19 thoughts on “NYT’s Ethan Bronner: IDF Gaza Killings ‘Painful But Inevitable’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I think you should have responded to the article differently.

    Rather than insult Bronner for candidly collecting and reporting data some of which contradicted itself, you have simply stated, “I derive a different conclusion, a different option.”

    One comment that he makes that rings true is of the tragedy of polarization that emerges from militancy.

    In an environment in which peace is constructed by the forming of relationships that he described, the great tragedy of all wars and all intifadas is of division.

    Tikin Olam does NOT occur by insulting messengers. It comes by taking the messages and healing with the information that is available.

    Change doesn’t happen by condemnation. It happens ONLY by engagement.

    What change(s) do you really believe will heal things?

    1. Richard Witty, “painful but inevitable” is apologetics language. Bronner isn’t just laying out the facts and letting the reader judge–he is editorializing, telling the reader that bad as things sound, it’s not a war crime, but just one of those tragedies of war, even if the Palestinians understandably think the worst. But this is nonsense. And I doubt very much Bronner would write such apologetics about Hamas atrocities–does he say that Hamas killing of suspected collaborators is an inevitable thing that happens when people are suspected of collaborating with the enemy that is bombing Gaza? Does Bronner rationalize Hamas atrocities against Israeli civilians? I doubt it.

  2. Richard W said:

    “Tikin Olam does not occur by insulting messengers. It comes by taking the messages and healing with the information that is available.”

    I don’t believe the above post was insulting the messenger, it was criticizing the author for not seeing what was in front of his eyes. The author writes about the crimes and yet doesn’t grasp the significance of them.

    Tikun Olam happens when people are willing to accept and understand what is happening. You can not hope to change something you don’t understand or are not willing to accept. There is a lot of information out there, but you have to be willing to take your blinders off.

  3. Two points:

    1. How does Bronner know that the white phosphorus bomb was “intended to mask troop movements”? The IDF told him it was?

    2. The heritage of Judaism is rich and complex, but it does include precedent for brutality far exceeding that of the IDF in Gaza. Joshua and Judges?

  4. Thank you, Richard. I had the same appalled reaction when I read the paper this morning. “Painful but inevitable outcome of a modern army bringing war to an urban space”?? This war was not inevitable. There were many paths unexplored and many options not taken. Hopefully Mr. Mitchell will provide some more effective leadership in this fumbling disaster.

  5. Julie,
    Ethan Bronner is there hour by hour. He’s been in Gaza for 10 days.

    He’s seen more than you, I or Richard. Richard was reporting on tone and selection of material, which I noted was very balanced and more complete than most.

    1. My oh my–he’s been in Gaza for 10 days. What difference does this make when he’s shown that he can’t process the sights that he has seen? He reports it & lays it out for you to see. But then he fails to make the proper use of the material and refuses to acknowledge what is obvious to most fair minded people.

      His reports are certainly NOT more complete than most. There are tens of reporters around the world doing a better job of reporting this than him including several Israeli ones who can’t even GET to Gaza due to the IDF’s fear that they might actually harm domestic morale with images too vivid for Israelis to withstand.

      1. Richard,
        Why don’t you take his information as information, and not seek authority or perfection from it.

        I personally have been greatly educated by what I’ve read and heard from Bronner on NPR.

        You aren’t mentioning reports that you trust more, or contrasting impressions, to provide more complete information, from sources that are equally subject to skepticism.

        Please assist in our getting information. I THANK Ethan Bronner for the extent that he and his colleagues have informed. I understand that there is more to inquire into.

  6. Politically, Hamas May Have Won

    by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani, February 4, 2009

    CAIRO – Despite declarations of victory by Israel, the military assault on the Gaza Strip failed to achieve its stated aims, many analysts say. The assault, and even its exceptional brutality, may only have vindicated the notion of resistance among the Arab public.

    “The steadfastness of the resistance in Gaza in the face of Israeli military power has resuscitated the idea of armed resistance,” Gamal Fahmi, political analyst and managing editor of opposition weekly Al-Arabi al-Nassiri, told IPS……

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.antiwar.com/ips/morrowomrani.php?articleid=14189

  7. Richard I agree with your last paragraph and I share your outrage at what was done in this Gaza War not only to the innocents but to the cause of peace. I cannot tell you how upset I am to watch Israel committing this slow suicide, so unaware of it, apparently.

    But will you hear even a whiff of that from the correspondent? No. He would argue that he merely presents the evidence and allows readers to draw their own conclusions. In a more nuanced case, that might be acceptable. But there is no nuance in what the IDF did in Gaza. An F-16 missile lacks any semblance of nuance.

    I think you go way overboard in your reaction to Ethan Bronner’s reporting. I find so often I read his articles and they sit well with me. I don’t expect a moral judgment from him. I expect reporting- as best he can get it. It was not until the so-called “ceasefire” that he was allowed into Gaza and now we get his impressions. I appreciate how hard it is to phrase things to allow the reader to make the “correct” or even obvious judgments as you and I and others do. I don’t want Bronner to spoon feed me and tell me what is moral and what is not.

    If you listen to his recent interview on Terri Gross you get a good idea of what is trying to do. I recommend it.

    If he had said “Gazans during the recent war did not question the legitimacy…” then he’d certainly be correct. But the way he actually wrote the sentence is patently false. Many Palestinians question the efficacy of firing rockets at Israel. Opinion polls which Bronner has full access to confirm this month after month. The percentage of respondents who question this tactic varies depending on the horror of the week that Israel has inflicted. But the truth is that a significant number of Palestinians feel that firing rockets is a counter-productive tactic. It’s is really unpardonable that Bronner botched this.

    Many Palestinians ( both WB’ers and Gazans) can believe in the legitimacy of firing rockets and at the same time question the efficacy of it. Two different things, two different poll questions. They can feel that it is legitimate ( and necessary) and at the same time feel it ( or know it is) counter-productive ultimately, but that they have little choice.

    Again, for me good reporting presents facts and impressions in such a way that I am able to make the proper judgments. This has to do with the whole article and all the choices that go into it, choices of which anecdotes to tell or not to tell. It’s an art in a way…. and subject to a deadline.

    I read this blog for commiseration and articulation on the similar moral judgments I make. I read certain columnists (opinions) for that commiseration too. I don’t want a reporter to do this. A reporter should report. Bronner has gone well enough beyond reporting so as to set the reader up to make moral judgments of their own.

    1. I don’t understand what you’re saying, Suzanne. Bronner does editorialize and he does tell readers what they are supposed to think and he makes judgments which don’t seem to be backed up by his own reporting. Richard (our blog host here, not the other one) points this out. I give Bronner a little bit of backhanded credit for the fact that his own reporting undermines his editorializing Still, given his biases I wonder if he’s unconsciously leaving things out.

  8. Horrifying at times and Bronner does do good digging. At least he even spoke to the victims and feigned at their truth. It’s as if those victims had something to gain by falsifying what happened: dead relatives, more condemnation and war crimes investigations that really compensate the victims here. Funnily enough, it’s not the IDF who has to repay the damage it did in Gaza but through donations coming from everyone else’s pockets but the people who did the damage.

    It must feel good to be a Palestinian.

  9. FROM “THE MAGNES ZIONIST” (01/04/09) – by Jerry Haber (nom de plume): The truth is that Israel finds it easy to justify the so-called collateral damage in Gaza for the same reason that America found it easy to justify the collateral damage in Iraq. Because most Israelis are bigots when it comes to the Arabs, whether they are Hamas terrorists or Israeli citizens. They are gnats, tics, or perhaps, some quasi-humans, who one doesn’t really care about. Or as the wife of a rabbi told me, “They are animals, Jerry, all of them.”

    SOURCE – http://themagneszionist.blogspot.com/2009/01/from-ticking-bombs-to-bombing-tics-why.html

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