Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tom Friedman

He is very bright. And he does his homework. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman is considered an expert by many in matters dealing with the Middle East. I have even heard his name mentioned as a possible future Secretary of State. He researches his subject like very few people do, including most Presidential candidates. There is very little I disagree with him about in terms of the facts on the ground in Israel and her neighbors. I suppose the fact that he is Jewish gives him his interest in Middle East politics. I am absolutely certain that he wishes for Israel the same thing I do. Peace.

But that is where the similarity ends. Furthermore, I think the PR about him has gone to his head. It makes him believe that his views about how to achieve peace or about Israeli officials are infallibly correct. And that the slightest difference of opinion with him is offered by ignorant fools. But I think the only fool here is Mr. Freidman himself.

His latest missive is an example of that. In a reaction to comments made by Newt Gingrich his anger and arrogance oozes from every paragraph. He is so full of himself and sure of his image as an expert that he is beginning to make the noises of an anti-Semitism. He probably thinks he can get away with that because he is Jewish. Who would accuse a Jew of being an anti-Semite?

Well, he is not an anti-Semite. But he does sound like one. When I read his article yesterday I was taken aback by a comment he made. But I was not the only one. Taking a page from controversial academics Mearshimer and Walt - here is what he said:

I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.

That an intelligent and highly respected columnist for one of the most widely read newspapers in the world can say that… well it shows that he may not be that intelligent after all. Nor does he deserve any respect. From the Forward - here is what Congressman Steve Rothman said:

Rothman (D-N.J.) in a statement said that characterization reinforced a “dangerous narrative” about supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

“I gave Prime Minister Netanyahu a standing ovation not because of any nefarious lobby, but because it is in America’s vital national security interests to support the Jewish State of Israel and it is right for Congress to give a warm welcome to the leader of such a dear and essential ally,” he said. “Mr. Friedman owes us all an apology.”

I think he owes America, Israel and the entire Jewish people an apology.

If one reads the very next line of Friedman’s statement, one can see where he is coming from:

The real test is what would happen if Bibi tried to speak at, let’s say, the University of Wisconsin. My guess is that many students would boycott him and many Jewish students would stay away, not because they are hostile but because they are confused.

He then goes on to list a litany of Israel’s ‘sins’ that lead students to their ‘confusion’.

One can agree or disagree with his criticisms. In fact I have made some of them myself. But make no mistake about it. His words and angry tone are the very same that might be seen on one of those anti-Semitic websites.

He is apparently completely enamored of left wing academics that exploit and exaggerate everything Israel does that diverge from their values. He gets his cues from professors who insist that Israel is an Apartheid State and its policies are Nazi-like.

It is Friedman who is confused. He actually grants independent thinking to the young college student who comes to his university with a mind full of mush and is then ‘straightened out’ in his thinking by leftist pro-Palestinian academics, some of whom are Palestinian.

This is where the typical 18 to 19 year old secular Jewish student whose total knowledge about Judaism amounts to seeing his parents eat bagels and lox on a Sunday morning - gets his values. They are fed a constant diet of anti-Israel rhetoric by leftist professors who are at best myopic and see only the ‘now’ and completely ignore the ‘why’. They see an oppressed minority and a powerful government and to them that adds up to blaming Israel for everything and bashing them in the process. End of conversation. These young minds full of mush enamored of their professors buy into that hook line and sinker.

These are the people who views Freidman values. But he ought to know better. He knows the history of the region. He knows the ‘why’. And he should know that the fault of the oppression lies mostly with the Arabs themselves who teach their children so much hatred of the Jewish people that they are willing to commit suicide just to kill a few Jews in the process.

Friedman ought to do a little research about his own Judaism. He views are truly uninformed by it. His knowledge of Judaism is sophomoric at best and his values therefore far more informed by academics like Mearshimer and Walt.

I am just plain sick of this guy’s smarminess. Even with all his research on Middle Eastern issues - his apparent unbridled esteem for academia (combined with his love affair with himself) has blinded him to the truth. He sense of fairness is gone as is his good judgment to the point where he is starting to sound like an anti Semite. His sense of self importance has really gone to his head.

I have no problem with those whose views about Israel differ from mine. But when someone like Friedman goes off the deep end about them, it’s time to expose him for the biased myopic self important fool that he is.