Jodi Rudoren, the New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief, will have an editor assigned to her personal Facebook and Twitter accounts, the paper’s public editor announced today.
Rudoren has come under fire from observers on all sides of the Israel-Palestinian divide for publishing inflammatory messages on her Facebook and Twitter pages.
Rudoren, who prior to her current posting wrote on education for the Times, most recently received criticism from pro-Palestinian factions for posting what they said were insensitive messages during Israel’s conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The Times wrote Wednesday:
More recently, during the Gaza conflict, she wrote one Facebook post in which she described Palestinians as "ho-hum" about the death of loved ones, wrote of their "limited lives" and, in another, said she shed her first tears in Gaza over a letter from an Israeli family. The comments came off as insensitive and the reaction was sharp, not only from media pundits, but also from dismayed readers.
Philip Weiss, the anti-Zionist Jewish-American journalist who writes about the Middle East for Mondoweiss, his Web site, wrote "she seems culturally bound inside the Israeli experience."
Rudoren told the paper the she regrets those words:
"I should have talked about steadfastness or resiliency," she told me by phone on Tuesday. "That was a ridiculous word to use." In general, she said, "I just wasn’t careful enough."
The Times responded to Rudoren’s creative use of social media by assigning foreign editor Joseph Kahn to "work closely with Ms. Rudoren on her social media posts."
Rudoren offended pro-Israel activists before she assumed the post earlier this year.
Critics accused her of getting too friendly with figures such as Ali Abunimah, who operates a site that advocates in favor of Israel’s destruction.
Rudoren told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview at the time that she would continue to engage with all types of people via Twitter and Facebook.
"I’m not really interested in labels about who I am and what I think," she said.
Rudoren, who is Jewish, also declined to state whether she considers herself a Zionist.
"I don’t know that I’ve ever described myself as a Zionist in the past," she said. "I certainly think that right now in my job, and where Zionism is a subject of discussion, I don’t have any interest in being one or not being one. I’m not a Zionist or anti-Zionist."