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Jodi Rudoren, the New York Times correspondent who has been in Gaza for several days now, has an active Facebook page on which she has lately posted some critical observations about Palestinian culture that are reminiscent of Mitt Romney’s comments last July that got the former Republican presidential candidate in such hot water.
Rudoren’s comments include the statement that Israelis are more “traumatized” by projectile fire than Palestinians because Palestinians, having a culture of martyrdom, “have such limited lives than [sic] in many ways they have less to lose.” Here’s an excerpt of that post (screenshot above):
So great to hear from all these new people, and to see how FB makes the world such a shtetl. Thanks for your compliments and thoughtful questions. I’ll try to address a few and then am going to try to get some sleep…
In terms of Sarah Sanchez’s q about effects on civilians, the strange thing is that 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.
Rudoren’s comment that Gazans who have just lost a relative “seem a bit ho-hum” in interviews is sadly reminiscent of the assertion by Israel supporters that Palestinians love their children less than Israelis do.
In another post (screenshot above), Rudoren ennobled western reporters over Middle East reporters in commenting on the Israeli attack on the Gaza office of Al Quds TV, a Lebanese organization:
On the media thing, Miriam Krezner: There are some local journalists here with real independence and integrity, and many of them partner with us foreigners and really make our work possible. There are also outlets, as there are throughout the Arab world, that are wholly own subsidiaries of the regimes. The spokesman for Al Quds television, the office hit hardest yesterday, talked about news coverage as part of the Palestinian struggle, which is certainly different from the Western media ethic, and that makes the Israeli assertion that these agencies are part of the government/military agenda more understandable, at least.
Rudoren is endorsing the Israeli governmental view of the matter. Washington Post:
A second strike hit the Lebanon-based Al Quds TV in a second media center, causing some damage. Al Quds TV is seen as sympathetic to Hamas…
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev alleged that both Al Aqsa and Al Quds “are integral parts of terrorist military organizations.”
He said those working for the two outlets “are not journalists by any meaning of the word.”
Her critique of Middle East journalists is a bit rich when you consider how important the New York Times was to supporting and furthering the disastrous war in Iraq, with reporting that turned out to be questionable or wrong, and editorials banging the drum that editors have since regretted.
Finally, Rudoren noted (below) that her “first tears in Gaza” were for a friend’s children back in Israel. In that instance, she linked an article on Slate by Dahlia Lithwick, about coming to Jerusalem to be with her parents, who live there:
Dahlia Lithwick is an incredible writer, and person. My first tears in Gaza came just now reading her piece about what it’s like to be in Jerusalem, where she brought her 2 sons for “a year in which their world became bigger and more complicated, since everything in their lives up until now had been measured out in equal units of comfort and Lego.”
Rudoren was posted to Israel last June with her family, and we have a couple of times now (here and here) commented that she seems culturally bound inside the Israeli experience. These observations in the Facebook shtetl support that view.