There is some dispute within the upper tier of NYT management over whether or not David Brooks should have mentioned at some point during his many, many columns on war, peace, Israel and American Middle East and military policy that his son is a soldier in the Israeli army:
Should David Brooks Disclose His Son’s Israeli Military Service?By MARGARET SULLIVAN OCTOBER 8, 2014 12:01Columnists play by different rules than news reporters. By definition, they express their opinions. Columnists also, appropriately, get a lot of leeway in what they write and how they write it.Having acknowledged that, I nevertheless understand the complaints of those readers who are bothered by something they have recently learned about David Brooks: his son is a member of the Israel Defense Forces. In a recent Hebrew-language interview in Haaretz magazine, Mr. Brooks was asked about his worries as a father. The article noted that the columnist’s “connection to Israel was always strong.” It continued:“He has visited Israel almost every year since 1991, and over the past months the connection has grown even stronger, after his oldest son, aged 23, decided to join the Israel Defense Forces as a ‘lone soldier.’ ” (The reference is to a soldier whose family is not living in Israel.)Mr. Brooks described the situation as “worrying.” He added: “But every Israeli parent understands this is what the circumstances require. Beyond that, I think children need to take risks after they leave university, and that they need to do something difficult that involves going beyond their personal limits. Serving in the I.D.F. embodies all of these elements. I couldn’t advise others to do it without acknowledging it’s true for my own family.’”Since then, readers have told me of their concerns.Robert Eldridge of Toronto wrote as follows: “I am outraged to learn that David Brooks’s son is a foreign mercenary in the Israel Defense Force. Surely given Brooks’s facile defense of Israeli actions in the Gaza Conflict and his derogation of Muslim jihadists, this information should have been prominently disclosed.”I’ve heard from many others who have expressed similar sentiments...I asked Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor who supervises Mr. Brooks, to address the issue. He wrote:I do not think he ever had an obligation to say that his son made this choice, any more than if his son had joined the U.S. Air Force (although I recognize that Israel is more controversial in some people’s minds)......
Actually, the original story in the Israeli press was commended to my attention almost immediately after the portion in question was available in an English translation ( and s few times since.)
And my reaction was, in a word, "meh".
Yeah, sure, the sentence where Mr, Brooks self-identifies not as as American but as an "Israeli" -- 'Mr. Brooks described the situation as “worrying.” He added: “But every Israeli parent understands this is what the circumstances require.'-- jumped out at me.
But honestly, given the fact that Mr. Brooks record of unapologetic bullshit, ham-fisted revisionism and baldfaced lying is already so rich and replete and given the fact that it has already gone so conspicuously unremarked on by his peers and employers for so long, for me, the whole idea that David Brooks will ever be held to account for anything he says or does has long since passed so deeply into the Land of Ludicrously Improbably Things that I barely even think about it any more.