Latest NYT Denunciation of Israel

Jodi Rudoren, the Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times, is not exactly in sync with Israelis who go about their business and shrug off the chaos and turmoil in neighboring Arab states. As she makes clear in an Aug. 29 dispatch about how Israelis take in their stride the bloody and sickening upheavals next door ("Amid Chaos Israelis Take A Stoic View" front page).

Israelis, she writes remain preoccupied with the start of the school term, the finale of a popular TV show and preparations for the High Holidays, content to leave bigger problems to other people.

For the most part, the article, based on interviews with two dozen Israelis, pretty much reflects a current mood, although a careful reading leaves the impression that this mood doesn't exactly suit Rudoren.

In fact, there comes a point in the article where Rudoren abandons any and all pretense of objective journalism and lets fly at Israelis who draw a sharp and vivid contrast between their own progressive society and the anarchistic chaos in Syria, Egypt, and other Arab places.

Here's how she puts it:

"In conversations with two dozen people this week... there were repeated invocations of Ehud Barak's infamous statement that Israel is a ''villa in the jungle,' which caused controversy in 2006 but now is gaining traction even among liberals sympathetic to the Arab cause."

The "infamous" label Rudoren attaches to "villa in the jungle" goes against every basic precept of professional journalism and bias-free news presentation. It is the ultimate example of opinion journalism disguised as "news."

As a correspondent writing for the news section of the Times, it's not Rudoren's job to judge -- or shouldn't be -- whether the "villa in the jungle" comparison is appropriate or not. Or beyond the pale. Her job is to report accurately on current Israeli opinion and let readers make up their own minds as to whether there's something "infamous" about describing Israel as a "villa in the jungle." From where I sit, Israelis, like Americans, who see all the sickening pictures of Syrian victims of poison gas, absorb more than enough evidence to conclude that it's a "jungle" across the border from their "villa" existence. And PC be damned.

Rudoren presumably is paid to report the news when she sends a dispatch to the news section of the Times. Any subjective judgment should be left to the editorial page. Editors need to remind Rudoren that she's not supposed to be a journalistic Lord High Executioner.

In the meantime, the Times, as a matter of accuracy, also needs to change its motto to "all the bias that's fit to print."

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers