Jodi Rudoren, the Times editor just chosen to replace Ethan Bronner in as Jerusalem bureau chief (Bronner's four-year tour is up), finds herself in a pickle because of a series of tweets she issued yesterday. She shmoozed-up Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian activist who argues for Israel's destruction; she also praised Peter Beinart's upcoming book as, "terrific: provocative, readable, full of reporting and reflection." She also linked without comment to an article in a pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper.
All of this is fine, of course, if she wasn't stepping into the most sensitive job in journalism. Reaching out to Abunimah is normal, of course: He's a player in extremist circles, and someone she might wind-up covering. But it would have been better if she had twinned this reach-out with one to a Kahanist or some sort of radical settler rabbi, for balance. Praising Peter's book is fine, if she weren't meant to be an objective reporter (I haven't read Peter's book, just a propagandistic missive about it, and for all I know I might like it). Imagine how the Left would feel if the new New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief called one of Benjamin Netanyahu's books "a terrific and provocative read, full of reporting and reflection." It's all excusable as beat-sweetening, I suppose, but still queasy-making.