New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Ethan Bronner has drawn controversy for recent speaking engagements but the announcement that he would appear on a Clarion Fund panel — first reported by ThinkProgress — may have brought more criticism than he could handle. Politico’s Ben Smith reports that Bronner had second thoughts about his participation in the Islamophobic group’s event at the 92nd Street Y.
Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy tells Smith:
Ethan was invited by the 92nd Street Y, where he has appeared before, to be on a panel. He dealt only with the Y and was not aware of involvement by any outside group (in fact, he had never heard of the Clarion Fund before this). He did not select the panel members. When he learned of the makeup of the panel, he suggested to organizers at the 92nd Street Y that a broader spectrum would make for a better discussion. When the Y was unable to add more voices to the panel, Ethan decided to withdraw.
In his public appearances, as in his Times articles, Ethan sticks to impartial reporting and analysis, and avoids editorial judgments.
Bronner’s decision to withdraw from the event comes after ThinkProgress reported that he would be appearing on a panel to promote the bomb-Iran documentary Iranium. The Clarion Fund, which produced the film, features prominently in the Center for American Progress’ Islamophobia report, “Fear, Inc.,” and rose to notoriety for its distirbution of the anti-Muslim documentary Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against The West to 28 million swing state voters before the 2008 presidential election.
Clarion is closely tied to Aish Hatorah, an evangelist, far-right, Israeli ultra-orthodox organization, and Alex Traiman, the film’s director and moderator of the panel, lives in an ideological West Bank settlement.