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To the next ‘NYT’ Jerusalem chief — Here is your job description

Reports are that New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren is leaving the job after four years and that the Times is poised to send White House correspondent Peter Baker there. Baker is 48 and one-half of a power couple — his wife Susan Glasser is a top editor at Politico — and the expected reassignment from 1600 Pennsylvania to Elevation 2600 is evidence that the Jerusalem bureau is now what the Moscow bureau used to be in the hierarchy of establishment journalism: the necessary posting to distinguish yourself as top-rung talent (cf, David Remnick). If appointed, Baker would break a string of Jewish bureau chiefs for the Times. He is said to have been brought up Greek Orthodox. He and Glasser got married by a judge.

We’re Times readers, and we’re open-minded. We don’t automatically dismiss its reporting; that paper has too many legendary journalistic accomplishments we have read at so many stages of our lives. This is the highest-pressure job in the business, and as the great anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman, said, we’re asking them to live up to their values before we even ask them to live up to ours.

We want balanced mainstream reporting. Here is some of what we want to read. We seek the (long overdue) recognition that Palestinians form 20 percent of the population of Israel. When 18-year-old Hadeel al-Hashlamoun is murdered at a checkpoint, we want a story about her and her family — and not just the profiles of the Jewish victims’ families. We want the NYT bureau chief to end the coverup of the growing Israeli far right; we want Ofer Winter profiled in the Times, and Aryeh King too.

We want the Duma arson that killed three members of the Dawabshe family in the occupied West Bank last summer covered with the same intensity that the Times brought to the lynching of Emmett Till 60 years ago.

We want on-the-spot reporting from Gaza that listens to Palestinian voices. We don’t mind the Israeli military being quoted; we know that’s how the mainstream works. But we want the Palestinian side reported in depth. We want to see B’Tselem and other human rights organizations in Israel consulted and quoted alongside the Israeli government officials who we also understand are part of the story.

In short, we’re not asking for things to be taken away from coverage, but for things to be added to the picture, for fairness and balance, so there’s not just a focus on one side.

If the next bureau chief is ambitious, he or she will also come to recognize the historical responsibility of the job. A truthful report on what’s gong on in Israel/Palestine will come to the conclusion that the two state solution is if not completely dead almost all but. And that truth needs to be conveyed to American elites and Times readers so they can reckon with the next paradigm.

Lastly, we ask the Times management to do the next bureau chief the favor of giving thought to where he or she is going to live. The house in Qatamon, West Jerusalem, that Tom Friedman arranged for the newspaper to buy the upper floor of 30 years ago, belonged to the family of the Palestinian writer Ghada Karmi before the Karmis were ethnically cleansed in 1948. Karmi describes her upsetting visits to that house in her latest book, Return, and last month she told the story in New York (minute 6 in this video). The house and the Times presence there is a symbol of the unhealed pain of the Nakba for Palestinians; none of them has ever been compensated for their property, let alone allowed to return. Given the fact that a New York Times reporter should strive not just to be objective but appear to be objective, maybe it’s time for the hierarchy at the Times to put the bureau chief in East Jerusalem.

James North and Philip Weiss

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41 Responses

  1. pgtl10 on November 18, 2015, 2:38 pm

    Anybody else notice Thomas Friedman’s new column?

    “Sixty years ago Asian dictators told their people in effect, “I am going to take away your freedom — but give you the best education, export-led economics and infrastructure that money can buy — and in a half-century you’ll build a middle class that will gradually take your freedom back.” In the Arab world, 60 years ago dictators told their people, in effect, “I am going to take away your freedom and give you the Arab-Israeli conflict, a shiny object to distract you from my corruption and predation.”

    As a Palestinian, I demand that Mondoweiss remind me that Zionism is a distraction and I should praise Arab dictators like the puppet king in Jordan.

    • JWalters on November 18, 2015, 5:07 pm

      Thomas Friedman is a lawyer for Israel disguised as a journalist. He doesn’t look at the obvious historical facts, instead inventing diverting theories.

    • RockyMissouri on November 19, 2015, 9:25 am

      Thank you. I cannot abide that vile man.

    • John O on November 19, 2015, 11:56 am

      Every now and then, when I need cheering up, I re-read the late Alexander Cockburn’s magnificent take-down of Friedman:

      • straightline on November 19, 2015, 4:04 pm

        @John O: I didn’t realise that the two Cockburns were brothers till now. Patrick is a class act. One of the few Western correspondents worth reading on the ME. I read this recently:

        @JWalters: Friedman a “lawyer”? If he were arguing in court he would lose every time! No – he’s just another hasbarist like I see at MW every day. Unlike them, though, he does not have to face the savage rebuttals of the wonderful regulars here.

      • JWalters on November 19, 2015, 4:32 pm

        straightline, you’re right. I should have put “lawyer” in quotes. In a true fact-finding forum he would lose every time.

    • DaBakr on November 19, 2015, 6:47 pm

      friedman is a fool masquerading as a heavyweight. that Israelis and Palestinians can agree on at least that must count for something, no matter how small.

      • Mooser on November 20, 2015, 12:31 am

        “friedman is a fool masquerading as a heavyweight.”

        Send him one of your special fish-eye lenses. Just for the halibut.

  2. Les on November 18, 2015, 2:56 pm

    How many Jewish zionists who support all the efforts of Israel to wipe out the Palestinians are not racists? Does the NY Times, as part of its efforts to support Israel’s crimes, deliberately promote Jewish racism against Palestinians.

    • Krauss on November 18, 2015, 3:15 pm

      How many Jewish zionists who support all the efforts of Israel to wipe out the Palestinians

      I think that’s a caricature, to put it mildly. Even most hard-right Zionists don’t want to “wipe out” Palestininans. But Zionists do share a common belief in the importance of ethnically cleansing Palestininans(and preventing them from returning to their homes, see RoR).

      • Les on November 18, 2015, 3:53 pm

        The most extreme Jewish zionists call for the extermination of the Palestinians. Not one of the less extreme are moving in the opposite direction.

      • Mooser on November 19, 2015, 10:34 am

        “Even most hard-right Zionists don’t want to “wipe out” Palestininans. But Zionists do share a common belief in the importance of ethnically cleansing Palestininans(and preventing them from returning to their homes, see RoR).”

        Now, that is a comforting distinction. Preferring that people go die someplace else is nicer than insisting on killing them personally.

      • echinococcus on November 19, 2015, 12:10 pm

        “Even most hard-right Zionists don’t want to “wipe out” Palestininans.”

        Sure, Pollyanna. We are only malignantly attributing to people what they claim clear and loud for the whole world to hear, and there is no genocidal action in Palestine nor has there been any (especially not when the “left-wing”Labor was in charge of it.)

        Besides, why only “right wing”? There is no difference between any wings of Zionism when you are experiencing the business end of it.

      • straightline on November 19, 2015, 4:17 pm

        Of course they prefer the Palestinians leave. They don’t like to clean up the mess – the body parts and blood. And they could tell the world and their consciences that they left of their own accord so it’s ok to take their property. Isn’t that what they’ve always done?

  3. Krauss on November 18, 2015, 3:17 pm

    Well written, Phil and James. There’s not much to add than to add a perhaps somewhat skeptical comment, which is to say, the coverage of I/P reflects the racism of the ownership first and foremost.

    Any journalist going into that job will know what the limits are. Also, Baker being intermarried to a Jewish woman is not irrelevant, even if we can all try and pretend it is.
    Let’s say he was married to an anti-Zionist Palestinian woman. Do you think he would have gotten the job? Of course not.

    So the tribal politics are still here, even if the journalist himself isn’t Jewish, who he sleeps with is certainly not beyond approach, as direct as that sounds, that’s how it is. This is how high the stakes are.

  4. pabelmont on November 18, 2015, 3:26 pm

    And we want this news of Palestinians within (or alluded to within) the first 4 paragraphs, and those not too long.

  5. amigo on November 18, 2015, 3:29 pm

    Speaking of unbalanced reporting , here is Caroline Glick doing her level best to destroy Israel.

    “Glick: EU is waging a trade war against Israel ” .

    “But, Glick added, “the war itself is a breach of international law, it doesn’t protect consumers and it harms human rights.” The EU’s recent decision in regard to settlement products is “illegal under international law. Under the WTO [World Trade Organization] treaties it is illegal to introduce technical barriers to trade among trading nations.” Jpost

    What law, Glick. Post it or stfu.

    “Glick outlined a series of steps she recommends the Israeli government take in reaction to the European Union, including suing the body in the WTO tribunal, not providing automatic visas to personnel in European consuls-general in Jerusalem and ending the approval of the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron.” j post

    Maybe she should tell all of Israel,s Jews to boycott the EU. Atta girl Caroline , you show those EU citizens you dont need them importing that 13 billion annually from Israel. Give em hell Glick.

    • Steve Grover on November 18, 2015, 3:44 pm

      Amigo sez:
      “Give em hell Glick.”
      She has and she does and she will and she succeeds.

      • amigo on November 18, 2015, 3:51 pm

        “She has and she does and she will and she succeeds.” grover

        I too hope she succeeds.

        Destroying Israel , that is.

      • straightline on November 19, 2015, 4:19 pm

        Oh I really hope she tries Steve. Take it to court. Please!!!

    • JWalters on November 18, 2015, 5:19 pm

      Glick’s comments are akin to Murder Incorporated complaining about human rights violations. She is probably well aware that the famous U.N. resolution to partition Palestine only occurred because of Zionist financial muscle bribing and threatening U.N. members, a mafia-style “offer they couldn’t refuse”. It was a fig leaf of legality for the Zionist war profiteers to launch their religious war, and get this whole catastrophe rolling.

  6. hophmi on November 18, 2015, 3:41 pm

    Everything you complain about you already have in the Times, so I’m not sure why you’re complaining.

    • Mooser on November 19, 2015, 12:57 am

      “Everything you complain about you already have in the Times…”

      “Hophmi” don’t you remember what Mark Twain told the Senator: “I’ve got a book at home with every word of your every speech in it!” The Senator said he would like to see such a book.
      Twain sent him an unabridged dictionary.

  7. JLewisDickerson on November 18, 2015, 4:26 pm

    RE: “[A]s the great anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman, said, we’re asking them to live up to their values before we even ask them to live up to ours.” ~ North & Weiss


    Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love. Man has subdued bodies, but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love. Man has conquered whole nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has chained and fettered the spirit, but he has been utterly helpless before love. High on a throne, with all the splendor and pomp his gold can command, man is yet poor and desolate, if love passes him by. And if it stays, the poorest hovel is radiant with warmth, with life and color. Thus love has the magic power to make of a beggar a king. ~ Emma Goldman, “Marriage and Love” in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911)

    SOURCE –

    P.S. THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: If “Battling Bella” Abzug were alive today, would she be a Likudnik? Enquiring minds mimes want to know!™

    P.P.S. On second thought, I’d rather not know.

  8. annie on November 18, 2015, 4:45 pm

    We want on-the-spot reporting from Gaza that listens to Palestinian voices. We don’t mind the Israeli military being quoted; we know that’s how the mainstream works. But we want the Palestinian side reported in depth. We want to see B’Tselem and other human rights organizations in Israel consulted and quoted alongside the Israeli government officials who we also understand are part of the story.

    specifically, when reporting the “Palestinian side reported in depth” please actually QUOTE Palestinians. use Palestinian, Palestinian American and Palestinian Israeli analysts as often as Jewish American and Jewish Israeli analysts.

    When quoting U.S. officials or think tanks — anonymously or non anonymously — do not primarily rely jewish americans. throwing in quotes by other non jews or non pro israel supporters shouldn’t damage the Times credibility. we already can anticipate what dennis ross, winep, martin indyk, josh block and lobby stooges are going to say. if you’re going to quote these types .. like you did here: , keep it balanced.

    use the words “occupation” and “Palestine” once in awhile (both recognized internationally and by the U.N.) . and please use experts at Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority rights in Israel as a resource:

  9. Stateless American on November 18, 2015, 4:55 pm

    If his mother’s name is indeed Gross, he may be eligible for Israeli citizenship. Former US Ambassador to Honduras and Irag John Negroponte also was “raised Greek Orthodox.” My Greek friends have confirmed that Negroponte is not how you say “black bridge” in Greek.

  10. JWalters on November 18, 2015, 4:59 pm

    Today I listened to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s impassioned, stark report on her inspection of the current refugee tragedy. It reminded me of the massive wave of innocent refugees brutally driven from their homes by the Zionist army during the establishment of Israel. The current refugee tragedy also derives from the Zionist project, being another phase of the continuous religious conflict and regional instability generated to benefit the corporate war profiteers behind it.

    The facts are clear and all over the internet. Today’s chaos is a direct consequence of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which was pushed by the Neocons for the Israelis. And they are mounting a full court press for MORE wars. Israel is a primary, overt pusher of religious bigotry on the planet today, done to fuel these conflicts. It is traitor to America’s fundamental professed values, all for MIC profits. It is a subversive enemy of the U.S. and Europe.

    Ignoring Israel’s obvious role in all this is insane. When will some in the media and political leadership finally say “Enough!” to the money-worshiping monsters who are intentionally causing all this chaos and suffering?

    If he hasn’t already, I suggest Peter Baker read “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”, which former CIA analyst Ray McGovern recommends “particularly highly” at the bottom of the page here.

    • joemowrey on November 19, 2015, 12:47 pm

      I hope you are also aware of Elizabeth Warren’s impassioned support for the racist, Zionist state of Israel. She’s particularly fond of Israel’s bombing of schools and hospitals in Gaza.

      Don’t be fooled into thinking she is some kind of progressive saint.

      • JWalters on November 19, 2015, 4:44 pm

        Thanks for that link. I suspect many in Congress and the media are waiting for the “right” moment to jump from the Zionist ship. They’re a bit like the German officers who were planning to assassinate Hitler. I will be writing Warren about this.

  11. dbroncos on November 18, 2015, 7:12 pm

    I’m not optimistic that Baker will be different from Rudoren, Bronner, Kirchner… His job was politicized long ago and it comes with specific expectations. If he wasn’t already inclined to favor Israel, he was made to understand that that will be his job as JBC. The Sulzberger family doesn’t want an independent set of eyes and ears in Jerusalem. They want a thoroughly vetted journalist who will paint a filtered and plausibly sympathitic portrait of the Jewish State.

    Exclusive Jewish colonies will appear in Baker’s writing as Jewish neighborhoods. The occupation army in the West Bank becomes the Israeli Defense Forces. Exchanges of violence will be treated as distinct episodes, featuring the emotional responses and trauma of individuals, with no discussion of Israel’s systemic racism or its history of ethnic cleansing. IDF statements won’t be investigated and will go unchallenged. Jewish Israelis will be quoted extensively, Palestinians – not so much. On location coverage of the Palestinian perspective from the West Bank and Gaza will be rare. The presumption that Zionism is the result, rather than the cause, of the I/P conflict will remain a constant and unquestioned theme in Baker’s coverage. Baker doesn’t get this job without understanding that his roll is to sell the agenda of a fascist cult to NYT readers.

  12. ckg on November 18, 2015, 8:14 pm

    It will be interesting to see how Rudoren covers the sentencing today of the cop who beat 15-year-old U.S. citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir to 6 weeks community service.

    • Kay24 on November 18, 2015, 8:54 pm

      They never pay for any damn crime against the Palestinians. I think this is a fact in the number of violent crimes against Palestinian civilians that seem to keep rising. The mere fact that they get light sentences or not face any justice, only encourages more crimes. The way they beat that kid was terrible, and despite his family speaking to members of congress, it seems in the end the devil got away with the crime.

    • ckg on November 19, 2015, 1:33 pm

      Accompanying Isabel Kershner’s NYT article today, a photo of Tariq appears which was taken July 11, 2014, which is over a week after the beating and after most of the visible damage from the beating had healed. Little in the photo, except two black eyes, suggests the severe brutality of the beating.

  13. David Green on November 19, 2015, 12:20 am

    My impression is that Baker is a standard issue NYT American exceptionalist. Expectations can’t be too low. Very smooth and ambitious; see his work on the G.W. Bush administration. Don’t expect him to make any waves.

  14. Kathleen on November 20, 2015, 7:21 am

    “We’re Times readers” Many stopped reading that bloody rag after they totally and knowingly went along and sold the invasion of Iraq based on a “pack of lies” The owners, editors knew what they were doing. They along with Judith “I was fucking right” Miller should have gone on trial at the Hague for war crimes. OK their crimes are not on the scale of Douglas Feith, Cheney, Wolfowitz etc for creating, cherry picking the so called intelligence. However they were very much a tool in disseminating those lies. They knew what they were doing.

    “open minded” is why most of us come to Mondoweiss, Informed Comment, Going To Tehran, The Intercept, Electronic Intifada to get the real news having to do with middle east issues etc.

    All of the “we wants” are great Phil. However what evidence is there that NYBloody Times would ever go there?

    Rachel Maddow making a stink about Donald Trump and his consideration of a national data base for Muslims in the U.S. Ever hear Rachel get up in arms about what has been going on in Israel for years…mapping entire Palestinian civilian population. Breaking into Palestinian homes conducting “warrantless searches” Hmm Rachel certainly has her priorities . I believe she makes 7 million a year from Comcast.

    • echinococcus on November 20, 2015, 8:01 am


      Re your saying that the crimes of Feith, Cheney, Wolfowitz etc were not on the same scale as NYT and Judith Miller, the Nuremberg Tribunal disagrees: it gave Schleicher the propaganda journalist the same level of responsibility and the same treatment that it gave Kaltenbrunner, Göring, Frank and the merry band.

      • Kathleen on November 20, 2015, 8:27 pm

        Thanks. And Phil still pushes reading this bloody rag.

      • echinococcus on November 20, 2015, 11:27 pm

        Liberals cannot change more than their spots but I give them an A for trying.

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