Since the departing New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner clearly is a Zionist, I guess some observers thought that being a Zionist must have become a job requirement.
The Washington Free Beacon thus reports with deep concern:
The New York Times’ incoming Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, won’t say if she is a Zionist.
“I’m going to punt on that question,” Rudoren, who is Jewish, told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview yesterday. “I’m not really interested in labels about who I am and what I think.”
Rudoren, formerly the paper’s education editor, has come under fire in recent days for sending out a series of sympathetic tweets to some of Israel’s fiercest non-terrorist critics. Some pro-Israel observers are questioning Rudoren’s ability to remain neutral, as well as her qualifications, as she covers one of the Middle East’s most volatile and fraught conflicts.
Asked point-blank if she considers herself a Zionist, Rudoren demurred.
“I describe myself as a journalist. I don’t describe myself in political terms on any subject,” she said. “I see my role in the world as an observer of what’s going on, so I don’t take on labels that have, sort of, ideological or just activist positions.”
Rudoren added: “I don’t know that I’ve ever described myself as a Zionist in the past. I certainly think that right now in my job, and where Zionism is a subject of discussion, I don’t have any interest in being one or not being one. I’m not a Zionist or anti-Zionist.”
For most observers, Rudoren’s declaration that she is neither a Zionist nor an anti-Zionist would put her in the perfect position of neutrality. But if pro-Israel observers claim to be questioning her neutrality, what they really seem to be expressing is their own inability to trust anyone who is not a Zionist.
In the eyes of the Zionists, Rudoren’s most egregious mistake in her new position was to exchange tweets with Ali Abunimah, one of the most prominent Palestinian activists in the U.S.. She also tweeted with Mondoweiss. There were clear signs that the sky might be about to fall.
Former AIPAC spokesman, Josh Block, told the Beacon:
“These are not people you engage like this, especially your first day as Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the paper of record. You really don’t even want to be seen in public with them — it’s just a mistake.”
The Washington Free Beacon might be a publication you’ve never heard of — I hadn’t. So you might wonder: why is it that they have such a keen interest in Rudoren’s tweets? Turns out it’s a project of Center for American Freedom which itself seems to be an offshoot of the neoconservative Weekly Standard. William Kristol is on its three-person board and Michael Goldfarb is its chairman.
So the Beacon’s interest in Rudoren should be viewed less as journalism and more as a kind of Zionist police action. Rudoren just got given a ticket — since she’s a Jew but not a card-carrying Zionist, does she, the police officer wonders, have any business reporting in Israel?