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Thursday, September 01, 2016

New NY Times Jerusalem bureau chief's first column portrays Israel as repressive

For those of you who thought Jodi Rudoren was difficult, you may yet find yourself pining for her return. Meet Peter Baker, the New York Times' new Jerusalem bureau chief, whose first column is, to put it mildly, troubling.

Baker's first story went all over the map, mixing religion, politics and freedom of expression in a dishonest effort to portray Israel as a repressive society, and Culture Minister Miri Regev (who, as far as I know, is secular) as a religious fascist.

This is from the first link.

More substantively problematic was the incomplete and deceptive framing of Minister Regev’s efforts related to taxpayer funding of cultural events. Readers might assume her actions as characterized by Baker compel Orwellian public expressions of fealty to the state.
But the "Loyalty in Culture" legislation seeks to remove public funding for extreme anti-Israel projects. It permits a retroactive reduction in the budget for "actions against the principles of the state." Among these are cultural events that entail: "Denying the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; incitement to racism, violence, and terror; support for an armed struggle or terror act by a hostile country or terror organization against the State of Israel; marking Independence Day as a day of mourning; an act of vandalism or physical degradation that dishonors the country’s flag or state emblem."
The Minister is calling for what she terms "freedom in funding" along with freedom of expression. She and those who support passage of the law believe Israel is free not to fund cultural events that promote terror, incite racism, denigrate Independence Day and so on.
That makes perfect sense to this Republican. Let the Arabs mourn their 'naqba' all they want, but why does the State of Israel have to pay for it? The answer is, we shouldn't. And it's not like the Times doesn't know it.
In a related story from January 2016, another Times piece cited criticism of Regev’s initiatives but, importantly, also provided a balancing counter-voice. Reporter Steve Erlanger wrote:
"... Mr. Leibler, The Jerusalem Post columnist, defended Ms. Regev and Mr. Bennett as trying to ‘restore a climate that nurtures love of Israel and promotes pride in Jewish heritage’ after years when ‘far-leftists, postmodernists and even post-Zionists took over the Education Ministry.’" 
That’s a piece of information that readers deserve to have. Readers must hope that going forward they will get some sense of the full context – even if the reporter’s default viewpoint is to fault Israel.
If this is the foot on which Baker has chosen to get off, one has to wonder how much objectivity we can expect from him going forward.

Read the whole thing.

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At 9:54 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

Israel can bar entry to "BDS" fools. There's no reason not bar entry to Peter Baker under the same legal concept. Sweet words and platitudes that espouse genocide are no different from angry shouting demanding the same thing. Journalists abandon their own canon of ethics and the protections they ostensibly provide when they do just that.

I would kick Peter Baker out of Israel and Yesha. If he wants to report from Gaza or Lebanon or Syria or Jordan or Turkey that's fine.

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Web_learner said...

give some bad shwarma to chew on


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