Her bigger mistake was to endorse Peter Beinart's upcoming book about Zionism and the American Jewish community. Peter has a very anti-Likud bent, which, again, is fine, but it's not a reporter's job to praise controversial Middle East polemics, but simply to, you know, report on them. (Part of the obvious concern here, as Shmuel Rosner has noted, is that she's poisoning her chances of building trusting relationships with various Israeli sources by taking sides in Israeli politics. But unlike Shmuel, I think she can undo the damage by showing, over time, that she's fair, and represents accurately the positions of all sides.)
Now, some of the criticism of Rudoren has gone too far. Adam Kredo, of the Washington Free Beacon, tells us that "The New York Times' incoming Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, won't say if she is a Zionist." He's also upset because she won't say whether she believes Israel practices apartheid.
"Asked if she considers Israel an apartheid state--as critics of the Jewish state so often do--Rudoren declined comment.She kind of booted the answer there. She should have simply said, "I'm not going to answer such a leading question," and left it at that.On the first question, she was absolutely correct to demur; she should not identify herself as anything but a reporter. It would be equally absurd to expect her to answer a question about her American party affiliation. Why? Because it's immaterial. I don't want Rudoren to be a Zionist, or an anti-Zionist, or anything else. I just want her to report accurately what she sees.
"I don't have an assessment yet," she said. "I'm not sure I'll ever answer that question in the way you've just framed it."
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