Ethan Bronner dishes on NYT’s Israel coverage

Uriel Heilman

Once upon a time, says Ethan Bronner, the former Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times, almost all the criticism the Times got for its Israel coverage came from the Jewish, pro-Israel side. That changed in 2007.

In an interview with Moment Magazine, Bronner talks about why, what current Times bureau chief Jodi Rudoren should focus on, what it was like to be the Times’ Israel writer when the news broke that his son had joined the Israeli army, and what the public fails to understand about the work journalists do covering Israel and the Palestinians.

He also addresses the paper’s coverage during the most recent war, including the criticism that the Times was insufficiently featuring Hamas fighters:

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The pro-Israel community is quite incensed with our coverage, perhaps because they see their control of the narrative starting to slip. Even in places like Haaretz, it is now seen as a respectable position to assert that coverage of this war in Gaza was bad and biased against Israel. There’s this incredible frustration, promoted by the Israeli government and military, about the fact that there was not much documentation of Hamas fighters and such during the war. That’s been a big source of anger: where are the photographs and videos and descriptions of rocket launchers, guys carrying weapons hiding from Israeli attack among the population? Why wasn’t that chronicled the way it should be? They believe the answer is fear and prejudice.

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Uriel Heilman is JTA’s senior writer and former managing editor. Follow him on Twitter at @urielheilman