16 June '15..
Israel is out with a 277-page report on the conduct of last year’s 50-day Gaza war -- by both the IDF and by Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas. The report concludes that the Israeli military went to extraordinary lengths to spare civilians, while Hamas & Co. deliberately put civilians in the path of military operations. Yet, while the report is based on extensive research and interviews with participants, the New York Times will have none of it. Thus, Jodi Rudoren, its Jerusalem bureau chief, sets out to disparage its findings and undermine its credibility -- in the Times’ news section no less.
Before Rudoren even gets to particulars in the report, she quotes a Hamas spokesman in a telephone interview that the report “has no value and will not work in changing the facts because the Israeli occupation crimes took place in front of the world’s cameras.”
A clear signal by Rudoren to Times readers that delving into the report is a waste of time -- not worth paying any attention to it. After all, Hamas says so.
Immediately after her interview with the Hamas spokesman, Rudoren again brushes the Israeli report aside as essentially worthless. “The Israeli report mostly repeats familiar positions,” she writes in yet another attempt to downgrade Israeli evidence about the IDF’s operational conduct.
Nor is this the only time that she pre-emptively dismisses the report’s contents as value-less.
Here is still another example: Rudoren starts a paragraph by writing that “…the report said Israel followed the principle of proportionality for collateral damage when hitting targets,” but she then immediately knocks it aside, as per, “Yet previous studies by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Israeli rights group B’Tselem and others documenting strikes on Palestinians homes that wiped out entire families cited international law to make the opposite point. And a report published last month by Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group, compiled devastating testimony from scores of soldiers saying permissive rules of engagement and indiscriminate artillery fire contributed to mass civilian casualties.”
Nowhere in her article does Rudoren indicate to readers that these preferred sources, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, pursue anti-Israel agendas. Their views are accepted unconditionally. Which one can’t say about Rudoren’s treatment of the IDF.
Rudoren’s article, spread over six columns, ends in typical fashion, citing Sarit Michaeli, a spokesman for B’Tselem, as declaring that the report “will probably not sway international public opinion.”
For sure, it won’t -- if readers rely only on Rudoren and the Times.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers