Monday, August 05, 2013

Rudoren Goes Radical Sheikh

[this post is being updated at the end]

"In a West Bank Culture of Conflict, Boys Wield the Weapon at Hand" is Jodi Ruderon's seeming contribution to the start of a new intifada [for a previous NYT attempt to push for violence, see here] or rather to the on-going current "low-intensity conflict" (if you search that term at this blog, you should be able to find over 80 weekly to bi-weekly reports of many hundreds of incidents of stone-throwing, molotov/firebomb tossing as well as shootings and stabbings over the past year - 99% directed at civilians, not soldiers).  It's as if the NYT is preparing for the breakdown of the talks and what is expected, and indeed promised, to be the next stage: an outbreak of violence.

Of course, her piece could simply be following the B'tselem input she received and felt, stemming from her own personal and professional judgment, that a story on Arab youngsters who feel they must try to kill Jews is worthy of coverage.  After all, it's their "hobby":-

“Children have hobbies, and my hobby is throwing stones,” Muhammad [Abu Hashem, 17] explained weeks before his most recent arrest. “A day with a confrontation is better than a free day.”...Here in Beit Ommar...rock throwing is a rite of passage and an honored act of defiance. The futility of stones bouncing off armored vehicles matters little: confrontation is what counts.


Yehudit Tayar's reports on behalf of Hatzalah of Judea and Samaria have counted 5,635 attacks in the first half of 2013 against Jewish inhabitants of Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, and the Greater Jerusalem regions alone, including 611 molotov cocktail attacks and 5,144 rock attacks. In addition, there were 8 shooting attacks and 3 stabbing attacks.  In total, the violence left 1 person dead and 171 injured, including a 3 year-old girl who was seriously injured.  The summary is here.  {That is a lot of pain, nerves frayed, insurance payments, having the Army patrol roads instead of borders, etc.}

Jodi could have come to me for assistance and suggestions as we have corresponded and I even managed to meet her face-to-face at the American Consulate in Jerusalem, albeit briefly.  

My neighbor's son, a 5-month old infant, could have been a Bar Mitzvah in a few months. Yehuda Shoham was killed [he didn't just die] by a rock that came through was thrown by Arabs through the windshield of his parents' car traveling home to Shiloh.

And did you know these children (17-year olds actually) play?

When they are not actually throwing stones, the children here play Arabs and Army, re-enacting the clashes and arrests. And when 17-year-old Bilal Ayad Awad was released in June after 16 months in prison, he was welcomed like a war hero with flags and fireworks, women in wedding finery lining the streets to cheer his motorcade.

Wow.  Jodi is getting a bit too joyful here, even if she is simply describing.  But she is not, heaven forbid, judgmental in her writing.  Recall: "settlements" are usually noted as "illegal" but is stone-throwing a crime?  In the United States it is as in other civilized places, including Israel, on both sides of the former armistice lines.

Jodi finally gets some stats in:

The Israeli Army commander in the area counts 5 to 15 stone-throwing incidents per week, and the July 8 arrest of Muhammad and his father, Ahmad, brought to 45 the number of Beit Ommar residents taken into custody since the beginning of 2013, 35 of them ages 13 to 19. A teacher at the local high school said 20 boys missed class while in prison last year. A few, including Muhammad, were out more than 60 days, forcing them to repeat a grade.

But, again, her emphasis is on attaching, constantly and consistently, sympathy and understanding to violence and evil.

And this description is downright ridiculously irrelevant:

Beit Ommar, a farm town with roots in the Roman era, 

Wikipedia even notes that

Beit Ummar is believed to be the site of Biblical village of Maarath [Joshua 15:59]

It's a place where they even fly the Nazi flag.

Jews eventually appear and do get a word in.

Menuha Shvat, who has lived in a settlement near here since 1984, long ago lost count of the stones that have hit her car’s reinforced windows. “It’s crazy: I’m going to get pizza, and I’m driving through a war zone,” said Ms. Shvat, who knew a man and his 1-year-old son who died {"killed", Jodi. "murdered".} when their car flipped in 2011 after being pelted with stones on Road 60. “It’s a game that can kill.”

It is no "game".

However, no specifics about the incident there and I'll quote a note I just received: "How sentimental - or acceptable in terms of journalistic integrity - is it that the Rudoren article describes the deaths of "a man and his 1-year-old son who died" (Asher Palmer and his son Yonatan) without saying the ring leader of the gang hurling the "stones" was convicted of murder? And others from the same gang are on trial on similar charges?"

And I am going to make an educated guess here that Jodi was fed a wrong chronology for this following incident:

It was the June funeral of a 2-year-old girl accidentally crushed by a relative’s bulldozer that led to his most recent arrest. “They were shooting gas, and I was with my mother in the car while the soldiers’ jeep was entering the town,” Muhammad admitted to a police officer after the arrest. “So I got out and threw stones at them.”

I think that stonethowing preceded the gas and our 'hero' Muhammed was simply continuing the "sport".

And here is the problem - with no comment by Ruderon:

Musa Awad, a teacher at Beit Ommar’s high school, many here, views the stone throwers with a mixture of pride at confronting Israel and fear for their safety. “Nobody dares to criticize them and say, ‘Why are you doing this?

The elders in authority forgive and even encourage this violent behavior.  And  here is more claptrap:

They throw because there is little else to do in Beit Ommar — no pool or cinema, no music lessons after school, no part-time jobs other than peddling produce along the road. They do it because their brothers and fathers did.

Jodi, they do it because their grandfathers and great-grandfathers did - because the hate Jews.

Jodi even went out on a field-trip observation it would seem for her research {unless she viewed a B'tselem video}:

One Friday in July, two soldiers stood sentry on a hilltop several hundred yards inside the village. Five border police officers were stationed under an olive tree near the wholesale fruit market. More soldiers were on nearby rooftops, army jeeps in the middle of a road.

Three young men with slingshots crouched between trees, sending a little brother out to scout. They whipped the woven-string contraptions over their shoulders one, two, three, four times, then the stones disappeared in the distance. Two stones, five, seven. The boy reported that soldiers were coming closer. The young men retreated to a lower ridge.

Two soldiers with riot helmets and rifles appeared on a rock wall a few feet from where the stone throwers had been. Too late.

I'd love to ask Jodi if that was, well, exciting.  Really exciting, although not necessarily arousing.

And there's the "play" element:-
Muhammad Abu Hashem participates in a role-playing game constructed around being arrested for throwing stones.  Boys wearing fatigues and toting toy guns kicked on the front door and Mr. Abu Hashem opened it, smiling. While one of the “soldiers” checked his green ID card, another imitated a defensive military maneuver to secure the house. “It is a wrong ID,” a boy said in a mixture of Arabic and Hebrew. “Where is Muhammad Abu Hashem?”

Muhammad appeared at the doorway, and was blindfolded with a black sweatshirt. “Come with us,” the soldier-boy ordered. “You are under arrest.” Girls’ screams of mock horror were punctuated with giggles as Muhammad vanished into the midnight darkness.

“You are lucky if you meet Muhammad here next week,” his father said. “He can be arrested for real any moment.”

Muhammad is also practicing, perhaps, to escalate from stone to knives, like the Fogel Family incident:

He recently sneaked into a settlement before dawn to steal apricots he finds especially delicious because they grow on land he sees as stolen from his people. 

Although, again, Ruderon covers for him with a security blanket a la Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz:

One of his hobbies [is other is stone throwing, remember] is rescuing abandoned bird eggs and nurturing them in cages warmed by light bulbs until they hatch.  “When they fly,” he said, “it’s like a person in prison, and he will take his freedom.”

This is a rerun of the "radical chic" of the late 1960s, the new "radical sheikh".

This story is disappointing.

It is imbalanced.  It is inadequate.  It is swooning in its portrayal.  It avoids any humanity for the victims, the Jews.  It blames everyone but the "playful" Arabs.  Educators to not fulfill their roles and no comment is offered.  



I received this:

Here is a report that contains a video with images of attempted murder in Beit Umar.

If I am not mistaken COGAT recently approved the construction of a by pass road in this area because of the stone throwing



Noam Sheizaf of +972, of the far-out Left, is really upset at Jodi.

Excerpts from his "'The New York Times' investigates a Palestinian hobby"
You thought Palestinians throw stones because of the occupation? Think again.  The New York Times published one of its most out-of-context items from the West Bank in recent years
...The head of the paper’s Jerusalem bureau, Jodi Rudoren...meets a local settler who explains how bad things have gotten...On Thursday, some settlers were forced to shoot the natives on this very same road. How unpleasant!

...[her] pseudo-anthropological investigation into the character and customs of the natives goes on with hardly any reference to the political realities...The word occupation doesn’t appear...nor does “resistance.” Apparently...occasionally being shot to death is a local Arab tradition, formed in the desert due to a shortage in swimming pools and piano lessons, and then passed on from father to son. The whole report actually reads like a letter from India or Africa by a 19th century British could such pieces be written by such smart people, again and again? I’d like to offer some of my own anthropological ideas.

The typical New York Times reporter is totally embedded in Israeli society...blind to the ongoing violence that Palestinians are subjected to...The heart of the Times‘ coverage – especially in the news pages – is done from an Israeli perspective, and even when the occupation is criticized, it is done by using the tone, language and arguments of the Israeli opposition. The Palestinians are kept as the object of the story – they are analyzed, their interests are explained by the author, and even when they are quoted, they are denied their own voice.

Oh, my.


CAMERA weighed in.

and also Honest Reporting, with a poster:

Jonathan Tobin at COMMENTARY.

and another.

Sharona Schwartz at The Blaze.

Adam Kredo at Washington Beacon



“ ‘My Hobby Is Throwing Stones’ ” (front page, Aug. 5) describes a scene in which a Palestinian teenager “hurled a rock at a passing car with yellow Israeli plates.” The scene continues, “The settlers stopped their car, got out, and began shouting.” A chart shows the amount of time Palestinian stone-throwers have spent in jail.

While Palestinian protagonists are described in detail, their Israeli victims are largely dehumanized “settlers” — no name, age or gender. And for the record, all Israelis, irrespective of residence and ethnicity, Jews and Arabs, drive with yellow plates.

The article could have added another chart: the names of Israelis who have been killed or permanently maimed by rock throwers and the time they have spent hospitalized. One of the names would be Adele Biton, a 2-year-old seriously wounded by a stone in March.

The article notes that Palestinian youths attack Israelis “because their brothers and fathers did.” By breaking that pattern, Palestinian leaders can prepare their people for peace.

Ambassador of Israel
Washington, Aug. 6, 2013

Letters from the previous day.

And she been corrected:

The New York Times has issued a correction on an Aug. 4 article in which Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren falsely stated that the United States considers as "illegal" the West Bank settlements on land seized by Israel in the 1967 war.

In the second paragraph of the original story, Rudoren wrote, "The United States, along with most of the world, considers these settlements illegal," a claim that the conservative outlet Washington Free Beacon flagged as inaccurate on Wednesday.

The Times has since updated the online version of the article to read, "Most of the world considers these settlements illegal. ... The United States has not taken a position on the settlements’ legality for several decades, saying instead, according to the State Department, 'We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.'"



Anonymous said...

Rudoren should be consistently and politely called out for buying into and promoting the Palestinian victimization narrative, as distinct from acting as a professional reporter of news. Her predecessor Ethan Bronner, for all of his limitations, was much aware of the situation and more careful to avoid being exploited in this way.

Anonymous said...

Rudoren is a perfect vehicle for the cogwar need of the Palestinians to be humanized for the liberal cognitive egocentrists like Cherie Blair ("they're just like us, if only the Israelis didn't piss them off so...").

and given the difficulty of thinking about it as a culture/religion-generated hatred that targets liberals as well, that's a really pleasant and easy out. after all, you get to think you're noble and moral, even as you cover for the most savage cruelty, and you get the side benefit of a little Jew-baiting, which for a Jew like jJdi, is a badge of (self-critical) honor.

Friends with benefits: Western Journalism and Jihad.

Anonymous said...

Rudoren is developing into the Amira Hass of the New York Times.

Anonymous said...

This piece is full of violence, yet that is fine? And the huge photo montage and glowing story of how these kids are treated as heroes is not incitement for them to go out and murder again?

Somehow the casual dismissal within this piece of the murder of a little baby and his father is acceptable speech but criticism is greeted with outrageous charges.

Anonymous said...

I can just imagine the same sympathetic tone for the Jewish boy who blacks out the Arabic letters on signs and then feels compelled to toss stones at cars with passing Arab children as a way of meekly protesting for freedom.

How about an article describing the cherubic little German child who tossed pebbles at the windows of Jewish shops, now all grown up and wistful about the old days?

Anonymous said...

what's so amazing is that dupes like rudoren can actually believe the rock throwers are the davids and not the frustrated and disempowered nazis.

Joseph said...

The attempts to link the Palestinians with the Nazis is comical. They would throw stones at anyone who is brutalising their people.

To try to colour them as anti semitic ...desperate

Anonymous said...

great post.

I have been saying that in the west, the parents of these stone-throwing-hobbyists would be charged with child abuse or child endangerment at the least.

Making the equation - 40 year old vs 19 yr old Israeli soldier is better for us than 19 yr old Israeli soldier vs 12 yr old Arab boy.

YMedad said...

Joseph, thanks for the comic relief. I always enjoy a laugh at the expense of people who do not know much or support the Pals. which means they don't know much.

I do not mean that in a derogatory sense. It's simply a fact, which you prove.

Go here and you can learn that Naziism was the official Pal. line from 1933, that the Mufti supported and aided the Feuhrer and that Nazi ideology was adopted by the Pal. movement.