To the Public Editor:
Re "Too Close to Home" (Feb. 7): Your argument that Ethan Bronner should be reassigned from his job as the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief because his son is serving in the Israel Defense Forces is mistaken and misguided. You yourself make the case against your own conclusion by acknowledging that Mr. Bronner has demonstrated consistently that he is a highly competent and unbiased reporter in his writings on the Middle East.
It is absurd to suggest that he would now tilt his reporting toward Israel, as absurd as the notion some would posit that Mr. Bronner would bend over backward and become anti-Israel so as not to appear to be favoring the Jewish state.
The simple truth is, as the executive editor, Bill Keller, stated in his response to you, there is nothing to suggest that Mr. Bronner will not continue "scrupulously and insightfully reporting on Israelis and Palestinians."
If editors were to make their hiring decisions based on perception of bias by readers, they would be engaged in a never-ending game of musical chairs, moving and removing staff continually to pacify those who object. Mr. Bronner, like any journalist, should be judged by the quality of his work, which to date has been outstanding. Therefore, there is nothing to suggest, his son's military service notwithstanding, that anything will change in that regard.
Abraham H. Foxman