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Imagine a white supremacist southern senator dies — and ‘NYT’ leaves out black people’s views of him

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BdtVU0BIYAAkV_yToday in the New York Times, Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren covered Israelis’ views of Ariel Sharon. Her story is summarized by the subhead:

Some Israelis recall a determined leader, while others revile him as the man who removed Jewish settlements in Gaza

Israelis? The story is 18 paragraphs long. Nowhere in there is it mentioned that 20 percent of Israelis are Palestinians. Nowhere are they asked for their views.

You have to get to the 11th paragraph to hear any Palestinian voices at all–

The Palestinian news media reported that people in Gaza burned pictures of Mr. Sharon and distributed sweets in the streets to celebrate the death of a man they called “the butcher.”

And that’s all. Rudoren’s Palestinian voices are in Gaza, outside Israel.

Then she goes back to the praise. And there are two points of view according to her, the rightist and the far-rightist. To her Israelis are Jews. She completely erases 20 percent of the population. Do they not have a word of criticism? Some of the people killed in the second intifada were Palestinian Israelis.

Imagine during Jim Crow that a white supremacist senator in the south died, and the New York Times reporter didn’t ask the black people in the state what they thought about him.

Now let’s go to the last paragraphs of the story. Rudoren closes with food. And this was characteristic of Time magazine under Henry Luce: to humanize a person you discussed what they liked to eat. Luce pioneered that–

Asian strongman Ferdinand Marcos sits down to a breakfast of fish and scrambled eggs.

Rudoren’s anecdote takes one of Sharon’s most disagreeable habits to make him human:

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, remembered preparing Mr. Sharon for his first meeting with President George W. Bush in 2001. True to his well-known appetites, Mr. Sharon had buckets of steak, lamb chops and hot dogs delivered to his Washington hotel room.

“He gets down to the last two hot dogs, and he says, ‘Are you sure you don’t want them?’ Mr. Hoenlein said with a laugh. “He loved everything, but he loved hot dogs in particular.”

Hoenlein’s not an Israeli either. But he’s Jewish, so he counts.

James North
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21 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    January 13, 2014, 11:29 am

    Rudoren have become more and more of a zionist fundamentalist the past year.

    People like her are the same that supported the apartheid government in South Africa.

    • Pamela Olson
      Pamela Olson
      January 13, 2014, 2:53 pm

      Journalists in that high of a position get nudged, punished, censured, praised, by “voices that matter,” until they fall neatly into line. If they weren’t neatly in line already.

      Obviously, Palestinian/Arab voices don’t really matter. They just hand out sweets when bad things happen to other people. That pretty much sums ’em up! (Oh, and they don’t cry at funerals.)

      God I’m sick of this “polite” racism.

  2. seafoid
    January 13, 2014, 11:59 am

    Imagine going back in time to Alabama 1962 and telling the young Jews protesting Jim Crow there that the spirit of Bull Connor would drive the Jewish State 50 years later. You’d be laughed at.

  3. Cliff
    January 13, 2014, 1:09 pm

    NYT is Israel’s Pravda here in the US.

    What a world we live in.

    • Krauss
      January 13, 2014, 4:52 pm

      Some Israelis recall a determined leader, while others revile him as the man who removed Jewish settlements in Gaza

      This quote sums it up, really. If there’s any real criticism is that Sharon was too soft on Palestinians and who removed settlements(as a PR stunt while doubling them in the West Bank).

      I keep saying, someone write do an entire book dedicated to the bias of the NYT on the I/P conflict. Maybe Phil? In any event it’s long past time.
      The only people who count are Jewish, including when discussing one of the main architects of the settlement movement.

  4. Shmuel
    January 13, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Your criticism is spot on James, but Rudoren doesn’t even deliver the goods when it comes to Israeli Jews.

    Sabra and Shatila? That’s the only thing anyone remembers from the nearly 20 bloody years Israel spent in the “Lebanese quagmire”? Over 1,000 Israeli dead and one of the most controversial issues in Israel for nearly two decades – for which Sharon bore huge responsibility (full of lies, deceit, illegality and lunacy), and which probably drove Menahem Begin to an early grave — and Rudoren forgot to mention it?

    And settlements. All that matters is his removal of the settlements from Gaza (and the terse description “builder of Jewish settlements”)? Settlements have been the focus of bitter public debate in Israel for decades, and Sharon was instrumental in the post-’77 policy shift that created the current settlement reality. Rudoren didn’t think that was relevant?

    It’s not even about “rightist and far-rightest”. It’s about crappy, lazy reporting.

    The “distribution of sweets” in Gaza bit is simply dehumanising garbage.

    • James North
      James North
      January 13, 2014, 2:04 pm

      Shmuel: I hear you, and thanks for your comments. Phil is e-mailing you right now, and I hope you can elaborate on them.

    • yrn
      January 13, 2014, 2:50 pm


      “Over 1,000 Israeli dead and one of the most controversial issues in Israel for nearly two decades”
      Your concerns regarding Israel, just breaks my heart.

      • Shmuel
        January 13, 2014, 3:23 pm

        Your concerns regarding Israel, just breaks my heart.

        Your friend/foe dichotomy is par for the course.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      January 13, 2014, 3:35 pm

      ”The “distribution of sweets” in Gaza bit is simply dehumanising garbage.”

      Yes – it’s no doubt intended to evoke memories of ”Palestinians distributing sweets to celebrate 9/11.”

      Of course it would be far too taxing for Ms. Rudoren to ask WHY Palestinians (and other Arabs, and millions of people around the world) hated Sharon. But then she’d have to tackle the unpleasant realities of his record of brutality. And she and the NYT are far too squeamish for anything like that. Rudoren is not a journalist. She is a propagandist. And not even a very skilled one.

      • eljay
        January 13, 2014, 3:43 pm

        >> Of course it would be far too taxing for Ms. Rudoren to ask WHY Palestinians … hated Sharon.

        She doesn’t need to ask, she already knows:
        – Palestinians = Arabs = anti-Semites = terrorists;
        – the Mufti + Hitler = Holocaust; and
        – refusal to accept Israel as a “Jewish State” = wipe Jews off the map and into the sea.

        And maybe also Iran.

  5. marc b.
    marc b.
    January 13, 2014, 2:24 pm

    jnorth, hoenlein got it wrong: I happen to know from an insider that *sotto voce* the hot dogs were, more accurately, ‘ball park franks’. yes, Sharon loved hot dogs, and baseball and apple pie. why he was as American as . . . well, American things. (here is luce’s lack of vision on display. nobody – no American – wants to hear about some Asian eating fish for breakfast. sounds too foreign.)

    in regard to shmuel’s comment, i think that the critical year in settler policy was ’73, the near disaster of the yom kippur war. at the risk of exposing my mild OCD, eyal Weitzman gives a neat hour-long summary of the history on youtube, i believe at the Baker Institute of Rice University, for those who don’t want to invest the time or money in his book on the subject.

    • Shmuel
      January 13, 2014, 3:31 pm

      at the risk of exposing my mild OCD

      Busted ;-)

      The history of the settlements is full of “critical years”. Pointing out the Begin/Sharon shift does not detract from the seeds that led both to the Likud victory and to the peace-busting map-changing that went on under Sharon’s direction and in the path he laid out.

  6. seafoid
    January 13, 2014, 2:32 pm

    He loved hot dogs almost as much as he loved bombing refugees. He was so human. He tortured his first spider age 3. We will miss him.

  7. mjordan
    January 13, 2014, 3:35 pm

    I think it’s time to start calling for Rudoren’s removal. She’s clearly not a step forward from Bronner’s dreadful reporting, possibly even a step backward. When she first started the job – she said the only ‘ist’ she wanted to be known by is ‘journalist’ – but it’s clear that Rudoren is more ‘apologist’ in chief than anything else. Even CAMERA is praising her reporting now as a ‘step in the right direction’ for her piece on ‘incitement’ – it doesn’t get any worse than that.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    January 13, 2014, 5:01 pm

    RE: “He [Sharon] loved everything, but he loved hot dogs in particular.” ~ Malcolm Hoenlein

    MATT REES, 10/22/11: “…I continued to write about [Ariel] Sharon during the intifada.. On the way, I happened across still more food lore about him. He had a penchant for barbecued turkey testicles…”
    SOURCE –

  9. lysias
    January 13, 2014, 5:24 pm

    I tried but was unable to find a NYT obituary for Richard Russell, but here, for comparison, is their obituary for John Stennis, who died as recently as 1995. It’s surprisingly favorable.

  10. tree
    January 13, 2014, 6:10 pm

    Rudoren’s Palestinian voices are in Gaza, outside Israel.

    She’s also managed to erase Palestinian voices from the West Bank as well.

  11. LanceThruster
    January 13, 2014, 6:37 pm

    The NYT would gladly interview Palestinians if they’d just say nice things about former PM Sharon. Is that asking too much?

  12. eGuard
    January 14, 2014, 12:19 am

    Unwittingly, Rudoren also covered this aspect of judgements on Sharon very well: not one Jewish-Israeli voice is heard saying that Sharon was a racist/terrorist/warcriminal/peacebreaker. Not one.

    That is not because she left them out. It is because there are none. No Israeli Jew has that opinion. Sharon’s Hagana, Gaza house demolitions, Qilya, Sabra & Shatila, second Intifada ignition, Gaza occupation 2.0: not one Israeli Jew can call it what it is. Terrorism, racism, warcriminality, peacebreaking.

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