Alison Weir at Stanford
From Electronic Intifada http://youtu.be/pen3Ka5IaR0 Note: This video shows disturbing footage of Israeli police shooting and killing a Palestinian youth. At least thirty Palestinian citizens of Israel were arrested in the Galilee village of Kufr Kana on Sunday as protests spread over the cold-blooded police killing of a youth on Friday. The video above shows Israeli police shooting 22-year-old Kheir Hamdan in Kufr Kana in circumstances that totally contradict their initial account...
JTA: "Supreme Court justices talk Jewish"- Kagan calls Rabbi Riskin (currently founder of notorious West Bank settlement) "gracious"
In a JTA article this week, Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan talk about the significance of their Jewish upbringing, of having 3 Jewish Justices on the US Supreme Court, and of Judge Kagan's debt to Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (who has since founded a particularly notorious West Bank settlement). They fail to discuss the significance of having no Christian Protestant justices on the Supreme Court (the largest religious group in the US), no Muslim Supreme Court Justices (Muslim-Americans are about equal in number to Jewish-Americans), no Buddhist Supreme Court Justices, etc....... Justice Breyer serves on Israeli board....
Updated on Friday, October 17, 2014 at 08:49AM by [Alison Weir
Updated on Friday, October 17, 2014 at 10:07AM by [Alison Weir
...UPDATE, 11am Pacific time: Mark Memmott has just emailed me: "I’ve had no contact with PBS. I’ve actually never met Sara Just, as far as I remember, and have not had any email correspondence with her. I have to think that they agreed with what I wrote and decided to (mostly) reissue it." I find it disconcerting that PBS's Sara Just didn't attribute her statement to NPR's Memmott; this seems dangerously close to plagiarism. I wonder how she learned of his statement? I'm also curious about why she removed a small but significant portion of what he had written. Please read on:
NPR's standards editor & ombudsman minimize and/or ignore NPR ethics requirements regarding David Brooks
Now I've also been in touch with NPR's Standards and Practices Editor, Mark Memmot, who is in charge of ensuring that NPR journalists adhere to ethics standards. Last week NPR's ombudsman's office sent me an email that contained a statement by Mr. Memmott. I discussed this statement in a previous post and now will expand on this a bit more, specifically including information about NPR's own ethics code...
Following is an email to me from the Office of the Ombudsman, and below that is my response...
The New York Times ombudsman ("public editor") has now said that the Times should disclose to readers the fact that the son of columnist David Brooks, who often comments about Israel, is serving in the Israeli military. Ethics codes require such disclosure. So far, however, PBS has stated nothing about this, despite the fact that Brooks regularly appears on PBS and was commenting on Israel during its most recent massacre in Gaza, while not disclosing that his son was at the time serving in the Israeli army...
"Mr. Brooks’s son is serving as a member of a foreign military force that has been involved in a serious international conflict – one that the columnist sometimes writes about and which has been very much in the news……. I do think that a one-time acknowledgement of this situation in print... is completely reasonable. This information is germane; and readers deserve to learn about it in the same place that his columns appear.
It's excellent that Sullivan is willing to acknowledge that Brooks' situation is a serious confict, particularly since this meant publicly disagreeing with Opinion Editor Andrew Rosenthal.
However, I find Sullivan's view that it requires only a "one-time acknowledgment"deeply perplexing. Since, as she states, "readers deserve to learn about this in the same place that Brooks' columns appear" why would it not be posted every time Brooks' writes about matters concerning Israel?
Obviously, many readers will not have seen that one posting, and for them it is just as germane and necessary as the first time it was posted. Brooks' conflict of interest should be divulged on all of his commentaries regarding Israel and its interests.
I've written her asking about this.
(The reality is that journalistic ethics codes suggest that the Times should take further action: he should not be allowed to comment on subject matter in which he has such a blatant conflict of interest, and he should be disciplined, possibly fired, for not revealing this conflict of interest to the Times.)
A great many journalists reporting on Israel-Palestine for US media have personal and family ties to the Israeli military. Many have served themselves; others have sons, husbands, etc. who are currently served in the IDF or have in the past.
This is a clear conflict of interest, but is virtually never voluntarily divulged – precisely because the journalists and the media know this is improper and would constitute a particularly blatant example of journalistic bias. For journalistic ethics' statements on this go here.
It is perhaps not surprising that David Brooks only revealed that his son was serving in the IDF to an Israeli newspaper – and that the newspaper only printed the information (somewhat buried) in its Hebrew-language edition, not in the English language edition that many people incorrectly assume contains all the articles in the paper.
I've written about this situation a number of times. Below are some of my articles:
Code of conduct for columnists: "As a newspaper columnist .....I will disclose potential conflicts to readers whenever possible...."
Today I sent the following email to the New York Times Public Editor's office:
In September 2014, New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote: "The Times could do a lot more to alert readers about conflicts of interests of sources used by the paper."
Similarly, The Times could and should do much more to alert readers to the conflict of interest of its own writer, David Brooks.
In the Hebrew edition of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz (but not, it seems, in the English language edition), it came out that the son of New York Times columnist David Brooks, who sometimes writes about Israel-Palestine, has been serving in the Israeli military.
Yet, to date the New York Times has neither revealed this conflict of interest to the public nor taken any disciplinary action regarding Mr. Brooks' violation of the Times' ethics requirements.
The Times' 1999 "Guidelines on Our Integrity"state:
"At a time of growing and even justified public suspicion about the impartiality, accuracy and integrity of some journalists and some journalism, it is imperative that The Times and its staff maintain the highest possible standards to insure that we do nothing that might erode readers’ faith and confidence in our news columns. This means that staff members should be vigilant in avoiding any activity that might pose an actual or apparent conflict of interest and thus threaten the newspaper’s ethical standing."
The Times' statement of principles, "Ethical Journalism: A Handbook of Values and Practices for the News and Editorial Departments" includes the following statements:
"The goal of The New York Times is to cover the news as impartially as possible… and to be seen to be doing so. The reputation of The Times rests upon such perceptions…"
"In keeping with its solemn responsibilities under the First Amendment, The Times strives to maintain the highest standards of journalistic ethics."
"Conflicts of interest, real or apparent, may come up in many areas……. professional activities of… family… can create conflicts or the appearance of conflicts."
"The Times believes beyond question that its staff shares the values these guidelines are intended to protect;"
"The Times views any deliberate violation of these guidelines as a serious offense that may lead to disciplinary action, potentially including dismissal…"
"…a daughter in a high profile job on Wall Street might produce the appearance of conflict for a business reporter or editor."
"Any staff member who sees a potential for conflict… in the activities of… relatives must discuss the situation with his or her supervising editor and the standards editor or the deputy editorial page editor."
The ethics handbook also states: "In all cases The Times depends on staff members to disclose potential problems in a timely fashion so that we can work together to prevent embarrassment for staff members and The Times."
Did Mr. Brooks do so?
The Times' handbook also says:
"In some cases, disclosure is enough. But if The Times considers the problem serious, the staff member may have to withdraw from certain coverage. Sometimes an assignment may have to be modified or a beat changed. In a few instances, a staff member may have to move to a different department – from business and financial news, say, to the culture desk – to avoid the appearance of conflict."
Will The Times now take actions regarding David Brooks in line with its own ethics requirements?
Will it publicly and consistently disclose that Mr. Brooks' son is serving in the Israeli military and was doing so while he was commenting on Israel without disclosing this fact to readers?
Will the Times discipline Mr. Brooks for his violation of the newspaper's ethical requirements?
If he is to continue his employment at The Times, will the Times prohibit him from commenting on subjects in which Israel is involved?
Incidentally, a number of other journalistic codes of ethics contain similar requirements.
The "Statement of Principles" of the American Society of Newspaper Editors says: "Journalists must avoid... any conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict."
NPR's code of ethics states: "All NPR journalists... must tell our supervisors in advance about potential conflicts of interest....... This includes situations in which a... family member... is an active participant in a subject area that you cover."
The Los Angeles Times ethics code states:
"Activities of family members may create conflicts of interest...... the paper may restrict a staff member’s assignment based on the activities of a family member or loved one. Staff members are responsible for informing a supervisor whenever a companion’s or close relative’s activities, investments or affiliations could create a conflict."
Public Editor Margaret Sullivan has now posted the following commentary (it appears that this was being posted at the same time that I was posting my own blog entry above). Below is this piece, with my comments in brackets.
Should David Brooks Disclose His Son’s Israeli Military Service?
Updated on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 08:09AM by [Alison Weir
It has now come out that David Brooks' son is serving in the Israeli military. So while Brooks was providing pro-Israel commentary during Israel's massacre in Gaza, his son was serving in the IDF. This clear conflict of interest should have required Brooks to recuse himself from commenting on Israel. Journalistic ethics now require the New York Times, NPR, and PBS to (1) reveal Brooks' conflict of interest, (2) apologize for not revealing this sooner, and (3) remove him as a commentator because of his dishonesty in neither recusing himself nor in revealing this essential fact to listeners – and, I assume, to these news organizations themselves...
David Brooks' son is in the Israeli Military... Inside & outside the Mondoweiss, Common Dreams loop...
The following explores a variety of cover-ups and sort of cover-ups...
Now we learn, through an article in Jewish Journal, that Brooks' son is in the Israeli military. In other words, he has a profound conflict with impartiality, as the New York Times ethics code calls it, and Brooks, the Times, NPR, etc. have not revealed this to the public.
The Jewish Journal article reports:
One of the more interesting nuggets buried in a long, Hebrew-language interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks in the recent Ha'aretz magazine is the revelation, toward the very end, that Brooks's oldest son serves in the Israel Defense Forces.
I find it interesting, and disturbing, that Ha'aretz hid this information from its English readers.
(By the way, I have written extensively about numerous journalists having close personal and family ties to the Israeli military – see below.)
Philip Weis has a strong article that tells about Brooks' reporting, and notes:
"So when David Brooks was commenting favorably on Israel’s onslaught on Gaza this summer on National Public Radio, his son was serving in the Israeli army. Why didn’t NPR tell us?"
It is ironic, then, that Weiss also decides not to tell readers insider information he feels they shouldn't know:
"This is now the third Times reporter/writer whose son has gone into the Israeli Defense Forces. Famously Ethan Bronner, of course... and a third person I will not identify (I know the individual personally, the beat didn’t involve the Middle East, the son left before long)."
Weiss's reluctance to share his insider information with others is a bit reminiscent of Ha'aretz. Perhaps it's ok, since this is a personal friend. But it shows again that some are inside a loop that the rest of us aren't.
This is also reminiscent of Common Dreams, which exposed an Israel-partisan who posed as an anti-Semite on numerous websites, but refused to disclose his name, thus keeping its insider information away from the rest of us – even though many of our websites may also have been victimized by this infiltrator.
Again, some are in the loop. The rest of us aren't.
Some of my articles on US journalists' personal ties to the Israeli military
"Apart from Israel's ability to defend itself, there never was – and probably will never be – a more important strategic asset to [Israel than its relationship with the United States." The strategic asset in the special relationship "is the US for Israel, not the other way around."
Following are a few short questions for the New York Times in regard to a recent news report:
Tapper's alma mater states that many of its students report that their experiences in Israel [from the school trips there] "are life-changing; they return... with greater maturity as well as a stronger personal connection to Israel and their Jewish roots." The school emphasizes: "...we are committed to the centrality of Israel and the State of Israel."
Since US media are reporting the latest Israeli massacre in Gaza as though it is a defensive action, I thought I would set the record straight. Israeli forces shelled and invaded Gaza BEFORE the rockets began. Rockets were fired only after numerous Palestinians, including many children, had been killed... here are my photos of Gaza BEFORE any rockets had been fired into Israel.
People should be aware that Wikipedia, Facebook and other places sometime contain individuals who post items while misleading people about their identities.
Please keep in mind that facebook and other online forums are in many ways anonymous and, according to several articles in the israeli media and elsewhere, are infiltrated by IDF soldiers and students with false identities. See, for example http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/142374#.UHjVdRgYLuw and http://electronicintifada.net/content/ei-exclusive-pro-israel-groups-plan-rewrite-history-wikipedia/7472 and http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-students-get-2000-spread-state-propaganda-facebook
I expect that some of the posts critical of me originate with such "trolls," as they are apparently called.
My latest article is at http://honorlibertyvets.org/legion.html
Of course, now Israel partisans (and probably these reprehensible American Legion bigwigs) will claim I'm "anti-Semitic," a foolish and unfounded charge. Of course, the last refuge of scoundrels is name-calling.
I've recently written an article about the upcoming day of national observance, "Education and Sharing Day." The article reveals that the person being honored on this day taught that Jews and non-Jews are different species and that non-Jews were put on earth to serve Jews. My main source (there are also others) is Israel Shahak, an Israeli professor whose books were praised by Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Catholic News, Jewish Socialist, London Review of Books, and others. Imagine if we had a national day honoring someone who said that Jews were only put on earth to serve non-Jews... there would be an uproar (and should be). Yet, the reverse has been going on for 36 years...