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A wonderful article by Alison Weir revealing how Americans are continually misinformed by our media on the subject of Israel/Palestine through journalistic (and military) allegiances to Israel, free zyvox a myriad of conflicts of interest and slanted coverage. All in the Family By ALISON WEIR Recent exposés revealing that Ethan Bronner, free zyvox the New York Times' Israel-Palestine bureau chief, free zyvox has a son in the Israeli military have caused a storm of controversy that continues to swirl and generate further revelations. Free zyvox (See my piece for CounterPunch, free zyvox The NYT's Ethan Bronner's Conflict With Impartiality.) Many people find such a sign of family partisanship in an editor covering a foreign conflict troubling – especially given the Times’ record of Israel-centric journalism. Times management at first refused to confirm Bronner’s situation, free zyvox then refused to comment on it. Free zyvox Finally, free zyvox public outcry forced Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt to confront the problem in a February 7th column. After bending over backwards to praise the institution that employs him, free zyvox Hoyt ultimately opined that Bronner should be re-assigned to a different sphere of reporting to avoid the “appearance” of bias. Free zyvox Times Editor Bill Keller declined to do so, free zyvox however, free zyvox instead writing a column calling Bronner’s connections to Israel valuable because they “supply a measure of sophistication about Israel and its adversaries that someone with no connections would lack.” If such “sophistication” is valuable, free zyvox the Times’ espoused commitment to the “impartiality and neutrality of the company's newsrooms” would seem to require it to have a balancing editor equally sophisticated about Palestine and its adversary, free zyvox but Keller did not address that. Bronner is far from alone. As it turns out, free zyvox Bronner’s ties to the Israeli military are not the rarity one might expect. • A previous Times bureau chief, free zyvox Joel Greenberg, free zyvox before he was bureau chief but after he was already publishing in the Times from Israel, free zyvox actually served in the Israeli army. • Media pundit and Atlantic staffer Jeffrey Goldberg also served in the Israeli military; it's unclear when, free zyvox how, free zyvox or even if his military service ended. • Richard Chesnoff, free zyvox who has been covering Mideast events for more than 40 years, free zyvox had a son serving in the Israeli military while Chesnoff covered Israel as US News & World Report's senior foreign correspondent. • NPR's Linda Gradstein’s husband was an Israeli sniper and may still be in the Israeli reserves. Free zyvox NPR refuses to disclose whether Gradstein herself is also an Israeli citizen, free zyvox as are her children and husband. • Mitch Weinstock, free zyvox national editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune, free zyvox served in the Israeli military. • The New York Times’ other correspondent from the region, free zyvox Isabel Kershner, free zyvox is an Israeli citizen. Free zyvox Israel has universal compulsory military service, free zyvox which suggests that Kershner herself and/or family members may have military connections. Free zyvox The Times refuses to answer questions about whether she and/or family members have served or are currently serving in the Israeli military. Free zyvox Is it possible that Times Foreign Editor Susan Chira herself has such connections? The Times refuses to answer. • Many Associated Press writers and editors are Israeli citizens or have Israeli families. Free zyvox AP will not reveal how many of the journalists in its control bureau for the region currently serve in the Israeli military, free zyvox how many have served in the past, free zyvox and how many have family members with this connection. • Similarly, free zyvox many TV correspondents such as Martin Fletcher have been Israeli citizens and/or have Israeli families. Free zyvox Do they have family connections to the Israeli military? • Time Magazine's bureau chief several years ago became an Israeli citizen after he had assumed his post. Free zyvox Does he have relatives in the military? • CNN's Wolf Blitzer, free zyvox while not an Israeli citizen, free zyvox was based in Israel for many years, free zyvox wrote a book whitewashing Israeli spying on the US, free zyvox and used to work for the Israel lobby in the US. Free zyvox None of this is divulged to CNN viewers. Tikkun's editor Michael Lerner has a son who served in the Israeli military. Free zyvox While Lerner has been a strong critic of many Israeli policies, free zyvox in an interview with Jewish Week, free zyvox Lerner explains: “Having a son in the Israeli army was a manifestation of my love for Israel, free zyvox and I assume that having a son in the Israeli army is a manifestation of Bronner’s love of Israel." Lerner goes on to make a fundamental point: "...there is a difference in my emotional and spiritual connection to these two sides [Israelis and Palestinians]. Free zyvox On the one side is my family; on the other side are decent human beings. Free zyvox I want to support human beings all over the planet but I have a special connection to my family. Free zyvox I don’t deny it.” For a great many of the reporters and editors determining what Americans learn about Israel-Palestine, free zyvox Israel is family. Jonathan Cook, free zyvox a British journalist based in Nazareth, free zyvox writes of a recent meeting with a Jerusalem based bureau chief, free zyvox who explained: “… Bronner’s situation is ‘the rule, free zyvox not the exception. Free zyvox I can think of a dozen foreign bureau chiefs, free zyvox responsible for covering both Israel and the Palestinians, free zyvox who have served in the Israeli army, free zyvox and another dozen who like Bronner have kids in the Israeli army.” Cooks writes that the bureau chief explained: “It is common to hear Western reporters boasting to one another about their Zionist credentials, free zyvox their service in the Israeli army or the loyal service of their children.” Apparently, free zyvox intimate ties to Israel are among the many open secrets in the region that are hidden from the American public. Free zyvox If, free zyvox as the news media insist, free zyvox these ties present no problem or even, free zyvox as the Times’ Keller insists, free zyvox enhance the journalists’ work, free zyvox why do the news agencies consistently refuse to admit them? The reason is not complicated. While Israel may be family for these journalists and editors, free zyvox for the vast majority of Americans, free zyvox Israel is a foreign country. Free zyvox In survey after survey, free zyvox Americans say they don’t wish to “take sides” on this conflict. Free zyvox In other words, free zyvox the American public wants full, free zyvox unfiltered, free zyvox unslanted coverage. Quite likely the news media refuse to answer questions about their journalists’ affiliations because they suspect, free zyvox accurately, free zyvox that the public would be displeased to learn that the reporters and editors charged with supplying news on a foreign nation and conflict are, free zyvox in fact, free zyvox partisans. While Keller claims that the New York Times is covering this conflict “even-handedly, free zyvox” studies indicate otherwise: * The Times covers international reports documenting Israeli human rights abuses at a rate 19 times lower than it reports on the far smaller number of international reports documenting Palestinian human rights abuses. * The Times covers Israeli children’s deaths at rates seven times greater than they cover Palestinian children’s deaths, free zyvox even though there are vastly more of the latter and they occurred first. * The Times fails to inform its readers that Israel’s Jewish-only colonies on confiscated Palestinian Christian and Muslim land are illegal; that its collective punishment of 1.5 million men, free zyvox women, free zyvox and children in Gaza is not only cruel and ruthless, free zyvox it is also illegal; and that its use of American weaponry is routinely in violation of American laws. * The Times covers the one Israeli (a soldier) held by Palestinians at a rate incalculably higher than it reports on the Palestinian men, free zyvox women, free zyvox and children – the vast majority civilians – imprisoned by Israel (currently over 7, free zyvox000). • The Times neglects to report that hundreds of Israel’s captives have never even been charged with a crime and that those who have were tried in Israeli military courts under an array of bizarre military statutes that make even the planting of onions without a permit a criminal offense – a legal system, free zyvox if one can call it that, free zyvox that changes at the whim of the current military governor ruling over a subject population; a system in which parents are without power to protect their children. * The Times fails to inform its readers that 40 percent of Palestinian males have been imprisoned by Israel, free zyvox a statistic that normally would be considered highly newsworthy, free zyvox but that Bronner, free zyvox Kershner, free zyvox and Chira apparently feel is unimportant to report. Americans, free zyvox whose elected representatives give Israel uniquely gargantuan sums of our tax money (a situation also not covered by the media), free zyvox want and need all the facts, free zyvox not just those that Israel’s family members decree reportable. We’re not getting them. Original article can be found at: Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew and a board member of the Council for the National Interest (CNI). Free zyvox For more information on Ethan Bronner and his upcoming speaking tour on college campuses, free zyvox join IAK’Semail list. Free zyvox Alison can be reached at