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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, order eurax a myriad of conflicts of interest and slanted coverage. All in the Family By ALISON WEIR Recent exposés revealing that Ethan Bronner, order eurax the New York Times' Israel-Palestine bureau chief, order eurax has a son in the Israeli military have caused a storm of controversy that continues to swirl and generate further revelations. Order eurax (See my piece for CounterPunch, order eurax 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, order eurax then refused to comment on it. Order eurax Finally, order eurax 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, order eurax Hoyt ultimately opined that Bronner should be re-assigned to a different sphere of reporting to avoid the “appearance” of bias. Order eurax Times Editor Bill Keller declined to do so, order eurax however, order eurax 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, order eurax 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, order eurax but Keller did not address that. Bronner is far from alone. As it turns out, order eurax Bronner’s ties to the Israeli military are not the rarity one might expect. • A previous Times bureau chief, order eurax Joel Greenberg, order eurax before he was bureau chief but after he was already publishing in the Times from Israel, order eurax actually served in the Israeli army. • Media pundit and Atlantic staffer Jeffrey Goldberg also served in the Israeli military; it's unclear when, order eurax how, order eurax or even if his military service ended. • Richard Chesnoff, order eurax who has been covering Mideast events for more than 40 years, order eurax 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. Order eurax NPR refuses to disclose whether Gradstein herself is also an Israeli citizen, order eurax as are her children and husband. • Mitch Weinstock, order eurax national editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune, order eurax served in the Israeli military. • The New York Times’ other correspondent from the region, order eurax Isabel Kershner, order eurax is an Israeli citizen. Order eurax Israel has universal compulsory military service, order eurax which suggests that Kershner herself and/or family members may have military connections. Order eurax The Times refuses to answer questions about whether she and/or family members have served or are currently serving in the Israeli military. Order eurax 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. Order eurax AP will not reveal how many of the journalists in its control bureau for the region currently serve in the Israeli military, order eurax how many have served in the past, order eurax and how many have family members with this connection. • Similarly, order eurax many TV correspondents such as Martin Fletcher have been Israeli citizens and/or have Israeli families. Order eurax 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. Order eurax Does he have relatives in the military? • CNN's Wolf Blitzer, order eurax while not an Israeli citizen, order eurax was based in Israel for many years, order eurax wrote a book whitewashing Israeli spying on the US, order eurax and used to work for the Israel lobby in the US. Order eurax None of this is divulged to CNN viewers. Tikkun's editor Michael Lerner has a son who served in the Israeli military. Order eurax While Lerner has been a strong critic of many Israeli policies, order eurax in an interview with Jewish Week, order eurax Lerner explains: “Having a son in the Israeli army was a manifestation of my love for Israel, order eurax 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]. Order eurax On the one side is my family; on the other side are decent human beings. Order eurax I want to support human beings all over the planet but I have a special connection to my family. Order eurax I don’t deny it.” For a great many of the reporters and editors determining what Americans learn about Israel-Palestine, order eurax Israel is family. Jonathan Cook, order eurax a British journalist based in Nazareth, order eurax writes of a recent meeting with a Jerusalem based bureau chief, order eurax who explained: “… Bronner’s situation is ‘the rule, order eurax not the exception. Order eurax I can think of a dozen foreign bureau chiefs, order eurax responsible for covering both Israel and the Palestinians, order eurax who have served in the Israeli army, order eurax 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, order eurax their service in the Israeli army or the loyal service of their children.” Apparently, order eurax intimate ties to Israel are among the many open secrets in the region that are hidden from the American public. Order eurax If, order eurax as the news media insist, order eurax these ties present no problem or even, order eurax as the Times’ Keller insists, order eurax enhance the journalists’ work, order eurax 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, order eurax for the vast majority of Americans, order eurax Israel is a foreign country. Order eurax In survey after survey, order eurax Americans say they don’t wish to “take sides” on this conflict. Order eurax In other words, order eurax the American public wants full, order eurax unfiltered, order eurax unslanted coverage. Quite likely the news media refuse to answer questions about their journalists’ affiliations because they suspect, order eurax accurately, order eurax that the public would be displeased to learn that the reporters and editors charged with supplying news on a foreign nation and conflict are, order eurax in fact, order eurax partisans. While Keller claims that the New York Times is covering this conflict “even-handedly, order eurax” 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, order eurax 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, order eurax women, order eurax and children in Gaza is not only cruel and ruthless, order eurax 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, order eurax women, order eurax and children – the vast majority civilians – imprisoned by Israel (currently over 7, order eurax000). • 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, order eurax if one can call it that, order eurax 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, order eurax a statistic that normally would be considered highly newsworthy, order eurax but that Bronner, order eurax Kershner, order eurax and Chira apparently feel is unimportant to report. Americans, order eurax whose elected representatives give Israel uniquely gargantuan sums of our tax money (a situation also not covered by the media), order eurax want and need all the facts, order eurax not just those that Israel’s family members decree reportable. We’re not getting them. Original article can be found at: http://counterpunch.org/weir02262010.html Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew and a board member of the Council for the National Interest (CNI). Order eurax For more information on Ethan Bronner and his upcoming speaking tour on college campuses, order eurax join IAK’Semail list. Order eurax Alison can be reached at contact@ifamericansknew.org