Rudoren: I did not have journalistic relations with that censor



Submitted by Abraham Greenhouse

New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren has posted a tweet in which she referred to the story of Hadar Goldin, the Israeli soldier captured in Gaza, as her “first” encounter with “Israel’s military censor”:

on Twitter

My first (and, I hope, last) encounter with Israel’s military censor, explained — no paywall. … @LydiaPolgreen

Goldin was killed in Israel’s massive shelling of Rafah, in what The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah reported may have been a deliberate action in accordance with the Israeli military’s “Hannibal Directive.”

While covering the story may well have resulted in Rudoren’s “first encounter” with “Udi,” the specific “military censor” named in the story to which the tweet links, it was hardly her “first encounter” with Israeli military censorship.

Rudoren admitted complying with a gag order when covering the arrest and death of Australian-Israeli Mossad agent Ben Zygier, otherwise known as “Prisoner X”, in 2013:

on Twitter

has partially lifted gag order on story, allowing local publication of foreign reports, but no original reporting

As Noam Sheizaf noted in 972 Magazine, Israel made use of its military censor, in addition to gag orders, in regulating coverage of the affair.

Much more recently, in June, Rudoren admitted to complying with a gag order imposed in the case of the abduction of three Israeli youths in the occupied West Bank:

on Twitter

  1. Did the @nytimes‘ Jerusalem bureau honor Israel’s gag order about the missing Israeli teens? Cc @rudoren @Sulliview

@RaniaKhalek @nytimes @Sulliview Yes. There was no way to report reliable information before gag was lifted & it was only few hours anyhow

Mondoweiss obtained a copy of that order, which it published in translated form. Although the “petitioner” was named as “the State of Israel via the Hebron police and the Israeli police,” the request was “ordered by an Israeli military officer.”

Just last month, Rudoren acknowleged complying with another gag order, on the murder investigation of sixteen-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Abu Khudair:

on Twitter

There is in fact a gag order on investigation re Muhammad Abu Khdeir killing, acc to Israel Police @YousefMunayyer

Unlike the order concerning the abducted Israeli teens, the text of that order has not been published, and so it cannot be readily determined if the Israeli military played a role in its issuance.

In April, when Rudoren failed to report on Israel’s incommunicado arrest of Palestinian citizen of Israel Majd Kayyal, due to a gag order requested by Israel’s secret police the Shin Bet, she later explained to The New York Times public editor that obeying censorship was practically her civic duty:

The Times is “indeed, bound by gag orders,” Ms. Rudoren said. She said that the situation is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land, and that two of her predecessors in the bureau chief position affirmed to her this week that The Times has been subject to gag orders in the past. (An earlier version of this post said that The Times agrees to abide by gag orders as a prerequisite for press credentials, but Ms. Rudoren told me today that that is not the case, although it was her initial understanding.)

Given her work covering the Prisoner X and abducted teens stories, Rudoren’s framing of her interactions with “Udi” while reporting on Hadar Goldin is misleading at best.

Rudoren’s objectivity has recently been called into question by the appearance of a video, posted to YouTube by her husband Gary, in which she is seen casually meeting with Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, which regularly denounces critics of Israeli policies as “anti-Semites,” while making joking references to “the Arabs.”

Ironically, shortly after The Electronic Intifada published Max Blumenthal’s report about the Rudoren video, the original video published by Gary Rudoren was made “private” on YouTube, preventing it from being embedded in the article (a backup copy, posted under the US Fair Use doctrine, had to be substituted).

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