Should you be held responsible for actions of your family?

New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, is in the eye of a ‘mini-blog storm’ as this blogger has put it.

His 20 year old son has signed up to the Israeli Defence Force, and this has led to some people calling for Bronner to be reassigned.

Bronner – who is Jewish and whose son has Israeli nationality – is widely regarded as a respected journalist.

He has served as the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the past two years.

But bloggers, like Mondoweiss.com and Israelitybites are asking whether his journalism will be compromised.

Some of the voices who are calling for some sort of move are even coming from his own paper.

Blogger Electronic Intifada wonders how the paper would respond if one of their reporters had a son in Beirut whose son joined Hezbollah?

On the other side of the argument, some people are wondering why this has suddenly become an issue. yourish.com says he’s puzzled as to why people are suddenly critical.

Bronner is married to an Israeli citizen and people ‘don’t seem to think that his being married to an Israeli caused a conflict of interest. So why the sudden attack on Bronner?’

‘Mr. Bronner’s son is a young adult who makes his own decisions,’ writes blogger Richard Silverstein, so why should Bronner have to pay for his son’s actions?

This blog agrees:

‘I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but transferring Bronner from Jerusalem for his son’s decisions borrows from the same grotesque epistemology with which people were transferred to the Gulag for their son’s decisions.’

How much do you want to know about the people who bring you the news? Is Ethan Bronner responsible for the actions of his own family?

80 Responses to “Should you be held responsible for actions of your family?”

  1. 1 Bob in Queensland
    February 9, 2010 at 11:18

    I don’t know Bronner personally and can’t say if the situation is the same, but….

    For many years, I worked for an international TV news agency. In the 1970s, our bureau chief was an English (non-Jewish) journalist with a family. Under Israeli law, his children would have have had to do service in the IDF as soon as they came of age. Beyond that, if they chose to leave to avoid such service, if they ever returned, they would have to do service then.

    Our bureau chief chose to leave an assignment that he was very good at to save his children the need to serve–and, even though one of the offspring is now in the media, he has never been able to go back to Israel.

    In Bonner’s case, since his wife is Israeli, the choice would be that much more difficult and I wonder if the IDF service is a sign of family loyalty rather than political views.

    (Obviously my info is some 30 years old, so perhaps the resources of the BBC could double check my facts!)


    • 2 EDB
      February 10, 2010 at 22:56

      The problem with the totally misleading intro by the BBC is that Bronner’s son is NOT being conscripted as an Israeli, but is volunteering as an American. This is significant and its clearly the case, because Bronner’s son is serving for a year and a half rather than the 3 years for conscription soldiers.

  2. 3 Kenneth Ingle
    February 9, 2010 at 12:33

    You can take a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. You can teach your children the values of peace and co-operation, but they have their own lives to live and may not take well meant advice.
    No we cannot blame anybody for what their families have done, do, or may do in the future.
    A whole nation in Europe is still being blamed for the crimes once committed by a nationalist government which siezed power although it had less than one third of the vote.
    Even if we believe we have the right to judge other people, we should judge them on what they do, not to which family, race or country they belong.

  3. February 9, 2010 at 12:46

    There is nothing like been responsible for actions taken by one’s family,because every human is entitiled to take any decision that seemed better for him or her life.

  4. 5 username
    February 9, 2010 at 12:50

    “Blogger Electronic Intifada wonders how the paper would respond if one of their reporters had a son in Beirut whose son joined Hezbollah?”

    I’m sure that would be accepted without question

    It is only an outrage for people if it helps Israel

  5. 6 Nigel
    February 9, 2010 at 12:51

    The question in the banner seems to be out of context with the issues raised in the various blogs. Bronner S’nr is not responsible for his son’s decision to join the IDF. However the question regarding whether this would affect his journalistic independence in the event that he might have to report on some negative aspect of the IDF must arise. I should think that the IDF would be happy with the situation. I don’t know Bronner but believe that he is a professional, will rise above the concerns and despite the illusion of conflict will report fairly and evenly.

  6. 7 Ibrahim in UK
    February 9, 2010 at 13:04

    It is a conflict of interest. It is up to the employer to decide whether the journalist has the right professionalism to overcome this conflict of interest.

  7. 8 Idris Dangalan
    February 9, 2010 at 13:28

    Yeah, I should be because in of tradition and custom man has to be responsible and taking care of his home. we believe man act as a president his wife as vice , his elder son as secretary and other children as ministers. I meant here in Africa/Nigeria yes we are responsible.

  8. 9 Elizabeth Kuranchie
    February 9, 2010 at 14:02

    I don’t think there is a definite answer to this question. This is because when a member of the family misbehaves, the family integrity is at stake and it leaves a bad image on the family.If on the other hand a member of the family does something pleasant or gain reputation for a work done, it also leaves good image on the family.
    In this scenario, it is negative, so we need to look very carefully at the premises to see if one should be responsible for the actions of the family.
    First,let us consider the fact that Bronner’s son is 20 years,meaning he is of age and can decide for himself.Even in some communities, he can marry if he wishes!
    Secondly,he has signed up to the Israeli Defence Force.Is it a bad idea? I think that is what he wants to do!
    Anyway, Bronner has to be pardoned because it isn’t his fault!

  9. 10 Craig
    February 9, 2010 at 14:29

    He’s 20 years old. I would be more concerned if he did everything his parents told him. His life, his choice.

  10. 11 patti in cape coral
    February 9, 2010 at 14:45

    After the age of 18 (at least here) you are no longer legally responsible for the actions of your children, except for a few exceptions. Whether you can be objective about your family, and how much your children’s decisions are influenced by you is another question althogether with no clear answer. My daughter is 20 and I’m no longer legally responsible for her, but if she made a terrible decision or a very bad mistake I would feel responsible and wonder where I went wrong. I think most parents would feel that way. I don’t know if this would affect Mr. Bronner’s objectivity on his job or not, it really depends on the kind of person he is.

  11. 12 Cabe Searle UK
    February 9, 2010 at 14:52

    It’s simple – Bonner is not responsible for his 20 yr old Son’s decisions.

    Although I think parents SHould take responsibility for their kids – BUT – only up to a certain age… I don’t know what it’s like in other countries, but in the UK I would make a ‘guesstimate’ of say – up to the age of 17.
    After that, young adults have to take responsibility for themselves.
    Saying all that though – if adults go on to commit horrendous or henious crimes, then looking back into a family’s background to apportion some blame should not be discounted.

  12. 13 Mike in Seattle
    February 9, 2010 at 14:52

    This is an issue basic journalism, nothing more.

    Journalists are supposed to divorce themselves from conflicts of interest, and having a son in the IDF is a major conflict of interest when one is a journalist reporting from Jerusalem where the IDF often plays a role in the news.

    We don’t tolerate the siblings of government officials acting as political reporters, or board members reporting on business and as news consumers we shouldn’t tolerate this either.

  13. February 9, 2010 at 15:16

    As a parent your actions should be exemplary. You shape your children by giving them sound education and advice. If your child decides to be, or has been recruited, in the army then he or she is in the theatre of war and you should be ready for the consequences. Perhap you need to spell out priorities to your children but they have to weigh the pros and cons and follow their instincts. A journalist has to sift information, develop his critical sense and in the final analysis give his critical views. He has to be able to deal with emotional situations all the time and not allow them to cloud his judgement.

  14. 15 Maccus Germanis
    February 9, 2010 at 15:21

    For what is the newsman to be responsible? Is it presumed here that protecting the security of Israeli citizens and foreign journalists is a crime?

    BTW, Meryl Yourish happens to be a woman.

    • 16 Ibrahim in UK
      February 9, 2010 at 15:32

      No but occupying someone else’s land and engaging in war crimes is a crime. Just read the Goldstone report.
      As a newsman, he is meant to be impartial. The dilemma arises when the IDF or his son is accused of a crime, how will the newsman report it? Will he report in such a way to protect his son from criticism? How far will his personal relationships affect his objectivity.

      • 17 Maccus Germanis
        February 9, 2010 at 16:33

        Gee, do you think for once a news outlet will not presume guilt? As you do here. As Goldstone did admit he did. ““We had to do the best we could with the material we had. If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.”

        The Goldstone report does rely on bias reports. On the one hand you want me to hold as suspect the father of an IDF soldier -because we know Cindy Sheehan has never criticised the U.S. military- and on the other you want me to take as gospel the re-telling by Goldstone, of accounts which he admits he cannot independently substantiate.

  15. 18 T
    February 9, 2010 at 15:37

    Normally, no. But in this case, Bronner should be reassigned for several reasons:

    He doesn’t work for some tiny newspaper that no one’s ever heard of. It’s the New York Times. So there’s a certain amount of power and influence involved.

    While there’s no such thing as 100% objectivity, Times managment must be aware that this could potentially hurt their bureau’s work. And after the Judith Miller fiasco, the last thing they need is another one.

    Has Bronner ever been critical of the Israeli govt? We all know it’s essentially illegal to publically criticize Israel in the States. But in Israel, the media can do whatever they want.

  16. 19 gary indiana
    February 9, 2010 at 15:41

    Shall the actions of one family member be taken as indicative of likely actions of another? Few questions could be less answerable than this one! Life is full of perceived rights and wrongs, some of which are also absolute rights and wrongs. We pay our money and we make are choice without the benefit of advice from those who have undergone the final judgment. Didn’t you folks get a program when you came in?

  17. 20 T
    February 9, 2010 at 15:41

    What about Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel? His father served in the Israeli military. And Emmanuel (who is a dual U.S./Israeli citizen) served in the IDF for a short time.

    Isn’t that a conflcit of interest? Michael Chertoff (former Homeland Security chief in the States) is a dual citizen. Again, a conflict of interest in an extremely powerful position?

    The point here? You can’t deny that it’s not allowed to draw attention to these things in the States. Jimmy Carter is literally the only person here that can criticize Israel and not get sacked for it. In the States in 2010. What does THAT tell you?

  18. 21 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 9, 2010 at 15:46

    Guilt by association, or presumed bias by family ties, is prejudiced by its nature. An individual, case-by-case approach is called for.

    Furthermore, many American (and Israeli) Jews disagree with many things the Israeli government and military do. To assume that just because Mr. Bonner is Jewish he will blindly follow the line of whatever governement is in power is a very bad assumption.

    Finally, no journalist, editor or bureau chief is a power unto himself, certainly not one at the New York Times. He is a part of an organization that has checks, balanaces and policies.

    This is a storm in a tea cup.

  19. 22 Dr Daudi Mohammed-Ameen
    February 9, 2010 at 16:15

    Being held responsible for your family’s actions is like believing in the concept of ‘original sin’. Adam does something in years-i-don’t-remember ago, and a baby born today goes to hell for it.
    Having said that, it is critical to note that the absolute objective Being who will judge people is not the same journalist writing the newspaper articles today.
    I believe the journalist’s son’s involvement is definitely going to affect this man’s work, unless he is a human without the hormones and emotions of a father.
    Thank you.

  20. 23 audre
    February 9, 2010 at 16:25

    No! No one should be held responsible for the actions of their adult children.

    On the other hand, this could be viewed as a conflict of interest and should be judged only by the rules that govern such situations.

  21. 24 John in Salem
    February 9, 2010 at 16:26

    Sorry but I fail to see the conflict of interest here. Is there something this man can do in his reporting or in his decisions regarding coverage of events that wouldn’t be obvious to his editors? Wouldn’t being in that position force him to go the extra mile to be as unbiased as possible?
    I get the feeling he’s being judged and sentenced for crimes of partiality he hasn’t commited yet. The man is a professional with many years of experience and should be at least given the benefit of a doubt.

  22. 26 Robyn Lexington, KY USA
    February 9, 2010 at 16:53

    Everyone should be responsible for themselves. Why are we always looking for someone else to blame. Each person should take responsibilty for themselves. This man cannot be held accountible for something his son has done. His son is an adult and making his own choices.

  23. 27 Gary Paudler
    February 9, 2010 at 17:05

    My Dad is dead, not because of anything I did, but if he’d been held responsible for everything I or my siblings did, he’d still be struggling to recover. Parents should be responsible for their minor children, but past the age of consent, children are adults and must be held solely responsible for their choices.

  24. February 9, 2010 at 17:05

    Theorists may disagree but the actions of Family affect the individual and they are judged by Family’s action.As head of the family and also as a member of the family each one is responsible for the other.
    Values such as these make Family as a great institution in supporting individual in times of crisis,offer emotional succor and lend stability to society.
    Often concern for family members and taking responsibility for them is miaten for interference.
    ne must remember the most horrible thing in the world is to have none to care for you or question you.You shall appreciate it only when you miss it.

  25. 29 Camlus
    February 9, 2010 at 17:18

    The assertion that this Bureau Chief should be re-assigned is regrettably ridiculous. Except in politics and gangs/mafias where family ties have some influence, positive or otherwise, parents must not be held responsible for their children’s actions and this definately when such sons are adults. Even in the justice system where conflict of interest is taken seriously, the decision to disqualify themselves is often left to judges to make. Bronner must be left to battle with his conscience and if he thinks that there’s need to step down, he should exercise his personal discretion to guard his integrity and that of his employer. I rest my case.

  26. February 9, 2010 at 17:19

    I want to know the underlying motivations of those who set the seeds of the criticism of Mr. Bonner. Holding him to account for his son’s obligation to serve in the Israeli military is irrational, yet once the issue is raised, the power of the irrational seems to gather steam of its own accord. We see the same process overpowering the good sense of many of our citizens in the US: 1) an irrational connection is made/leaked/raised, 2) those responsible cower at public “criticism” and do not speak out to pull the wool from the wolf’s camouflage, and 3) before you know it, there are a multitude of sheep bleating a chorus of inanity. That the New York Times is vulnerable to such manipulation is evident since its capitulation to let the Iraq war progress from hints to reality. That citizens do not champion the rational bespeaks the power of playing to the lowest common denominator. Thanks to WHYS, a least there is a forum where rational people can (and do) still debate.

  27. 31 Touqeer .w. Chishty (Pakistan)
    February 9, 2010 at 17:21

    yes indeed one should be responsible,

  28. 32 subra
    February 9, 2010 at 17:27

    Assume the son committed a murder, will the father be hanged? I think each person should be responsible for his actions. The father’s independence depends on his integrity.

  29. 33 Cabe Searle UK
    February 9, 2010 at 17:33

    I mean henious crimes like rape and child abuse …..

    – if only for the sake of a ‘why’ then the family of that criminal must be looked at – Otherwise everything else that is considered *normal* in this world then No – parents should not be held responsible for once their children have reached adult hood ….

  30. 34 George W. Bangirana
    February 9, 2010 at 17:33

    Why should the guy resign over actions of a 20 year old?
    Its just weird that people would think in that region.
    However I understand it will be a tight rope for the guy to walk.
    In Uganda, the sense of responsibility is even wider.. People expect westerners to be responsible for the actions of the regime in power.
    Crazy world we live in

  31. 35 Linda from Italy
    February 9, 2010 at 17:34

    Holding one adult member of a family responsible for the actions of others is a path to disaster that ends in such horrors as honour killings and vendettas that drag on for generations. Even the behaviour of under 18s shouldn’t necessarily be a reason to pillory parents since parenting is an inexact science, rather like economics, and the law of unforeseen consequences applies in bucket loads.
    In this particular case, since the journalist in question is actually Jerusalem bureau chief, there may be a conflict of interests, but that all depends on his level of professionalism, something that should be judged by the NY Times management and that in turn naturally depends on the publication’s political agenda, as is the norm with most print journalism. Whether his son’s involvement with the Israeli armed forces does or does not lead to bias will come out in due course and if yes, then that will be the time to reassign him.

  32. 36 Anthony
    February 9, 2010 at 17:40

    Not unless you specifically brainwashed them into doing evil.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  33. 37 T
    February 9, 2010 at 17:46

    From an economic perspective, we all know that papers worldwide are losing revenue. The NYT has been (and continues to be hit with budget cuts). This means that there’s less overseas reporting.

    And since the Middle East is still a vitally important area (in many ways), doesn’t it make sense to try and have the best reporters there? Lots of America Jews may disagree with the Israeli govt. Why then do millions of Americans (including some of these Jews) go overseas to get accurate news about their own country? Doesn’t it seem slightly ironic in the least that you have to go abroad for accurate news because the MSM in your country can’t be bothered to do their job?

    If you disagree with me on this, read Robert Fisk.

  34. 38 T
    February 9, 2010 at 17:55

    FYI: If I put a bumper sticker on my car that criticizes the Israeli govt., I can be sacked form my job. And under U.S. labor law, I can’t do anything about it. It’s perfectly legal.

    Is the same true in Israel?

    • 39 patti in cape coral
      February 9, 2010 at 19:24

      @ T – Are you serious? Can I ask who you work for? I would have said the opposite is true, and under US law you cannot be sacked from your job because of what your bumper sticker says.

  35. 40 AJ Carroll - cleveland US
    February 9, 2010 at 18:00

    so long as their actions are not a product of their relatives doings there should be no “blame” passed on. my mother is a devout christian and i am not – do i blame her for the “sins” of the christian or religious world. no that is ridiculous. and does she blame her self for me being without faith – absolutely not, we are perfectly capable of making our own (hopefully informed) decisions. this is no different.

  36. 41 Andrew in Australia
    February 9, 2010 at 18:05

    If my brother turns out to be a mass murderer… or my father was a war criminal, well they are adults, so no, why should I be responsible for another rational adult’s actions even if they are related to me.

    Were I to encourage or incite them to do so, of course yes. I am responsible for my part in their actions.

    As for parents, if your child does something irresponsible, I say yes to that. Until they reach the age of legal responsibility, then parents should be held responsible. But in this modern day, seemingly no one is held responsible especially when it comes to children, no one is held accountable. Seems to me this is why we have such problems with youth in the west. No discipline.. not in schools, heaven forfend at home or by society in general when they act up as it is always the government’s fault.

    And heaven help the government if they try to take action against little Johny or Jill. They are good kids, leave them alone!

  37. 42 steve
    February 9, 2010 at 18:24

    WHYs, why do you allow T to continue spouting his lies and not even let me challenge him on it?

  38. 43 Jack
    February 9, 2010 at 18:27

    I can’t tell you how many politicians have bought up virtually worthless tracts of land, only to turn around and sell it as prime real estate for schools and county offices. Lobbyists essentially buy their way into the offices and hearts of national politicians.

    The media traded in the ethic of objectivity for punditry some time ago. If Bronner has a personal stake in how Israel is perceived, he’s not alone. Why make this about his son? There’s no shortage of Jewish journalists out there, covering, among other things, the Gaza conflict last year. Were they fair to the Palestinians?

    That’s for the reader to decide.

  39. 44 Alan in Arizona
    February 9, 2010 at 18:34

    NO! We should not be held responsible. Under normal conditions.

    My middle son was caught smoking a cigarette in High School when he was 16. I was held responsible and had to go to classes with him.

    He was pulled over for speeding last year ( he is 21 now ), and was arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. I wasn’t held responsible.

    We can only teach our children whats right and wrong and hope they listen.

    My other 2 sons had all of the same parental teaching, values and wisdom.

    The oldest has had a couple of tickets and the youngest hasn’t had any problems like the middle one.

    If one of my sons committed murder should I be held responsible. NO!

    If one of my sons changed political parties or religion, should I be held responsible. NO!

    If one of my sons saved 1000 of lives through some act of their own. Should I receive praise! NO!

    Adult family members are just that. Adults! People make their own choices. You can be proud or disappointed. That’s as far as it should go.

    The only time I could see it being a problem might be if a family member dealt with Top Secret info for their government and an other family member joined a resistance movement or terrorist organization.

    But a news agency! Who the heck cares!

  40. 45 Clamdip
    February 9, 2010 at 18:39

    Americans will always defend Israel whether through money or brute force. That equation won’t change unless there is a massive economic shift. I don’t really see that happening in the near future.

  41. 46 Mike in Seattle
    February 9, 2010 at 18:41

    It appears to me that most of the folks here seem to feel that the son’s actions have no effect on the reporting done by the father.

    Would you folks trust a journalist covering government transparency when his brother is the president or prime minister, or would you wonder if things were being painted in a better light than they really are?

    Would you trust someone covering the aerospace industry in their uncle sat on the board of Boeing or Airbus? What if they reviewed cars for a living, and had a sister who was a vice president for Toyota or Ford?

    Even if the journalist in question is doing everything in their power to be fair and objective, it sure wouldn’t look like it and I would have a difficult time believing what was being reported on. In the back of my mind I would always wonder if I was being told the truth.

  42. 47 Alan in Arizona
    February 9, 2010 at 18:51

    @ T

    If your working at a company that would fire you for speaking your mind.

    Quit! Your obviously a superior thinker compared to the company management.

    If you live in Israel!

    Quit, Move and live a good life in a free country!

  43. 48 Jack
    February 9, 2010 at 19:02

    @ Steve (regarding T)

    How is he lying?

  44. 49 D in Indiana
    February 9, 2010 at 19:09

    not here in the states. you’re held accountable for your own actions.

    February 9, 2010 at 19:12

    These are two files with two individuals in different professions which have nothig to do with each other. There is no connection whatsoever since the father and son chose what do unilaterally.

    This is pure unwarranted witchhunt. Serving in the IDF is not a crime unless it is proven.

  46. 51 Luce
    February 9, 2010 at 19:12

    Think of any example in your own family and you’ll realise: no, you are not responsible for the actions of (adult) family members. Nor is Bronner. As he is a professional journalist, he will know if there will be news items (concerning his son’s army unit, for instance) which a colleague should cover.

  47. 52 steve
    February 9, 2010 at 19:13

    @ Jack

    Well, he’s claiming that Chertoff and Emanuel are US/Israel dual citizens. They are not.

    He’s saying that all employers will fire people for having an anti Israel bumpersticker on their car, and no recourse.

    Both are lies. An employer can fire someone for any reason. Especially for being incompetent. But to say that he and everyone is going to get fired for a bumpersticker about Israel is an outright lie.

    Does T have problems with US/Canadian US/Irish or US/UK dual citizens as well

  48. 53 Cabe Searle UK
    February 9, 2010 at 19:19

    There is a fine line here of what a parent should or shouldn’t be responsible for.. and it seems on here that most parents don’t want to be responsible when their offspring turn into adults – well that’s OK – I agree with that as long as children are not damaged or abused, come from badly broken, or violent homes etc, etc, etc……….BUT there is also another side to how we bring up our kinds and how we affect them by our indoctrination of them that just cannot be swept aside –

    Andrew in Australia – ….If your brother DID turn out to be a mass murderer… or your father WAS a war criminal – then You as their offspring or sibling – won’t need to worry as long as you are not displaying any of their traits… whereas, if You by your upbringing were the damaged child/youth and nothing has been done to remedy that damage and then you grew up to be ‘dangerous’ etc – then I would say that ….
    * Your parents need to be accountable To An EXtent for however you turn out *
    and I think that makes perfect sense and too many of you are taking this one comment as literal for EVERYTHING ! – it’s just not the case and it’s not the case for Bonner and his Son here either !

  49. 54 steve
    February 9, 2010 at 19:24

    FYI: If I put a bumper sticker on my car that criticizes the Israeli govt., I can be sacked form my job. And under U.S. labor law, I can’t do anything about it. It’s perfectly legal.

    Is the same true in Israel?

    What does that have to do with the topic other than y ou hate Israel? Sorry bub, Israel isn’t going anywhere. It’s not going to be destroyed. Deal, and keep your hatred to relevant topics.

  50. 55 Philippa
    February 9, 2010 at 19:32

    You have to decide on a case by case basis. Here there’s a clear emotional conflict of interest, which started way before Bronner’s son decided to join de IDF. No respected western newspaper or broadcaster should have a Jew as their Jerusalem Bureau Chief, unless…. (case by case) he or she is known as a strong and relentless supporter of the rule of international law. This is not the case with Bronner.

  51. 56 steve
    February 9, 2010 at 19:37

    Lots of British royalty are in the British military, they have even served in wars, get the UK government funded BBC reports about them, and their military exploits. Should the BBC be forbidden from doing t his due to the appearance of influence or does that only apply to Jews?

    How is this different from the BBC reporting on UK matters? Taxpayer funded, yet it can be trusted to be impartial, but Jews cannot be?

  52. 57 Alan in Arizona
    February 9, 2010 at 19:39

    If my boss tried to put a stop to my freedom of speak here in the US, my lawyer and I would be on them like stink on Stilton. I’d have to look up the labor laws, but you know it would violate your civil rights for freedom of speak. The labor laws are not all inclusive, but I find it hard to believe a company could fire you for a bumper sticker!

  53. 58 steve
    February 9, 2010 at 19:46

    Would you lose trust for a US journalist whose son joined the Canadian Military on matters of Canada?

    Again, why are you guys singling out Jews?

  54. 59 radical1
    February 9, 2010 at 19:46

    Yes you should within limits ! !

    Recently the head of WADA (world anti-doping agency) recently said that it should not just be the athlete who dopes should not be the only the one who is penalised but also his coach, agents etc.

    The success of micro-financing agencies seems to be derived from its ability to get borrowers to be accountable to a whole community.

    If Mrs Madoff knew she would be going to jail the figure stolen might have been reduced to 1 million.

    In the current situation Bronner is Jewish and if I remember correctly in the old testament there was a warrior Achan whose family was destroyed together with him for a theft. I am not suggesting anything so extreme but it is part of his culture so I think he’d understand.

    Until the right controls are introduced and people take responsibility for their own the police will continue to fail. Deterrents don’t work.

  55. 60 Fletcher in Oregon
    February 9, 2010 at 19:50

    it is less a question of whether or not we are responsible for the actions of others; it is recognizing that other’s actions have effects on us, our motivations and in the way others perceive us.

  56. 61 Cabe Searle UK
    February 9, 2010 at 19:55

    T – I suppose that being sacked for your bumper sticker would make sense – if you were working for an Israeli concern in the US?

  57. 62 Ronald Almeida
    February 9, 2010 at 20:28

    You have no responsibility for anyone’s actions but your own, because we are all unique and seperate individuals. Though it is but natural that we are affected by the actions of people close to us.

  58. 63 jeff
    February 9, 2010 at 20:31

    A person, often a parent, should only be held responsible for their children if the family member is under the age of adulthood, e.g. here in new zealand it is either 16 or 18. Beyond that age the young person needs to be held solely responsible for their decisions.
    Unfortunately a family can not help but be affected by a members behaviour in some way, simply because people are quick to judge and label. My family were affected by my behaviour and lifestyle when younger to the extent that they denied being related to me. It took years to re-established the connections and, sadly, they did suffer needlessly as a result of my actions.

  59. 64 Tom D Ford
    February 9, 2010 at 20:37

    I listened and I tend to agree with Rami Khouri about avoiding any appearance of inappropriate conflicts of interests.

    Reassign Bronner to some other plum job at least until his kids gets out of the Army.

  60. 65 T
    February 9, 2010 at 21:28


    It doesn’t matter who owns your firm. I can work for Bank of America. And if my boss doesn’t like my sticker they can sack me.

    Have I broken any law? No. Have I specifically said that all Jews should be killed and Israel should be destroyed? No. I’m exercising my barely still right to free speech (under the Constitution).

    However, the Constitution just says you have a “right” to free speech. Nowhere in it does it say anything about anything that controls what others can do to you because of what you said.

    Therefore, I have no legal recourse at that point.

  61. 66 JanB
    February 9, 2010 at 22:09

    “He’s 20 years old. I would be more concerned if he did everything his parents told him. His life, his choice.


    Yep, it’s that simple to any rational person. Then again, as soon as the word “Israel” enters a discussion rationality usually flies out of the window. Anyway, I wish everyone a nice old fashioned bogged discussion about “occupations”, “warcrimes” and “Hamastan”, I won’t be joining it.

  62. 67 Bert
    February 10, 2010 at 00:19

    I think the question is posed wrong. It’s not whether one should be held “responsible” for the actions of his family members. It is, more appropriately, whether people are AFFECTED BY the actions of their family members.

    And I think the answer is unequivocally yes. One can’t help but become biased, to make excuses more readily, or what have you, when one’s own family members are involved intimately in any activity that one will be reporting on.

  63. February 10, 2010 at 02:19

    From long experience, I can only say that if there is a choice between free will and determinism, free will always wins, in my opinion, if only because it offers the only way to make decisions about people. An extreme example: do you fail to punish a sex offender because he was molested as a child, or do you assume free will and mete a punishment commensurate with the crime.

  64. 69 loudobservant
    February 10, 2010 at 06:20

    I think there exists a political bias.
    In view of the world-renowned and established scenarios on the grounds facts,if the son kills innocent Palestinian children and their mothers,how will his parents feel about it? The question is:Is his son a citizen of Israel? If not, then he should join the American army,as his obligations and sense of duty dictate.And, the parents,in the circumstance, have a moral duty to guide him as to the right course of action.

  65. 71 wetherill
    February 10, 2010 at 08:22

    Never mind the actions of a family member..Who cares. Personally I am more interested in the IDF as a whole and that it should be held accountable for war crimes against civilians in Gaza and Lebanon.

  66. 72 Kenneth Ingle
    February 10, 2010 at 10:17

    Steve asked why Jews are being singled out. I think the answer is quite simple, israel is governed by Jews. The father works in Israel and his son has joined the forces there.
    Let’s be quite honest, Israel would not exist without the help of the USA. The state has more than doubled in size since it was founded in 1948. It has ignored all UNO resolutions calling for fairness and restraint, but dispite all this, anybody who wants to criticise – at least in the country where I live – can be charged by a court of law for anti-semitism.
    It is time we look at people for what they do and not for which family, race or country they come from.

  67. 73 maryam khan
    February 10, 2010 at 11:37

    u think that yes i should be held responsible for the actions of my family if my family is dependent on me and im the senior person pf my family,a strong annlyses of a senior member of home is quiet neccessary.because seniors knows that what is possitive and what is neggative…..but being a member of home its our moral duty to be move possitive…………thank you

  68. 74 Ibrahim in UK
    February 10, 2010 at 11:49

    @Maccus Germanis

    Goldstone report was a report cataloguing the numerous cases of war crimes that need to be independently investigated and answered for, Goldstone “admitted” that his job was never to be the prosecution and do the investigations himself on behalf of Israel, Hamas or the ICC. People can make their own decisions, they can ignore the Goldstone report, ignore the UN, ignore the international organisations, ignore the Israeli human rights organisations, ignore the Israeli soldiers speaking out against the atrocities, ignore anything that holds Israel to account.
    Neither is anyone being asked to disbelieve the reports of a Jewish journalist, living in Israel, married to an Israeli, with a son fighting for Israel. We are asking the same questions as one would ask of a Muslim journalist, living in occupied Palestine, married to a Palestinian, with a son fighting for Palestine. Is there a conflict of interest which affects the bias?

    • 75 Maccus Germanis
      February 10, 2010 at 14:59

      The phrase, “son fighting for Palestine,” was artfully crafted. I would be less concerned about a reporter with Palestinian Authority ties, than one with Hamas ties. But you bring up a good point. Shall we now examine the over-reliance of Western media on exactly what you describe? And BTW if you’ll re-read the topic heading, it does presume guilt.

  69. 76 steve
    February 10, 2010 at 12:02

    Actually Israel has much more than doubled in size, it and one point was probably 4x larger, but then I returned Sinai to Egypt, won in a war it didn’t even start, in exchange for peace.

    The government of England is Anglican. It’s the official religion, yet I don’t see Anglicans being singled out say in matters of Northern Ireland, the Falklands, like Jews are whenever anything about the middle east conflict comes up.

    What country are you in Kenneth? I’ve LOVE for you to show me a single example of your claim, that you’ll wind up in court if you criticize Israel.. Provide proof of being being successfully prosecuted or found liable for criticizing Israel. If you cannot, I hope you would have the decency of apologizing.

  70. 77 Cabe UK
    February 10, 2010 at 17:45

    Hi “T” –

    I think it’s outragrous if a company (and not Congress) stops you having free speech in a free country and If you are planning on leaving your job sometime soon then take it to the press …
    … if not then maybe stick your sticker on the CEO’s car… see how he gets out of that one?

  71. February 10, 2010 at 18:16

    The bible says, we shall visits the sin of fathers from their sons, even to the fourth generation. But if we should leave the bible aside and be honest with one another, no crime is commited. And if Bronner should be guilty, many of us parents should be guilty, because some of our children have gone the other way. Umar AbdulMutallab’s father should have been locked up.

  72. 79 nora
    February 10, 2010 at 18:32

    This isn’t about family. This is the New York Times. No appearance of impropriety. The boys and girls in legal make the call. End of story.

  73. 80 viola
    February 10, 2010 at 19:16

    No, of course not. No one can be responsible for another’s actions. One can be perceived as being responsible for influencing another’s decision on their actions, but that is all. Everybody is responsible for their own actions and it is folly to blame someone else.

    I see people on television all the time who have arabic sounding names and whose sympathies are not with Israel. Should they be forbidden to get a job in the field? Of course not. You pay attention. If they’re reasonable people and don’t tell lies, you listen.

    Everyone has to learn to separate fact from fiction, opinions from fact, and propaganda from news. It’s a bogus issue, obviously just more anti-Israeli stuff in the propaganda war that accompanies any conflict.

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