The demand that the New York Times new Jerusalem bureau chief – who has yet to take up her post here – be “unbiased” towards the Netanyahu government is the height of ‘chutzpah’
Jeffrey Goldberg, the former IDF prison guard and self-appointed gatekeeper of all things Jewish and Zionist, is not happy with the incoming New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren. He has two problems with her.
The first, and most important, is that Rudoren had the temerity to read Peter Beinart’s new critical book about Israel and, lo and behold, support it. Goldberg whines that she is showing “bias” against Likud.
Which, I think, is perfectly fine. After all, the Likud prime minister recently said that his main enemies are the NYTimes and Haaretz. He has refused to write an oped for the NYTimes, snarkily saying he didn’t want to “Bibiwash” it. Once a public official takes a public stand as a self-declared enemy of a newspaper, I don’t think the paper should continue to treat him differently than any other public official. Journalists are not, and should not be, angels. To blame the NYTimes bureau chief of “bias” against Likud after this is utter chutzpah (nerve) and evidence that the writer is a propagandist.
Goldberg also calumnies Ali Abunimah, claiming that he is an “advocate of Israel’s destruction” and comparing him to a “settler rabbi,” and deplores Rudoren’s “chummy” relations with him. You don’t have to like Abunimah – I’m not a fan, myself – to bristle at this. Unlike settlers, rabbis or not, Abunimah is not committing war crimes by his very existence and he does not rely on the subjugation of another people for it. Furthermore, Abunimah does not “advocate Israel’s destruction:” he merely demands Israel stop being Zionist. Given that in this world, practical Zionism is racist and cannot be otherwise, this is a worthy demand which has nothing to do with the “destruction of Israel,” merely its transformation. (Yes, I can imagine an ideal world in which Zionism is not necessarily racist; if you do visit that world, please give my regards to the pink unicorn.)
And finally, Goldberg graciously grants Rudoren his permission to not be a Zionist. One would think that, as the NYTimes Jerusalem bureau also covers Palestine and Palestinians, that this should be an actual requirement (otherwise, the bureau chief should prima facie be considerd biased), but I guess that since the previous New York Times bureau chief’s son served in the IDF, we should be grateful for small mercies.