In an important article in the Columbia Journalism Review, Max Blumenthal has exposed the glaring conflicts of interest that fatally compromise the work of Ethan Bronner, the controversial Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times.
Bronner, it turns out, has a business relationship with Lone Star Communications, a PR firm run by Charley Levine that advises right wing Israeli politicians. While reporting on Lone Star clients, Bronner has also been going on paid speaking gigs organized by the firm.
Blumenthal lays out the case in his must-read article.
But here’s a little nugget revealing the casually racist mindset of Levine, who is open about his far-right wing anti-Palestinian politics.
“Hire an Arab”
Last December, Dalia Levine, possibly Charley’s daughter-in-law, commented on her Facebook page that she was “happy Doni did such a great job clearing the driveway and is enjoying the day. Maybe snow isn’t that bad after all.”
To this, Charley Levine responded: “Don’t make my son work so hard. Can’t you hire an Arab like we always did for snowstorms in Maaleh Adumim?”
Maaleh Adumim is the illegal Israeli colony in the occupied West Bank where Charley Levine lives.
His comment about “hiring an Arab” reflects the widespread racism in Israel where Palestinians, if not seen as “terrorists,” are viewed merely as cheap laborers to do menial work in colonial settlements where they have no political or civil rights.
It’s a situation similar to that of blacks who worked in white homes and cities under apartheid in South Africa.
Israelis even have a term for work that is of low quality: avoudah aravit – or “Arab work.”
“What, is he an Arab?”
Levine’s comment recalls a controversy back in November 2008, soon after Barack Obama’s election victory. Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel, now the Mayor of Chicago, to be his chief of staff.
Emanuel’s father, Benjamin Emanuel, caused immediate embarassment when he asserted that his son’s appointment would be beneficial to Israel. “Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel,” the elder Emanuel said, according to The Jerusalem Post. “Why wouldn’t he be? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.”
Rahm Emanuel apologized to Arab Americans for his father’s racist comments.