Last Sunday The New York Times did a favorable review of Alan Dershowitz’s autobiography that described his legacy as huge and enduring (as Donald Johnson pointed out on our site). The treatment was predictable inasmuch as the author of the review, Slate legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick, is fond of Dershowitz’s main cause. Lithwick lately went on a “celebrate” Israel mission for the National Council of Jewish Women—
The Road to Tomorrow: Women Leading Change
NCJW Mission to Israel 2013
October 10–16, 2013
Celebrate NCJW’s 65-year commitment to Israel on this special educational tour and mission, an exciting opportunity for experienced Israel travelers or first time visitors.
The Road to Tomorrow: Women Leading Change will feature Dahlia Lithwick, judicial scholar and award-winning American journalist, who will serve as our scholar-in-residence. Throughout the mission we plan to explore the issues that NCJW women care about and advocate for — both in the United States and Israel. The itinerary will offer meetings with all levels of Israeli women: grassroots activists, politicians, policy-makers and other leading change-makers who contribute to the betterment of women, children, and families in Israel.
Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren also played a part in that NCJW trip. From NCJW’s own coverage of the trip, by its CEO, Nancy Kaufman:
NCJW’s Israel Mission, “The Road to Tomorrow, Women Leading Change” began last night with a captivating dialogue between Dahlia Lithwick, our scholar-in-residence, and Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times. Dahlia engaged Jodi in an enlightening discussion about how Jodi covers Israel issues as an American Jewish woman. Jodi shared many examples of the highs and lows of her work, but was quite clear in her explanation that she works hard to not “have an opinion” on anything political. She makes every effort to report the news as she experiences it and to be balanced and fair in her coverage. Jodi shared examples of how often she is criticized by people both on the Right and the Left for not “expressing an opinion” but feels strongly that her job is to observe and report, not engage and react.
I cut Rudoren a break here; I don’t think she was there to celebrate Israel. She speaks to lots of visiting groups that invite her– including, she tells me, a CUNY class, a group of Massachusetts legislators, a group of women run non-profits in the US.
But is it any surprise the Times has an image problem among Palestinians? The Lithwick assignment– and Isabel Kershner’s being married to an Israel propagandist, and former Times correspondent Ethan Bronner’s son joining the Israeli Defense Forces– speak to why Yousef Munayyer is enraged at the Times. Culturally, geographically, its reporters operate inside Israeli life. So it marginalizes the Palestinian experience, lately a man put in a coma by a settler dropping a huge rock on him. Would the Times publicize such an attack on an Israeli? I believe it would. As Max Blumenthal said last month (at 1:17): “The idea that these people are objective is completely ridiculous to me.” He wears his bias on his sleeve.
Update: I forgot to mention that Lithwick also appeared at a pro-Israel event seeking to counteract the country’s delegitimization, hosted by the Israel Project.