How does one respond to the new NYT Jerusalem Bureau Chief?

It all started with a simple question.

Earlier today, Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund, published on op-ed in the New York Times, known for its shaky and scandalous coverage of Palestine-Israel over the last few years. His op-ed focuses on a harsh but true reality: institutionalized discrimination in Israel. Munayyer, a Palestinian who holds Israeli citizenship, and his wife, a Palestinian from Nablus, are not equals.

Even if we fly together to Amman, we are forced to take different bridges, two hours apart, and endure often humiliating waiting and questioning just to cross into Israel and the West Bank. The laws conspire to separate us.

Yousef Munayyer, ‘Not All Israeli Citizens Are Equal, New York Times

It’s a profound op-ed, an interesting read, and a controversial piece simply because it exposes facts that are so often hidden to everyday readers. So when I asked if Jodi Rudoren, the new Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times, if she was going to to tweet about this op-ed the way she normally does with other pieces concerning Palestine-Israel, her response stumped me.

Is Rudoren saying that I’ve done her job for her? Is she implying that Munayyer’s op-ed, laden with evidence and undeniable statistics, is too subjective? What does this say about the New York Times and about Rudoren’s role as a facilitator for transmitting the news in and out of Palestine-Israel?

Rudoren has a difficult job but that does not excuse her—or anyone else, for that matter—from meeting and surpassing its standards. I am not the Jerusalem Bureau Chief. I am not getting paid to get the facts out to the public in a straightforward, objective, and easy-to-read way.

With at least twenty of her latest thirty-two tweets documenting her experiences on a tour sponsored by The Israel Project, which calls itself “an international nonprofit, provid[ing] journalists & leaders accurate info about the Middle East”, there’s no reason why tweeting about just one particularly critical piece in the New York Times is such a hassle to Rudoren. If tweeting someone else’s opinion is so problematic, then Marcus of The Israel Project must be proud of himself for managing to get around Rudoren’s seemingly strict but appreciably unprincipled standards.

Sami Kishawi

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