, 11:56 pm

        Uh,”Hophmi” , is Phil saying Jews can’t, or is he saying that so far, they haven’t?

        mooser, i wouldn’t even bite at hop’s BS.. this is another of his (strawman) arguments based on what he claims phil “suggests” — as if there is not plenty of things phil actually writes he could critique. no, he wants to argue his ‘hypothetical phil’ who says what hops wants to argue against. phil would not say it is “not possible” for a jew to cover the ME objectively. period. when hops says stupid crap to set a trap, just ask him which sentence did phil “suggest” a jew couldn’t cover the ME objectively. like phil’s gonna pan himself and a whole slew of his colleagues who are jewish — many of whom are contributors here. pleeeasse!

      • RoHa
        July 14, 2016, 11:33 pm

        OK, so it’s anti-Semitic. Is it true?

      • Mooser
        July 15, 2016, 12:45 am

        “mooser, i wouldn’t even bite at hop’s BS.”

        You are right.”Hophmi” is still arguing with “fall-away” Phil.
        He’s jealous of Phil’s Pablo Christiani designer suits.

      • eljay
        July 15, 2016, 9:06 am

        || hophmi: … Look at this piece, and all of the others in which Phil notes that the owner of the Times is Jewish, and suggests that it’s not possible for Jews to cover the Middle East objectively. … ||

        I’m sure it is possible for Jews (and non-Jews) to cover the Middle East objectively. What is not possible is objective coverage by Jewish (and non-Jewish) Zio-supremacists – people who believe that Jews are entitled:
        – to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine; and
        – to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them.

      • hophmi
        July 15, 2016, 12:24 pm

        Why is it necessary to repeat again and again the religion of the owner of the Times? What is the purpose? There’s no evidence that it has anything to do with the Times’ coverage of Israel anymore than Rupert Murdoch’s Christianity has to do with the New York Post or Wall Street Journal’s coverage.

        I’d like an explanation of that. C’mon, Phil, stop hiding behind your sycophants.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 15, 2016, 1:13 pm

        Why is it necessary to repeat again and again the religion of the owner of the Times?

        so that would be a “no”, you can’t be bothered to copy/paste what phil says that you think suggests he means it’s impossible for a Jew to cover the Middle East objectively.

        by these standards the government of israel suggests it’s impossible for a Jew to cover the Middle East objectively because they keep repeating over and over israel is “the jewish state”. Why is it necessary to repeat again and again the religion of the state? isn’t that anti semitic? it just conflates all jews with israel. it suggests all jews are implicated in israel’s actions.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 15, 2016, 1:21 pm

        I’d like an explanation of that. C’mon, [hops], stop hiding behind your sycophants.

        explain this:

        And also blunt and racist in a way that’s just different from California … It’s blunter in the south, but it is also more rooted in experience. It’s not based on some stereotype. It’s based on, “Every black person I know has acted in this way.” Or, “My cousin was killed by a black thug.” It’s not based on kind of an idea, it’s based on experience.

        and not a peep out of you!

      • Keith
        July 15, 2016, 1:39 pm

        HOPHMI- “Look at this piece, and all of the others in which Phil notes that the owner of the Times is Jewish, and suggests that it’s not possible for Jews to cover the Middle East objectively.”

        Not only that, but he suggested that Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk might be biased in favor of Israel. Go figure. How long before he suggests that even you might have a smidgen of pro-Israel bias? Phil’s problem is that he fails to realize that it is a serious breach of tribal solidarity to even mention tribal solidarity.

      • Keith
        July 15, 2016, 2:03 pm

        HOPHMI- “Why is it necessary to repeat again and again the religion of the owner of the Times?”

        Perhaps if the NYT wasn’t so obviously biased in its coverage, it wouldn’t be. Since it is, and since the ideology of organized Jewry, religious and secular, is strongly biased in support of Israel, the ideological orientation of the ownership and much of upper management suggests a reason for this obvious bias, therefore, it is highly relevant. Again you bounce between religion, ethnicity, tradition and culture to define Jewishness to suit your argument such as it is. As for that jerk Rupert Murdoch, do you have evidence that he is a member of a powerful Christian group with an agenda? If so, lets hear it. A Christian Zionist, perhaps?

      • hophmi
        July 16, 2016, 9:30 am

        Apparently, Phil is content to let the white supremacists answer for him.

      • Keith
        July 16, 2016, 11:02 am

        HOPHMI- “Apparently, Phil is content to let the white supremacists answer for him.”

        More name-calling from our one trick pony.

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2016, 1:33 pm

        “More name-calling from our one trick pony.”

        “Keith”, I am still, to this day, flabbergasted, amazed that “Hophmi” had the unmitigated gall to return after this little canter around the ring. Seems like swan song for a horse’s ass to me.

        I will forego printing it out, this time, unless somebody is in need of a powerful emetic. It’s pure rhetorical ipecac. Print it out and paste on the inside door of the medicine cabinet for emergencies.

      • echinococcus
        July 16, 2016, 2:57 pm

        Thank you, Mooser, for the link. I don’t know how I missed Hpfmi’s twelve-volume masterpiece,
        It reads like the complete manual of the Prime Minister’s direct- reporting Propagandaabteilung ( to members only, not to be shown in public.) Heck, it IS the internal propaganda manual.
        They just forgot to test before recruitment for the mental ability to know the difference between members and the public.

      • hophmi
        July 16, 2016, 3:16 pm

        Print it, Mooser. I’m proud of it, and it’s true. That’s why you obsessively link to it. Or drop the court jester act and tell me what part is wrong. The Middle East is a mess. Is it the fault of Israel? Is it the fault of the Jews? The owner of the Times is a secular assimilated Jew. Maybe it’s his fault.

        Or is it because these societies are seriously ill, and, because some of them are fabulously wealthy, they export their illnesses elsewhere? And why is it that the radical left, whose compatriots are often the victims of these ill societies, apologize for them, remain silent, or adopt their diversionary tactic of blaming Israel for their problems?

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2016, 6:11 pm

        Print it Mooser, I’m proud of it, and it’s true”

        Okay, If you’re “proud of it” and “it’s true”:

        “This analysis is nothing new. It is typical of Phil’s writing, which suggests, as it always does, the Phil has internalized anti-Jewish hatred, and like those secularist Jews in Europe who looked down upon their brethren or converted to Christianity to escape their Judaism, Phil adopts the classic tropes of the self-hater….Self-hatred is a disease. It is a sad disease borne of many generations of persecution, but it is a disease. And Phil is afflicted with it, as many Jews have been in the past. And it is usually the self-haters who cause the worst damage to the Jewish community, precisely because of how small it is.

        American Jewry, and the American-Israel relationship will survive the Phils of this world. American Jews, long a positive force in American society, will continue to be, far into the future, and Israel will endure, far into the future. The Phils will fall away, as they always do.”

        Yuppers’ “Hophmi” is proud of that. Not proud enough to print it under his own name, but as he explained in the MLI thread, anonymity is the heart of outreach.

        Nor has he ever linked to a goddam thing to show that “the “disease” of “Jewish self-hatred” exists, or is anything but a charged used by the lowest and most scurrilous of Jews to try and manipulate their fellow Jews. Just another wonderful expression of tribal unity.

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2016, 6:32 pm

        Heck, I don’t know, maybe that passage from “Hophmi” speaks for the ‘fundamental honesty’ of the Modern Orthodox sect.

      • Keith
        July 16, 2016, 6:38 pm

        HOPHMI- “The Middle East is a mess. Is it the fault of Israel? Is it the fault of the Jews?”

        The Middle East is a mess largely due to the machinations of Western imperialism, of which Jews and Israel are an integral part. Both the US and Israel are cozy with the worst of the Gulf Monarchies, and in opposition to the few secular Arab nations remaining. The record of the warmonger neocons is well known, as is the US creation of the Mujahideen which eventually morphed into ISIS which US/Israel continue to support to create chaos in the region. Below is a link to Norman Finkelstein discussing Israel as a “lunatic state.” http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2vu4c9

      • Mooser
        July 16, 2016, 11:58 pm

        I’m proud of it, and it’s true! “Hophmi”

        Huh? Wha happened, “Hophmi”? I thought by now there would be a big 10-incher comment describing the etiology, epidemiology, suggested treatment, inoculation, and detailed and case histories with prognosis and outcomes for the “disease” of “Jewish self-hatred” . Speaking of epidemics, “Hophmi”, what percentage of Jews would you say have the self-hatred disease?

        Of course, if you want to give people the impression that the Jewish identity consists of the lowest, most base kind of religious-social back-biting, couched in a vicious psycho-babble, it might help prevent mixing.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2016, 3:22 pm

        “And it is usually the self-haters who cause the worst damage to the Jewish community, precisely because of how small it is.” “Hophmi”

        ,Print it, Mooser. I’m proud of it, and it’s true” “Hophmi”

        And I was sure I would find a long list of “the self-haters” “who cause the worst damage to the Jewish community” this morning.
        Sure would like to know which Jews are “the self-haters who cause the worst damage to the Jewish community…” By name, along with the damage they’re responsible for. But I guess Phil tops the list, so why bother?

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2016, 4:23 pm

        “Print it, Mooser. I’m proud of it, and it’s true.” “Hophmi”

        And I “obsessively link to it” because as soon as I bring it up, you flee.

        Or is invoking Jewish self-hatred just your standard salutation and closing to correspondence?

      • Mooser
        July 19, 2016, 2:31 pm

        Print it, Mooser. I’m proud of it, and it’s true.”

        Gee, another day has gone by and still no monograph from”Hophmi” on “Jewish self-hatred” and internalized persecution by the Weiss family over many generations, and the eruption of the disease in Phil Weiss.

        “Self-hatred is a disease. It is a sad disease borne of many generations of persecution, but it is a disease. And Phil is afflicted with it, as many Jews have been in the past.” “Hophmi”

        And you won’t help him? Please, “Hophmi”?

        “And it is usually the self-haters who cause the worst damage to the Jewish community, precisely because of how small it is.” “Hophmi”

        Awww, c’mon, “Hophmi” do it for the rest of ‘your people’, before Phil causes too much damage in “the Jewish community” Phil needs the facts to make an informed decision on his condition and possible treatment. Or can we get an involuntary commitment?

  3. Cliff
    July 14, 2016, 12:39 pm

    The NYT exists in a bubble. They have no incentive to change, so they won’t.

  4. Ossinev
    July 14, 2016, 12:43 pm

    Always interesting and revealing , if you can hold your nose long enough to avoid the stench, to delve into the mainstream JSILi Press to get a flavour of JSILi and in particular JSILi West Bank settlers thinking. In today`s Jerusalem Post eg
    http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/The-IDF-has-lost-control-over-Hebron-area-460403

    The story covers the feelings of local settlers in the wave of recent”terrorist” attacks in the Hebron area and features taped comments from the daughter of one of those killed.

    There are the usual carefully crafted ” we have to learn to live together in peace” inserts just to reinforce the idea that the JSiILi settlers are ordinary peaceful folks who just want to get on with their everyday lives. But the main theme is that of victimised and wide eyed innocence. Why has this been done to us ? Why is this being done to us ?

    Even the reference to the Palestinians who went to the aid of one of the victims is somehow twisted into the narrative to imply that most Palestinians in the West bank have no issues with the Ziothieves living in their midst and don`t really want them to leave.

    Totally brain dead and totally brainwashed.They have zero perception of the simple fact that it is being done to them because they are foreign invaders who have stolen,raped and pillaged another peoples land. It never felt like this back in good old Brooklyn.

    And somewhere in all of this you have a sense that individually and collectively these Zio Freaks are desperately resisting the urge to scream round them all up , concentrate them in camps and well you know the rest.

  5. Balfour
    July 14, 2016, 1:15 pm

    The modern state of “Israel” has successfully indoctrinated many Jewish Americans to believe that the political ideas of Zionism have become either the equal to, or supplant, the historic Jewish religion.

    By effectively substituting “State” for one’s Jewish social and religious identity the self-proclaimed “Jewish State of Israel” practices a unique, de facto form of supremacy by applying ethnicity and religious identification to determine the degree of ones political enfranchisement and entitlement to receive basic human rights.

    This is why there can be “A Nation of Jews” in Israel, but there can never be “A Nation of Israelis” in Israel, composed of multiple ethnicities and religions, yet all receiving the same degree of equal rights and enfranchisement.

    I find it dangerous to embrace the doctrines of a State that claims to officially speak in the name of my family’s Jewish ethnicity and faith, while depriving human rights to those Jews and non-Jews who either can not, or will not, embrace the official, received identity.

    The brittle intolerance shown by those opposing any dissenting opinion to Israel’s official narrative mirrors Israel’s sad and steady march towards a Jewish fascism that recognizes only one interpretation of Judaism and Jewish identity, and ironically deprives Jews of a religious freedom officially recognized by every secular democracy on earth.

    The moral blindness of Zionism to critically judge its own behavior towards “The Goyim,” or “Other” is Israel’s moral and pragmatic Achille’s heal, because a self-proclaimed Jewish state that ironically cannot officially tolerate Jewish religious pluralism is also a self-proclaimed Jewish State that can justify a military occupation of non-Jews for nearly 50 years, conduct illegal land seizures, engage in illegal settlement building, and determine human rights based upon ones religious and ethnic identity.

  6. Annie Robbins
    July 14, 2016, 1:28 pm

    in the comments reader Paula A. Wells writes “It would be great if he could assure balanced reporting from the NYT, which I believe has had consistently pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian.”

    to which baker responds:

    Peter Baker Thanks very much for your interest, Paula. I’ll do the best I can to provide fair and accurate coverage. And when you think I haven’t, please feel free to let me know.

    okie dokie, looking forward to reading baker doing his “best”, and we’ll let him know what we think for sure.

    • klm90046
      July 14, 2016, 3:25 pm

      His best would also mean keeping his job. So let’s see.

      • kalithea
        July 14, 2016, 6:19 pm

        You don’t go on to become a big editor at that paper by being the best journalist on all things Zionist.

  7. amigo
    July 14, 2016, 2:01 pm

    “Rudoren: Correct. I mean a huge amount of Palestinian-American money yeah, also involved in things.”

    No problem getting that point in there.

    Anyone know just how much Palestinian – American Money is ” involved in things”. What with all those Palestinian elites in the administration and on capitol hill .

  8. kalithea
    July 14, 2016, 5:50 pm

    Gotta say one more word on Trump: He’s a coy little hypocrite when he hides behind his daughter’s conversion, his son-in-law and his Jewish grandchildren, because lemme tell you; he knew exactly what he was doing when re-tweeting that image of Hillary – excuse me if I’m stating the obvious here. That was a dig at Jewish political bankroll in general and a real dig at Jewish Conservatives.

    Sheriff’s star my ass! Only Trump can get away with this. I’ll say one more thing for Trump; he can dodge anything and he’s not boring. He’s as deceitful as Hillary, but he’s not boring. Hillary’s really boring and if he exploits that difference; she loses.

    Trump is the Enquirer of politics; the more eyebrows he raises the higher his polls. People are suckers for bombast, flash and headlines. We’ll see what happens. But whatever the outcome between the duo-monopoly; it’s all bad. It’s bad and it’s worst, but which one is the latter?

  9. weiss
    July 14, 2016, 6:21 pm

    The Wicked Witch of the East Jodi Rudoren strikes again!!

    Psychotic and as Sociopathic as ever …

  10. nawwas
    July 14, 2016, 7:22 pm

    James Bennett’s mother might have been of Jewish heritage, but so what? (As if Weiss and Blumenthal, aren’t, as well). Bennett never made a point of it, and, anyone who actually looked back at his reporting from Jerusalem cannot honestly say that his heritage was what drove his coverage. Indeed, I would say that James Bennett’s reporting was demonstrably less-biased toward the Zionist line than what preceded him in the previous three decades (Deborah Sontag’s last year, excepted), and far less so than what came after him. This isn’t to say that Bennett could not have done better, but lumping him ideologically with Rudoren or Ethan Bronner is disingenuous at best. There are plenty of things to scream about Times coverage of Palestine, but James Bennett’s overall coverage, is not one of them. (Complain loudly about Bennett’s hiring of Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic, if you will).

  11. Keith
    July 14, 2016, 7:56 pm

    “Rudoren: …. there’s also so much American philanthropy.”

    Well, I suppose that is one way to describe it.

    “Rudoren: ….It’s not based on kind of an idea, it’s based on experience.”

    She is on to something, but not the way she intends. Norman Finkelstein makes the point that although the American empire is brutal and vicious, most Americans do not experience this first hand. In Israel, on the other hand, the number of Palestinians to be controlled relative to the Jewish population requires that the vast majority of Israeli Jews perform military service and routinely engage in dehumanizing actions against the Palestinians such that this hands-on behavior becomes normalized in a desensitized population. He continually describes Israel as a crazy society, hatred and brutality considered normal.

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