The New Media and the Palestine Question

The Palestine Center hosted a panel entitled The New Media and the Palestine Question. In Part One, Professor Jerome Slater and Adam Horowitz discuss how blogging changes the public discussion. In Part Two (over the fold), MJ Rosenberg and Professor Stephen Walt discuss how blogging affects policy change.

Part One

Continue reading “The New Media and the Palestine Question”

The New York Times and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Bronner Affair

By Jerome Slater

The New York Times has now confirmed that the son of Ethan Bronner, for the past two years its chief correspondent in Israel, has enlisted in the Israeli army. On January 25, the website Electronic Intifada picked up on what was then still a rumor and pointed out that the internal policies of the Times state that journalists might have to be reassigned if the activities of family members create apparent conflicts of interest. The policy guidelines provide an example: “A brother or a daughter in a high-profile job on Wall Street might produce the appearance of conflict for a business reporter or editor….”

Electronic Intifada sent a message to Bronner asking if the rumor was true. Bronner did not respond but turned the message over to Susan Chira, the Times foreign editor, who did. With the usual brisk arrogance, evasiveness, or non-responsiveness of the Times whenever its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is criticized, Chira dismissed the question of whether Bronner’s family ties (he is also married to an Israeli woman) constituted a conflict of interest: “Mr. Bronner’s son is a young adult who makes his own decisions. At the Times we have found Mr. Bronner’s coverage to be scrupulously fair and we are confident that will continue to be the case.”

No doubt the Times hoped that would dispose of the issue, but thanks to the internet, it was not to be.

Continue reading “The New York Times and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Bronner Affair”

The renewed assault on Mearsheimer and Walt

In an apparent acknowledgment that the Freeman controversy has once again confirmed John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s thesis, apologists for the Israel lobby have renewed their assault on the two professors who first drew attention to its power. The effort I believe is meant to preempt people turning to their book for answers by tainting their reputation. Since the right has little credibility on this, the charge has been led this time by ‘liberal’ Zionists such as David Rothkopf and Jonathan Freedland. My friend Phil Weiss recently posted a brilliant defence of Rothkopf’s scurrilous attack on M&W by Middle East scholar Jerome Slater. I am hoping to find some time so I can respond to Freedland’s equally specious arguments.

Phil Weiss writes: ‘What I have urged more than anything else in the Israel lobby discussion is: discussion! Because only with open discussion can the true extent of the Israel lobby be understood. Chas Freeman’s ouster has had a huge effect, of course. A week or so back David Rothkopf published a vicious attack on Walt and Mearsheimer at Foreign Policy suggesting the lobby is a figment of their gentile imaginations. Below, Jerry Slater, a friend of this site who has published his own critique of Walt and Mearsheimer and is distinguished for practicing the new history of Israel/Palestine in our country, leaps to the scholars’ defense re Rothkopf. An ardent, sincere, and moving argument.’

In the year and a half since the publication of John Mearsheimer’s and Stephen Walt’s Israel Lobby, the attacks on the book’s main arguments as well as personal attacks on its authors have intensified–even as Israeli policies and behavior towards the Palestinians have become more disastrous than ever, and even as the lobby demonstrated its muscle in its successful effort to induce Obama to abandon support for the appointment of Charles Freeman as Director of the National Intelligence Council.

Continue reading “The renewed assault on Mearsheimer and Walt”