Rudoren Plays to Her Base

Newly installed New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief wins plaudits from Israel bashers for glamorizing Palestinian hunger strikes

The New York Times newly installed Jerusalem bureau chief is earning plaudits from a cadre of far left anti-Israel critics for her reporting on the region and conflict with the Palestinians.

Jodi Rudoren, who attracted fierce criticism from pro-Israel advocates as she began her job in Israel, recently filed a dispatch, headlined "Palestinians Go Hungry to Make Their Voices Heard," that glamorized attempts by Palestinian prisoners to starve themselves as a means of protest against Israel, critics say.

Vociferous Israel critic Richard Silverstein quickly took to Twitter to praise Rudoren’s coverage of the huger strikers, who she described as the "newest heroes of the Palestinian cause."

"Holy shit!" Silverstein exclaimed. "Jodi Rudoren covers story [former correspondent Ethan] Bronner [wouldn’t have] touched w 10′ pole."

The tweet was retweeted by, among others, M.J. Rosenberg, who recently quit his job at Media Matters for America following criticism of his routine use of borderline anti-Semitic barbs.

Mondoweiss, an online portal that is known to traffic in Israel-bashing, published a post praising Rudoren for her courage.

"Jodi Rudoren, distingushing [sic] herself in the New York Times," wrote Phillip Weiss, the site’s founder and co-editor. "Great to see that word in a Times headline! Notice that Rudoren is not piping this story from Jerusalem, she goes out to the village."

Weiss also celebrates Rudoren for the "honor she gives this movement."

Barry Rubin, a Middle East writer and expert, assailed Rudoren’s article as biased, calling it "the last straw" in his effort to view the reporter as neutral.

"What is most impressive about Rudoren’s record so far is that there is no attempt to give the faintest appearance of balance," Rubin wrote. "She probably doesn’t understand what that concept means. And she certainly knows that the editors and ombudsman won’t hold her accountable."

"This is not news coverage," he concluded, "but revolutionary romanticism."

Rudoren caused a stir in the pro-Israel community earlier this year when she cozied up to extremist critics of Israel on Twitter and would not say whether she considers herself a Zionist.

Critics argue that she is shirking her journalistic responsibility to strive for neutrality.