Three little Jewish Twitter monkeys (See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil) are very unhappy that Jodi Rudoren, the NY Times’ incoming Israel bureau chief, is sharing tweets with Israel critics like Ali Abunimah and Phil Weiss. The monkeys are Marc Tracy of the neocon Tablet Magazine, Noah Pollack of Commentary, Josh Block (didn’t he just get out of the doghouse for a similar infraction?), and Jeffrey Goldberg (I know that’s four, I originally had three and then remembered Commentary).
I half expected crap like this from the likes of Tablet, Commentary and Block, who had this to say about the Times reporter’s “indiscretion:”
These are not people you engage like this…You really don’t even want to be seen in public with them…
It’s Block with whom you’d really not even want to be seen in public, not Abunimah.
While I detest Goldberg’s smug pro-Israelism, I half expected that he’d be classier than to throw in his lot with the pro-Israel media mafia. Which only goes to show you should never underestimate Goldberg’s cheesiness. Here’s Rudoren’s sin in The Atlantic blogger’s eyes:
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.
Actually, Goldberg is lying because Abunimah doesn’t “argue for Israel’s destruction,” he argues against Zionism, which are two different things. As for Beinart, someone more profound than I will have to explain the sin of publicizing a popular book by a critical Zionist like Beinart. Goldberg scolds the Times’ reporter for her temerity in promoting such a “polemical” (my word, not Goldberg’s) work by comparing it to a book written by Bibi Netanyahu. Which of course makes no sense since Beinart is a journalist with no specific political allegiance; while Bibi is a prime minister. Goldberg goes on to admit he hasn’t even read Beinart’s book, so one wonders how he grants himself the right to judge the contents at all.
Goldberg further argues that if a journalist like Rudoren tweets to an Israel critic she has to balance it with a tweet to a Kahanist. Which is very funny because I don’t believe I’ve ever heard or read Ali Abunimah advocating killing anyone, whether Israeli or not. Violence is something that to Kahanists is as Israeli as blue and white. But the distinction would be lost on Goldberg. Abunimah is “an extremist,” you see, while Goldberg is, well, a nice Jewish boy who never hurt anybody.
The Goldberg Method requires all mainstream journalists to keep a running tally of their tweets and for every left-wing “extremist” you engage you have to balance that with a right-wing “extremist.” You can see how nutso the entire concept is.
Here’s the “thinking” behind the Twitter code of omerta they’re swearing on Rudoren. Apparently, you can share a tweet or two with ‘em to show you’re playing fair. But don’t fraternize because they might have some communicable disease that could infect all the pro-Israel world. Something like the smallpox John Smith brought with him to the New World which decimated Pocohantas, her brave warriors, and the Native American peoples.
I have my own doubts about the quality of the reporting Rudoren will offer Times readers given what I’ve read of previous stories she’s written on the subject. But how the hell can you not come to the defense of a reporter who’s using Twitter precisely the way it should be used–to communicate freely with friend and foe. Someone will have to explain to me why it’s legitimate to enforce a twitter ban on a practicing journalist. It seems downright perverse.
Not to mention, Ethan Bronner was never known for replying to any of his critics (at least he never replied to me). The fact that she’s willing to invest at least in a tweet for the sake of dialogue is somewhat promising.