05/11/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ethan Bronner, Again: Is He Biased, Or Just Inept?

I suppose one should no longer be surprised at the misleading and biased reporting of news on Israel that characterizes the New York Times in general, and Ethan Bronner, the newspaper's chief correspondent in Israel, in particular. Here is yet another example. Yesterday, during the visit of vice-president Joe Biden to Israel, an Israeli cabinet minister announced that an additional 1,600 housing units for Jews would be built in East Jerusalem--a public slap in the face of the Obama administration, which has been pressing for a freeze on the expansion of the Israeli settlements, especially in Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. This astonishing insult to the United States was so blatant that it has provoked a storm of outrage in Israel.

Reacting to the storm and the obvious displeasure of Biden, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he had not been consulted and didn't know it was coming. Now, Netanyahu's long-established and nearly universal reputation in Israel is that it can never be assumed that what he says is necessarily true--especially, of course, when he has a strong incentive to lie. Yet, Bronner writes, flatly, that the housing plans were "made without forewarning" to Netanyahu; moreover, his story contains no hint of the fact that many Israelis are skeptical.

So how does Bronner know that Netanyahu is telling the truth? I guess he must have asked him.