NYT's Jerusalem Bureau Chief Really Reaches to Bolster Obama's Pro-Israel Credentials

September 30th, 2011 12:37 PM

President Obama no longer has an Israel problem, Jerusalem Bureau Chief Ethan Bronner reported on Thursday, bolstering Obama’s pro-Israel credentials by assuring Times readers that the president’s recent speech at the United Nations on Israel was pro-Israel. Bronner also broadcasted pro-Obama results from an online poll conducted by the Jerusalem Post – although online polls are an unreliable format the paper rarely consider newsworthy, in “Israelis Happy at Home But Glum About Peace.”

Moreover, the sense over the past two years that President Obama was growing angry with Israel and steering American policy away from its interests subsided last week. The parts of Mr. Obama’s United Nations speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could have been written by any official here. It said nothing about Israeli settlements, the 1967 lines, occupation or Palestinian suffering, focusing instead on Israel’s defense needs.

Avigdor Lieberman, the hawkish foreign minister, said afterward that he would be happy to sign Mr. Obama’s speech “with both hands.”

A Jerusalem Post online poll published on Wednesday showed the turnaround in the public mood about the president. The survey found that 54 percent of Israelis considered Mr. Obama to be pro-Israel compared with 19 percent who said he was pro-Palestinian. While the results could not be directly compared with earlier surveys because the poll was conducted online and was not a telephone survey, the reversal was unmistakable. Four months ago, when The Post asked a similar question in a telephone survey, 12 percent of Israelis considered Mr. Obama to be pro-Israel and 40 percent saw him as pro-Palestinian.

It's no surprise that the Times appears not to have covered the results of the previous anti-Obama poll, even though telephone surveys are more reliable than online surveys.