Worried, Tom Friedman tries to establish red lines on criticism

Israel/Palestine
on 132 Comments

I still haven’t picked up Thomas Friedman’s wild column the other day, in which he sees everything from the Israeli point of view and justifies the slaughter of the Gaza war as, This is a tough neighborhood. The good news in the column is that Friedman acknowledges the rising tide of criticism of Israel, he sounds like Howard Kohr of AIPAC a year back, the amazing Predicate for Abandonment speech. He is fearful of the political consequences. Why else would he lump in Oliver Stone and David Cameron, and ignore what Israelis say are fascistic trends in their society? Friedman:

there is something foul in the air. It is a trend, both deliberate and inadvertent, to delegitimize Israel — to turn it into a pariah state, particularly in the wake of the Gaza war. You hear the director Oliver Stone saying crazy things about how Hitler killed more Russians than Jews, but the Jews got all the attention because they dominate the news media and their lobby controls Washington. You hear Britain’s prime minister describing Gaza as a big Israeli “prison camp” and Turkey’s prime minister telling Israel’s president, “When it comes to killing, you know very well how to kill.” You see singers canceling concerts in Tel Aviv. If you just landed from Mars, you might think that Israel is the only country that has killed civilians in war — never Hamas, never Hezbollah, never Turkey, never Iran, never Syria, never America.

I’m not here to defend Israel’s bad behavior. Just the opposite. I’ve long argued that Israel’s colonial settlements in the West Bank are suicidal for Israel as a Jewish democracy. I don’t think Israel’s friends can make that point often enough or loud enough.

But there are two kinds of criticism. Constructive criticism starts by making clear: “I know what world you are living in.” I know the Middle East is a place where Sunnis massacre Shiites in Iraq, Iran kills its own voters, Syria allegedly kills the prime minister next door, Turkey hammers the Kurds, and Hamas engages in indiscriminate shelling and refuses to recognize Israel. I know all of that. But Israel’s behavior, at times, only makes matters worse — for Palestinians and Israelis. If you convey to Israelis that you understand the world they’re living in, and then criticize, they’ll listen.

Destructive criticism closes Israeli ears. It says to Israelis: There is no context that could explain your behavior, and your wrongs are so uniquely wrong that they overshadow all others. Destructive critics dismiss Gaza as an Israeli prison, without ever mentioning that had Hamas decided — after Israel unilaterally left Gaza — to turn it into Dubai rather than Tehran, Israel would have behaved differently, too. 

This is crazy. Israel turned Gaza into a prison because of an election it didn’t like. Israel didn’t wait to see what plans Hamas had, it shut the place down, with the complicity of the U.S. Yes I know many Palestinians don’t accept Israel’s existence, which terrifies the Israelis, but there is not a word here about the Goldstone report.

132 Responses

  1. Les
    August 10, 2010, 9:33 am

    That “Two Jews, three opinions,” does not apply to Jewish decision makers in the US media. What is the glue that keeps this small but important group of Jews 100% in support of ethnic cleansing and occupation? Jewish voices in opposition do show up now and then but these are not the decision makers.

  2. annie
    August 10, 2010, 9:37 am

    If you convey to Israelis that you understand the world they’re living in, and then criticize, they’ll listen.

    listening isn’t good enough. i want them to change their behavior.

    • MRW
      August 10, 2010, 11:30 am

      Amen.

      • annie
        August 10, 2010, 4:46 pm

        Dear Mr. Friedman,

        I’m beyond the point of thinking ‘Israel listening’ is going to make any difference because all indications lead me to believe whatever they hear they keep building and expanding. In other words Israel’s friends can point out Israel’s colonial settlements in the West Bank are suicidal for Israel as a Jewish democracy til the cows come home and it won’t make one iota of difference.

        I don’t criticize Israel because I want them to listen to me, I criticize Israel because I want my government to listen to me, and change their status quo of supporting Israel no matter what. I criticize Israel so other people who are unhappy about Israel’s policies won’t feel alone or isolated or fearful of being accused of anti-semitism and speak out too, loudly and repeatedly.

        Since when is our only option w/countries whose policies are contrary to ours ‘talk nicely and keep funding’? I can’t vote in Israel nor Iran, Syria or Turkey. Does destructive criticism also close Iranian ears? Hamas’s ears?

        It is not for you to inform us how best to criticize Israel. I’m tired of funding this little apartheid state whose values and principles of ‘democracy’ are a far cry from American democracy. I want a loud vigorous national conversation about Israel and a clearer understanding why it is no matter what they do congress continually supports them.

        As far as I know there is not one Non Zionist mainstream journalist in the United States, not one. The mainstream media is most definitely exclusively Pro Zionist as far as I am aware. The more you frequently point out, loudly and often, Israel’s expansion is a form national of suicide, the faster we might be able to prevent that suicide. If what it takes to get your attention is angry rudeness, so be it. I’m tired of silence, excuses, and feel good stories. I want change now and the only conceivable why I see that happening is American pressure. We’ve been ‘nice’ for decades and it hasn’t gotten better, it’s gotten worse.

        If a Jewish Mother said “we will all sacrifice ourselves for the sake of Jerusalem” would you also claim she “blurted out that she hopes he’ll grow up to be a suicide bomber”?

        Every Palestinian living under Israeli rule considers their sacrifice for the sake of Jerusalem. Every Palestinian who dies in this conflict is considered a martyr in their culture even if they are blown up by Israel bombs or a target of assassination. I recommend you listen to the interview of Khaled Meshaal by Charlie Rose for a fuller perspective of their definition of martyr. Unless you have a quote from this mother claiming she wishes her child to grow up to be a suicide bomber it sounds rather like you are spreading propaganda.

        There is nothing at all unusual about the determination to recover Jerusalem. What’s silly is assuming it’s any more natural for an Israeli than for a Palestinian. My hunch is many Jews would sacrifice themselves for it too. It’s this stubborn determination from both sides that make it imperative America takes a stronger role in resolving this fairly once and for all.

        Sincerely,

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 5:44 pm

        There is no mainstream journalist that desires that France not be French either.

        You don’t find terror reprehensible, Annie?

      • lobewyper
        August 10, 2010, 6:57 pm

        Annie, you have said it all! Thanks so much for this.

      • annie
        August 10, 2010, 7:21 pm

        thank you. i guess it’s to late to write him and tell him i meant ‘Israel’s expansion is a form of national suicide’ instead of ‘a form national of suicide’ but i assume he’ll understand my meaning since it was him i misquoted. oh well.

      • lobewyper
        August 10, 2010, 7:28 pm

        Even Tom will be able to figure it out…

      • RoHa
        August 10, 2010, 8:07 pm

        What do you mean by France being French? “French” means “associated with France*”. How can France be associated with itself?

        (E.g. French people are French because they are citizens of France. French wine is French becasue it is made in France. French kisses are French because they are performed in a matter made popular in France.)

      • RoHa
        August 10, 2010, 8:07 pm

        Manner, not matter.

      • RoHa
        August 10, 2010, 8:08 pm

        But maybe “matter”, too.

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 8:39 pm

        You’ve obviously never been to France.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 10, 2010, 8:40 pm

        “There is no mainstream journalist that desires that France not be French either.”

        How do you know? Do you read French, connard?

      • Shingo
        August 10, 2010, 8:47 pm

        “There is no mainstream journalist that desires that France not be French either.”

        Are you admitting that Israel needs to be an apartoeid, colonial, facist state in order to be Israel Witty?

        If so, good for you for comming clean

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 8:53 pm

        Not in the slightest.

        I’m stating that EVERY national state has a tension between its nationalism and its democracy.

        Palestine (in whatever current and prospective form) certainly does. All of the major advocates are strong nationalists, and formed from similar need for protection logic as Israel was.

        National states resolve the question by emphasizing its chosen weight. France is maybe 70-30 democratic. Japan maybe 60-40 (there are still property prohibitions from non-Japanese owning real estate in some locales – at least a few years ago).

        In Palestine, there are overt racial exclusions from property ownership on land within their jurisdiction. (Maybe 80-20 nationalistic. You tell me if you think it is a different weight.)

        In Israel, its probably 70-30 nationalistic. It used to be 60-40 democratic. It should be 85-15 democratic, more than France.

        It should NOT be 100% democratic, unless it desires to establish a new (and not particularly sustainable) precedent in the world, even moreso than the US historically, presently and proposed.

      • annie
        August 10, 2010, 10:17 pm

        hi richard. thanks to <a href="link to veritashandbook.blogspot.com veritas handbook we now have a nifty resource in case were too lazy to creatively deal w/these constantly repeated assertions.

        oh look, what do we have here…..

        Introduction to Part II 127
        Answering the Zionist Narrative

        The English have England, and the French have France. Why deny the right of the Jews to a state of their own? 129

        go check it out.

      • RoHa
        August 10, 2010, 10:59 pm

        Been there often.

        Am I to conclude by that non-reply that you can’t explain what you mean because you don’t understand it yourself, or should I conclude that you just want to keep the meaning a secret?

      • RoHa
        August 10, 2010, 11:03 pm

        And of course, the implication of that is that English Jews aren’t English and French Jews aren’t French. (If they were, then England would be the state of the English Jews.)

        And yet there was a complaint on another thread that to suggest that American Jews aren’t Americans is anti-Semitic.

      • demize
        August 11, 2010, 3:09 am

        At least you didn’t say ‘manor’ as I often do.

      • Richard Witty
        August 11, 2010, 4:10 am

        Its the logic that is convincing (mine is stated differently than your dismissal talking points).

        If you disagree with the logic of the tension between nationalism and democracy, lets explore that.

        Dismissal is the intellectual posture of something FAR LESS than democratic.

      • Richard Witty
        August 11, 2010, 4:11 am

        The only thing you could conclude from a “non-reply” is that my moderation status is in effect.

        I’m sure that won’t stop you from declaring “he’s afraid, we’ve got him on the run”.

      • RoHa
        August 11, 2010, 5:48 am

        When kissing?

      • RoHa
        August 11, 2010, 5:50 am

        Germany and Japan have been reluctant to grant citizenship to the children of immigrants.
        We call that racism. Not nationalism.

        What is the tension between nationalism and democracy in France? France does not define itself in a way that excludes 20% of its citizens.

        If Israel’s nationalism is Israeli, then Arabs and Jews will be part of the nation.

        But if Israel calls itself Jewish, then it automatically excludes 20% of its citizens. This hardly counts as democratic

        (This must surely be Witty‘s greatest achievement. He’s got me defending France!)

      • traintosiberia
        August 11, 2010, 9:46 am

        Remeber Chirchill, What he siad?

        Palestine wont be Jewish as Britain is British or France is French.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 11, 2010, 6:50 pm

        “is that my moderation status is in effect.”

        Moderated?! You’re all over the place..

      • marc b.
        August 11, 2010, 7:00 pm

        I’m sure that won’t stop you from declaring “he’s afraid, we’ve got him on the run”.

        you’re insane.

  3. Richard Witty
    August 10, 2010, 9:51 am

    “which he sees everything from the Israeli point of view”

    Very very very wierd.

    “Israel turned Gaza into a prison because of an election it didn’t like. ”

    Israel changed the status of its relations with a neighbor that elected a party committed to permanent war with Israel, after a RECENT history of gruesome terror directed solely at civilians, by the elected political “party”.

    Also, Hamas decided to go to war with Fatah BECAUSE Fatah had negotiated with Israel, which Hamas stated publicly that it refused to be bound to.

    Friedman has a much closer analysis to what is true there, than what you are presenting.

    Your currently stated view will NEVER be close to the US policy or interests. You will encourage the fringes only, those that MUST retain a radical perspective for their validity.

    You are advocating for a warring posture currently (oddly stated in the name of objecting to war).

    If/when militants are encouraged by your words to resume violent approaches (say a war between Lebanon and Israel over its intercepting a Lebanese flagged ship en route to Gaza), will that be a good outcome or a totally fucked up one?

    • traintosiberia
      August 10, 2010, 12:14 pm

      R .Witty
      What is preventing Israel to accept the deals offered by Saudi in 2006?
      What is preventing Israel to accecpt 20 years truce from Hamas?
      What is preventing Israel to remove the blockade on land and on seas imposed against Hamas?
      Why did Israel impose the blockade before Hamas even did anything to Israel ?
      Why did Israel fail to accecpt the election result that brought Hamas to power?

      Y ou will not appreciate the semitism of any countries that rejects Israeli sovereignty for electing Nethayahoo and Liberman for their role in violence,extrajudicial killings,passport forgeries,and for rejecting Oslo or for violating UN and Int national Court on settlement and on issue of East Jerusalem.Hams is n’t that bad yet.
      You will not appreciate if groceries/shoes/pencils are not allowed to Israel?
      You will not appreciate if we use same argumnets over and over again that all Israeli politicians from Herzl to Liberman are same and all thier political parties are same. But that what Israel do.They have been rejecting Arafat and PLO despite 1988’s declaration by PLO leaders what they were ready accecpt until Hamas gained power. The very argumnets of rejections that are made against Hamas , have been accecpted by PLO some 20 years ago. What did Plaestinian get?

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 1:13 pm

        “What is preventing Israel to accept the deals offered by Saudi in 2006?
        What is preventing Israel to accecpt 20 years truce from Hamas?
        What is preventing Israel to remove the blockade on land and on seas imposed against Hamas?”

        Fear of violence against Israel and civilians. If a solution that constructed confidence as to the security issues, then Israel would accept it.

        Just for reference, Hamas did accomplish really enormous compliance with a brokered and then silent functional truce with Israel, except that it periodically allowed (maybe even encouraged) other factions to shell Israel. Even giving them credit for what they did accomplish, very very few trust Hamas at all. They regard Hamas as an opportunist political beast seeking to win the favor of the Palestinian street, using the measure of the extent they can stick it to Israel as the basis, and for the purpose of their long-term agenda to remove Israel, replacing it with ultimately a sharia Palestine. (The sharia plan is probably a 100 year plan. The all of Palestine is probably a 25 year plan.)

        “Why did Israel impose the blockade before Hamas even did anything to Israel ?”

        You are joking with that question, right?

        “Why did Israel fail to accecpt the election result that brought Hamas to power?”

        It accepted it, and responded by cutting off ties and removed the right of passage between Israel and Gaza.

      • eljay
        August 10, 2010, 1:43 pm

        >> It accepted it, and responded by cutting off ties and removed the right of passage between Israel and Gaza.

        Yeah, there’s nothing like Israel shitting on the democratic process to demonstrate its desire to make a “better wheel”.

      • traintosiberia
        August 10, 2010, 2:53 pm

        “Fear of violence against Israel and civilians. If a solution that constructed confidence as to the security issues, then Israel would accept it”
        Fine but be ready to accecpt the same raesoning when the table is turned and the Arabs start blockading and bombing Israel for all these acts of 1-usurpation
        2-premtive wars
        3-arm twisting by using US/UK
        4-blockade of gaza/bombing of infrastructures.
        5-provocation by settlers
        6-behavior of rogue IDF despite some supreme court injunctions as evidence of duplicity of whole Israeli population.
        Stay ready.

      • Shingo
        August 10, 2010, 8:58 pm

        “Fear of violence against Israel and civilians.”

        How does accepting a truce contribute to violence against Israel Witty?

        It is fear but not of violence. The fear is having to return stolen land.
        “If a solution that constructed confidence as to the security issues, then Israel would accept it.”

        As Tzipi Livni told the world, that is clearly false.

        “Just for reference, Hamas did accomplish really enormous compliance with a brokered and then silent functional truce with Israel, except that it periodically allowed (maybe even encouraged) other factions to shell Israel.”

        False. Israel’s MFA said that Hamas were very careful to prevent attacks from militants not under their control. Hamas arrested and killed those that violated the ceasefire.

        “Even giving them credit for what they did accomplish, very very few trust Hamas at all.”

        Very few trust Israel at all.

        “You are joking with that question, right?”

        You have a problem with facts Witty?

        “It accepted it, and responded by cutting off ties and removed the right of passage between Israel and Gaza.”

        I see. So by your logic, the Arabs states can demonstrate their acceptance by cutting off ties and removing the right of passage between Israel and the Middle East.

        Do I have the right Witty?

      • MarkF
        August 11, 2010, 7:49 am

        Then Israel is alright with collectively punishing 1.1 million people by putting them “on a diet”. The blockage for security is a lie, false. Remember our truth tables:

        Cutting off the supply of materials to build weapons for security – True

        Cutting off suplies of food for security – False

        Collective punishment for voting for an organization out of desparation? I’d argue – True.

        The Soviet Union had imperial goals. Hamas may have 25-100 year goals. Again, look at the map. Whose goals are being accomplished?

        We negotiated with the Soviet Union even though we knew their goals.

    • Donald
      August 10, 2010, 2:37 pm

      “Israel changed the status of its relations with a neighbor that elected a party committed to permanent war with Israel, after a RECENT history of gruesome terror directed solely at civilians, by the elected political “party”.”

      Israel killed a lot more civilians, and I’m sure Hamas would have been happy to hit Israeli military targets if we’d supplied the weaponry, if that’ll make you happy.

      “Also, Hamas decided to go to war with Fatah BECAUSE Fatah had negotiated with Israel, which Hamas stated publicly that it refused to be bound to.”

      Liar

      Not that any of this is worth talking about–it’s just your usual BS, except I’d also like to correct your spelling. It’s W-E-I-R-D. But then, so are your posts.

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 4:27 pm

        Did Hamas declare that it was honoring the PA agreements with Israel, or did it say that it regarded them as non-binding on subsequent Palestinian administrations?

        Did Hamas undertake violence against Fatah prior to the reported incidents in Vanity Fair? YES.

        It is a map of a bitter, a horrendous triangular conflict. But, it is not accurate to declare Hamas innocent victim within that conflict.

      • VR
        August 10, 2010, 8:39 pm

        “Did Hamas declare that it was honoring the PA agreements…”

        Why the hell should Hamas accept all of the screwed up agreements that the PA made with Israel? You are an idiot par excellence, it is like trying to communicate with a donkey.

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 8:43 pm

        Because, they were treaties made by the government that they were tentatively administering.

        That is what is meant by peaceful transfer of power, that law continues to be upheld.

        They had the option of invalidating Fatah treaties, in which case Israel had the option of severing relations with the PA.

        Its an open question whether it was the best Israeli policy in retrospect, but it was reasonable, and perfectly legal.

        The isolation of Gaza is also likely legal, but cruel and very much worthy of working to change, but not on the basis of Israel as some pariah state.

      • Shingo
        August 10, 2010, 9:00 pm

        “Did Hamas declare that it was honoring the PA agreements with Israel, or did it say that it regarded them as non-binding on subsequent Palestinian administrations?”

        Yes that’s exaclty what Hamas did when they signed the Cairo agreement.

        “Did Hamas undertake violence against Fatah prior to the reported incidents in Vanity Fair? YES.”

        And visa versa. Page 1 of the Vanity Fair article says that violence was mutual.

        “It is a map of a bitter, a horrendous triangular conflict. But, it is not accurate to declare Hamas innocent victim within that conflict.”

        True, but they are far more innocent than Israel.

      • Donald
        August 10, 2010, 9:50 pm

        “But, it is not accurate to declare Hamas innocent victim within that conflict.”

        Making stuff up again, I see. Nobody said Hamas was innocent.

        And you ignored the point about Israel killing far more civilians than Hamas. I can’t recall a single time when you’ve ever acknowledged it.

      • annie
        August 10, 2010, 10:28 pm

        Because, they were treaties made by the government that they were tentatively administering.

        maybe you missed the leaked video of the fraud bibi. the PA was a set up from the word go to enable more land theft under the guise of ‘military zones’. making palestinians jump thru more hoops and perform for israel for what? FOR WHAT? here’s the thing richard , less and less people believe the lying thieving ethnically cleansing apartheid state of israel anymore. it’s a charade.

      • VR
        August 11, 2010, 1:47 am

        Like I said, communication with a donkey

      • Psychopathic god
        August 11, 2010, 7:53 am

        moses on a cross witty, the concept of Israel honoring agreements seems like it comes from another planet. do those words even go together in a sentence, israel and honor?

      • traintosiberia
        August 11, 2010, 9:56 am

        MrWitty
        Do you remember what Fatah was told by Israeli leadeaders following publication of Goldstein report?
        They were told that same ( Lead cast) would be done to West Bank if Fatah continued to insist on international investigation . Fatah buckled.

    • robin
      August 10, 2010, 7:04 pm

      More lies and nonsense.

      Israel changed the status of its relations with a neighbor

      Oh, so they withdrew an ambassador? What an Orwellian euphemism for stealing tax revenue, blockading (an act of war), and heavily bombing a trapped population.

      a party committed to permanent war with Israel, after a RECENT history of gruesome terror directed solely at civilians

      “Directed solely at civilians” is a lie and you know it. And what’s more, you throw fits about comparable hyperbole from the other side. “Committed to permanent war” is not true in the present, but I’m not sure what the case was 4-5 years ago.

      And do you really pretend that Israeli governments have never included war criminals? Are Palestinians bound on principle to fight them to the end, or would you consider that stance to be “counterproductive” or “extremist”?

      Also, Hamas decided to go to war with Fatah BECAUSE Fatah had negotiated with Israel

      Where are you getting this? Hamas went to war with Fatah when they discovered Fatah planning a coup against them with the Americans. Another blatant lie.

      Not much substance in the rest, so we’ll just file that under nonsense.

      • VR
        August 10, 2010, 8:43 pm

        “And do you really pretend that Israeli governments have never included war criminals?”

        In fact, being a bloody war criminal is prerequisite, without it you do not get elected in Israel. What does this tell you?

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 8:44 pm

        ARe you joking that you don’t regard the terror attacks on bus stations, schoolbuses, cafes, hotels from 2000 – 2005 weren’t directed solely at civilians.

        Or, are you one of those that declare that because there are Israeli soldiers on many buses, that they are not directed at civilians?

      • robin
        August 11, 2010, 6:02 pm

        How stupid are you? “The attacks directed at civilians were directed solely at civilians.” Thanks for that tautology.

        Here’s another one: “the attacks directed at soldiers were directed solely at soldiers.” Do you like this one? “The Israeli attacks directed at civilians were directed solely at civilians.”

        Or did you manage to convince yourself that Hamas didn’t fire a shot at an Israeli soldier through the entire intifada?

      • Shingo
        August 10, 2010, 9:02 pm

        “Where are you getting this? Hamas went to war with Fatah when they discovered Fatah planning a coup against them with the Americans. Another blatant lie.”

        Robin, what you are witnessing is typical Witty tactics of making shit up as he goes along. If you ask him to provide a source for this assertion, he will run away, as do all patholgical liars.

    • thankgodimatheist
      August 10, 2010, 8:42 pm

      “Very very very wierd.”

      Wierd (sic) indeed!

  4. Gellian
    August 10, 2010, 9:51 am

    I wanted to leave a comment asking, Mr. Friedman, if you hadn’t been born Jewish, do you think you would still be on Israel’s side?

    But the NYT didn’t allow comments on that column. Wonder why.

    • Donald
      August 10, 2010, 11:00 am

      I think I saw one Friedman column that allowed comments, but usually when I’ve visited there’s no comment section. And I think we all know why–he’d be ripped apart by people who can see through him. Most of the letters to the editor that cite his columns are very complimentary to him–it wouldn’t do to let in the riffraff.

      • Berthe
        August 10, 2010, 11:22 am

        Friedman having a column in the NY Times proves that the Times (and by extension other Jewish Zionist controlled media) advance and promote Jews to the exclusion of others. No way is Friedman a super duper intellect; no way does he have insight or a lot of knowledge or anything that would make him stand out as even a CANDIDATE for a regular column in the top newspaper in the US. Same thing with former NY Times columnist William Safire and current columnist David Brooks. El Diario no doubt advances Latino columnists and The Amsterdam News no doubt advances black columnists but they don’t pretend to be newspapers for everyone.

        I bet the NY Times has also had more front page mentions of Jewish summer camps and coop boards than of the Israeli sustained air and sea attack on the USS Liberty.

      • Gellian
        August 10, 2010, 11:32 am

        Nah, c’mon, Berthe. Brooks and Safire were/are both pretty smart, pretty good columnists. Brooks started off very weak but is in his stride. If you want to pick on weak cols there, go after Gail whatshername, who is as boring as the day is long. And Krugman has been there too long. These days I’d say Kristof is best, followed by Brooks. But agreed, Friedman is weak.

      • Donald
        August 10, 2010, 2:43 pm

        I’m not going to dig it up, but Brooks is as bad as Friedman on war and peace issues and on Israel. He’s a classic example of an inside the beltway courtier (or to use less fancy lingo, a suckup to the powerful). And Safire–good God. The man was passionately in love with Sharon.

        Maybe I will dig up one example. Here’s Brooks urging Americans to take up the white man’s burden and commit some atrocities in the name of humanity–

        link

      • Chu
        August 10, 2010, 3:32 pm

        Brooks is one of the worst suck-ups in Washington and his behavior on his media networks is reflective of a suck-up/nervous tosser.

        Matt Taibbi can always tear Brooks (and Freidman) to shreds with their own statements.
        Taibbi re. Freidman
        Taibbi re. Brooks

      • RoHa
        August 10, 2010, 8:13 pm

        I agreed with William Safire when he wrote about grammar.

        For example, he fulminated against the “If I would have eaten that, I would have died ” construction in counter-factual conditions.

        He said it was wrong, wrong , WRONG.

        He said “If I had eaten that, I would have died ” is correct.

        And he was right.

        I hated everything else he wrote.

    • annie
      August 10, 2010, 10:32 pm

      you can write him an email here

  5. eljay
    August 10, 2010, 9:53 am

    >> If you convey to Israelis that you understand the world they’re living in, and then criticize, they’ll listen.

    Wow, it’s as simple as that, eh? I wonder why NO ONE has EVER done this before! So all one has to do in order to have criticism listened to is to convey to Israelis an understanding of the world they’re living in. Cool.

    OK, I understand the world you’re living in. It can be a harsh place. Now, stop your occupation and land theft, your ethnic cleansing, your destruction of homes and land, your maiming and killing of peaceful protesters and your disregard for human rights and equality.

    There – problem solved! Thanks, Mr. Friedman! :-)

    • Richard Witty
      August 10, 2010, 9:56 am

      Friedman DOES oppose the occupation, the continuation of land theft, the destruction of homes.

      Where did you form the view that he does not?

      From Phil maybe.

      • eljay
        August 10, 2010, 11:55 am

        >> Friedman DOES oppose the occupation, the continuation of land theft, the destruction of homes.
        >> Where did you form the view that he does not?

        I never said he doesn’t. But, clearly, his simplistic theory is useless since he has both conveyed to Israelis that he understands the world they’re living in and he has criticised them…but Israelis aren’t listening.

        Or was I too generous to assume that “Israelis will listen” meant Israelis will cease and desist the activities about which they are being criticized by an understanding person?

      • traintosiberia
        August 10, 2010, 12:49 pm

        Mr Witty.
        I agree Friedman does oppose all those ( who in a saner frame of mind wont amsdo that?).He also opposed saddams’incursion in Kuwait and apparently possession of his arsenal.But he wanted to give ” war a chance” in Baghdad not in Tel Aviv.

      • traintosiberia
        August 10, 2010, 1:04 pm

        R Witty
        Friedman also sees any diminishing of chances of war aginst Iran as a disappointment and bad for the world .For Friedman, the deal promoted and brokered by Brazil/Turkey became “as ugly as it gets,” in his column in NY Times. Then he have the chutzpath to cry over mentioning of Israel for the nasty crimes Israel has been doing against its neighbors and aginst its citizen ( Arabs) while making sure he forgets the nukes of Dimona.

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 1:18 pm

        Freidman has not advocated for war with Iran, that I’ve read. (Maybe I’m wrong.)

        He does accurately describe the nice horror that Iran is currently, and the prospects for sickening regional disruption that their regime promotes.

        I don’t know of a single credible thinker that regards the Ahmenidijad proposal of US allying with Iran rather than Israel as a rational application of US interests. Not Steve Walt for example.

        He’s got some sound bites that dissenters like, but a close look is not so pleasant.

      • Psychopathic god
        August 10, 2010, 1:52 pm

        He does accurately describe the nice horror that Iran is currently, and the prospects for sickening regional disruption that their regime promotes.

        Have you ever been to Iran?
        Here’s a challenge to Max Blumenthal: I head up a collection to pay for your trip to Iran if you can find TEN Iranians who say anything about the US that is anywhere near as nasty as what blasé Israelis write in their newspapers and speak into Max’s microphone.

        I don’t know of a single credible thinker that regards the Ahmenidijad proposal of US allying with Iran rather than Israel as a rational application of US interests. Not Steve Walt for example.

        If I can show you one, maybe two, perhaps even three, Witty, will you contribute to the fund to send Max Blumenthal to Iran?

        oh, phooey. can’t restrain myself.

        US – Iranian Rapprochement Enhances Security for All

        Mark N Katz, at Harvard’s MESH, Wrote, “A Strategic Case for US – Iran Rapprochement. blogs law harvard edu/mesh/2008/11/strategic_case_for_us_iran_approchement/

        Maybe you don’t like the analyses of these people. Is it because they are Jewish?

      • traintosiberia
        August 10, 2010, 4:06 pm

        Stepehen Kinzer wants. Bush sr. wanted but was shut down by Israeli agents. France under Chirac wanted, India wants, Jack Straw wanted until Blair under pressure of Israeli agents changed the track in 2002.The countries are forced to start imposing sanctions for they are being forced.

      • traintosiberia
        August 10, 2010, 4:08 pm

        Friedman does not say in so many words. I know one does not have to use “N” words to practise racism.

      • Shingo
        August 10, 2010, 9:06 pm

        “He does accurately describe the nice horror that Iran is currently, and the prospects for sickening regional disruption that their regime promotes.”‘

        There’s nothign accurate about it because the assertion is BS.

        “I don’t know of a single credible thinker that regards the Ahmenidijad proposal of US allying with Iran rather than Israel as a rational application of US interests. Not Steve Walt for example.”

        You are hardly in a position to determine who is a cedible thinker Witty, but Walt and many others have said that Iran is a natural ally and would serve US interests to be friends with Iran, while Israel is a strategic liability.

      • Shingo
        August 10, 2010, 9:04 pm

        “Friedman DOES oppose the occupation, the continuation of land theft, the destruction of homes.”

        No he oposes the settlements. He does not oppose the occupation, the continuation of land theft, the destruction of homes.

  6. traintosiberia
    August 10, 2010, 10:04 am

    Friedman is harping on the same broken guitar.Will it do anything diferent this time?
    He laments over killings by Hamas/Iranian/Hizbullah /and by scores of others. He forgets that these groups are already under sanctions, are on the lists of terrorist organizations.Why does he raise objection to same being advocated against Israel? Is he losing his own trademark ability of simplicity which he employs
    to figure out the complex world?

    • Shingo
      August 10, 2010, 9:09 pm

      “He laments over killings by Hamas/Iranian/Hizbullah /and by scores of others. He forgets that these groups are already under sanctions, are on the lists of terrorist organizations.”

      Excellent point traintosiberia. Zionist shills like Friedman will often assert
      (falsely) that these regimesa are worse than Israel, but overlook the fact that they are already being sanctioned, embargoed and black listed.

      Yes, criticism of Israel is an act of delegitimization.

  7. traintosiberia
    August 10, 2010, 10:11 am

    Friedman and Peretz has more than one thing in common.One blames hamas for situation in Gaza and other wants to continue nutrional war to reduce gazan population. Both also have failed to observe the criticsm of 911 by prominent clerics from Indonsia to Morocco .Both have not noticed the 911 candle -light vigil on Tehran after 911. The ignorance serves their country of Israel so well!

    • Shingo
      August 10, 2010, 9:11 pm

      “Both have not noticed the 911 candle -light vigil on Tehran after 911. The ignorance serves their country of Israel so well!”

      How ironic! 1 million Iranians held a candle -light vigil after 911, while the PM of Israel lauded the attacks as a good thing, and Iran is the enemy.

  8. robin
    August 10, 2010, 10:13 am

    had Hamas decided — after Israel unilaterally left Gaza — to turn it into Dubai rather than Tehran, Israel would have behaved differently

    Ugh, I can’t believe Friedman has the gall to write this bullshit.

    Does he think it’s possible to develop a “Dubai” without the ability to import or export? Without access to the ocean? (And, for that matter, without South Asian slave labor?) You would think international trade, a “luxury” Israel has denied Gaza since months after “disengaging”, has maybe a little bit to do with Dubai’s prosperity?

    And how is the analogy even relevant? Dubai is a dictatorship. Gazans want freedom, not skyscrapers. Will Israel only start treating Gazans like human beings once they build an absurdly wealthy emirate?

    I think I get what he’s trying to do here, though. Obviously he’s dismissing Israeli responsibility for Gaza’s hardships. But he uses Dubai in order to convey the idea that Gaza, despite its tinyness, could be viable on its own. He is quite satisfied with Gaza’s isolation, and has no interest in a Gaza that is part of Palestine, let alone joined with Israel proper in a secular democracy.

    • Psychopathic god
      August 10, 2010, 10:28 am

      what a jackass friedman is.

      there’s more Iranian money in Dubai than there is in Tehran. Stuart Levey saw to that.

    • robin
      August 10, 2010, 4:23 pm

      What are you saying?

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 4:30 pm

        Dubai described that they sought, welcomed, accepted, foreign capital and cosmopolitan relations with all law-abiding parties.

        Hamas declared itself a revolutionary state.

      • marc b.
        August 10, 2010, 4:50 pm

        thanks for asking. i was wondering myself, but assumed i wouldn’t get an answer. (and i thought that there were only three ‘e’s in PRECEDED? it’s bad form to scream in the majuscule if you can’t be bothered to spell correctly.)

      • Shingo
        August 10, 2010, 9:12 pm

        “Hamas declared itself a revolutionary state.”

        And why is that Witty? Which of the 2 states are under occupation. sirge and blockade?

      • robin
        August 10, 2010, 9:13 pm

        I really have no concept of what you are talking about. Hamas should declare that they accept foreign capital? Why wouldn’t they? Foreign capital in Gaza would be nice, had Israel not completely shut down that possibility. It doesn’t matter one bit what Hamas says.

        And I thought you were an old leftie. Are you saying you admire the politics of an autocratic slave society? Are dictatorship and slavery part of “cosmopolitan relations”?

      • Psychopathic god
        August 10, 2010, 9:29 pm

        profound, Witty.

        Dubai functions on a combination legal system that includes Shari’ia law principles.

        Just like Tehran.

        poor dumb witty

      • Richard Witty
        August 11, 2010, 4:23 am

        Its a fundamental question, associated with their “decision” to become a civil political party RATHER than a militia.

        They never really made that jump. Politics was play, the final stage in the consolidation of opportunistic power.

        I’m not an SWP leftie. I’m a green green, valuing the ecology of families, communities, tribes, planet; EACH of them.

        I value those because I observe that the formula of social organization of only individual-planet or individual-state, is the formula that makes global homogeneous commercialism possible.

        Yes, the premises of anarchistic critical analysis are the same features that make libertarian global commercialism.

        Justice requires diversity of communities, not the desire for the annihilation of them.

      • marc b.
        August 11, 2010, 8:10 am

        the two-dimensional character of ‘Witty’ has jumped the shark. (and thanks to annie, i believe, who pointed out again the curious similarities between the zionist talking points memorandum and ‘Witty’s’ rhetoric.) i had in the past felt a twinge of sympathy for him, but his comments in this link have completely cured me.

      • Chaos4700
        August 11, 2010, 8:49 am

        Hamas declared itself a revolutionary state.

        And what did Israel do in 1948? Sorry to burst your bubble but YOU are every bit the militant that anyone in Hamas is. And probably more so.

    • RoHa
      August 10, 2010, 8:17 pm

      Gaza should be like Dubai rather than Tehran?

      Gazan would love Gaza to be like Tehran. It is a booming, modern city.

  9. Mooser
    August 10, 2010, 10:18 am

    So many witty people analysing I-P issues in the paper these days.

    No wonder nobody will listen to a howler monkey that couldn’t beat ‘em, and therefore decided to become a “shit for christ”. Oh well.

    • MHughes976
      August 10, 2010, 11:58 am

      I have a daughter who lives in the tropics and while visiting her have heard howler monkeys at work. In the right context they make a rather charming sound.

  10. Berthe
    August 10, 2010, 10:20 am

    Here’s former Pakistan spy chief saying there is no evidence Osama bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11.

    Pakistan spy chief says war lost cause

    But Tom “Suck on This” Friedman has been right in there drumming up hatred for Muslims and lust for bombing and murdering Muslims. If there is no evidence today, there was no evidence in 2001-3 either.

    You reap what you sow. It has all been in the service of Jewish triumphalism and domination of the entire planet on the part of people like Friedman. What a lot of nerve to complain about getting some of his own medicine. Let the American people speak; they are not in love with Israel.

    • MRW
      August 10, 2010, 11:26 am

      Good points, Berthe. You’re dead right about this: “Friedman has been right in there drumming up hatred for Muslims and lust for bombing and murdering Muslims.” He’s a small-minded little shit with a grandiose idea of his own importance.

    • MHughes976
      August 10, 2010, 11:53 am

      I’m not sure, Berthe, whether to take your words ‘domination of the entire planet’ with the previous adjective ‘Jewish’ or with the later phrase ‘people like Friedman’.
      If the former, it would seem to me like a misunderstanding of Zionist culture, which assumes that the planet is in essence a hopelessly hostile place. If the latter – if you refer to a terrifyingly complacent belief that people with a certain education, set of attitudes and kinds of career are in the process of inheriting the earth – you may be dismayingly close to the truth.

      • MRW
        August 10, 2010, 12:04 pm

        I think its clear Berthe meant the latter.

  11. Taxi
    August 10, 2010, 10:42 am

    Mr. TF,

    You needing to get us to give the israelis a break, coaching us with the wording of our criticism, is part and parcel of zionism’s incessant pathology for ‘entitlement’.

    Soon as you use this entitlement canard, Mr. FT, you immediately paint israelis as diaper-wearing adults with special needs.

    That’s about the strength of your PR propaganda for israel of late, Mr. TF.

    • Chu
      August 10, 2010, 11:57 am

      they have been enjoying the capitol and loan guarantees
      from the US for way too long. It signifies that they do not
      have independence, which is a weak position to be in
      62 years
      after the nation’s founding.

  12. MRW
    August 10, 2010, 11:27 am

    Israel didn’t wait to see what plans Hamas had, it shut the place down, with the complicity of the U.S.

    Within four weeks of the election.

    • Tuyzentfloot
      August 10, 2010, 2:55 pm

      Well, at least it made the decision within four weeks(Dov Weissglass ‘put them on a diet’ quote in feb 2006, link to haaretz.com ), but I can’t how quickly the blockade was tightened.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        August 10, 2010, 3:13 pm

        ‘can’t find’ that should have been. One problem I find is implementations are delayed, and timings get swapped and fuzzied all the time so Israel appears to retaliating all the time. Missiles from Gaza are a nice example. Try to find number of missiles in the months before the elections and it turns out to be hard because the numbers are averaged out over longer periods so they appear to be increasing all the time.

  13. MHughes976
    August 10, 2010, 11:39 am

    The idea of constructive critique seems to be “suggest what might be done differently while giving credit for the good things done and without suggesting calling the whole thing off”. Yet this is often, very often, attempted. Over and over again there is a call for restricting the settlements, from Obama and from lots of others, including Mr.F himself. Over and over again these calls are not ‘listened to’ in any normal sense of the word.
    A critique that is incessantly repeated despite being resolutely ignored ceases to be a critique and becomes a backhanded form of encouragement in the mode of doting parent to erring child: ‘Whatever you do, I’ll always love you’. In these circumstances a constructive critique, being unable to remain a critique at all, becomes impossible, leaving as the only alternatives praise and radical condemnation.
    Where we need to be constructive is in legitimating Palestine and the Jewish element which it will need.

  14. Chu
    August 10, 2010, 11:52 am

    I’ve long argued that Israel’s colonial settlements in the West Bank are suicidal for Israel as a Jewish democracy.

    I think he is forgetting a few other problematic regions for Israel. If it were only the settlements in the West Bank. He’s a very disingenuous columnist.

  15. potsherd
    August 10, 2010, 12:55 pm

    There certainly is “something foul in the air.” It’s coming from the Knesset, and Israelis know it. Maybe Friedman should sniff again.

  16. Jim Haygood
    August 10, 2010, 12:59 pm

    ‘Destructive critics dismiss Gaza as an Israeli prison, without ever mentioning that had Hamas decided — after Israel unilaterally left Gaza — to turn it into Dubai rather than Tehran, Israel would have behaved differently, too.’

    How was Hamas going to ‘turn it into Dubai’ when Israel blockaded imports and seized Customs duties, while Israel’s mole in the US Treasury, Stuart Levey, orchestrated a global embargo on wire remittances into the territory?

    If it weren’t for his ideological pandering, Friedman would be unemployable as a knowledge worker. He lacks the chops, the smarts, the skills, the lyricism. One hopes he’s enjoying the NYT hack work while he can get it. Because the Times, they are a-changin’ … (that’s a pun, son)

    • rmokhtar
      August 10, 2010, 1:32 pm

      Jim,

      You know the one thing he’s good at, though?

      Coining original-sounding, but-in-reality-meaningless phrases…

      let’s see: !flat!

      From Finkelstein:

      link to normanfinkelstein.com

      “New York Times foreign affairs expert Thomas Friedman joined in the chorus of hallelujahs.[21] Israel in fact won the 2006 Lebanon war, according to Friedman, because it had inflicted “substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large,” thereby administering an “education” to Hezbollah: fearing the Lebanese people’s wrath, Hezbollah would “think three times next time” before defying Israel. He expressed hope that Israel was likewise “trying to ‘educate’ Hamas by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population.” To justify the targeting of Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure Friedman asserted that Israel had no other option because “Hezbollah created a very ‘flat’ military network…deeply embedded in the local towns and villages,” and that because “Hezbollah nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians…to restrain Hezbollah in the future.”

      Leaving aside Friedman’s hollow coinages — what does “flat” mean? — and leaving aside that he alleged that the killing of civilians was unavoidable but also recommends targeting civilians as a “deterrence” strategy: is it even true that Hezbollah was “embedded in,” “nested among,” and “intertwined” with the Lebanese civilian population? Here’s what Human Rights Watch concluded after an exhaustive investigation: “we found strong evidence that Hezbollah stored most of its rockets in bunkers and weapon storage facilities located in uninhabited fields and valleys, that in the vast majority of cases Hezbollah fighters left populated civilian areas as soon as the fighting started, and that Hezbollah fired the vast majority of its rockets from pre-prepared positions outside villages.” And again, “in all but a few of the cases of civilian deaths we investigated, Hezbollah fighters had not mixed with the civilian population or taken other actions to contribute to the targeting of a particular home or vehicle by Israeli forces.” Indeed, “Israel’s own firing patterns in Lebanon support the conclusion that Hezbollah fired large numbers of its rockets from tobacco fields, banana, olive and citrus groves, and more remote, unpopulated valleys.”[22]“

      • potsherd
        August 10, 2010, 2:39 pm

        Friedman would be the first to scream “genocide” if Hezbollah had inflicted comparable injuries on the Israeli population. Which has yet to learn the lesson not to elect warmongers to its highest offices.

      • Donald
        August 10, 2010, 2:46 pm

        I was just about to to link to the Friedman column Finkelstein is citing.
        Here it is. It obviously doesn’t cross Friedman’s mind that he’s casually endorsing terrorism, because he doesn’t consider bombing Arabs to “educate” them a form of terror.

      • rmokhtar
        August 10, 2010, 2:56 pm

        Donald,

        In Friedman’s mind, it’s the only language we Arabs can understand. Or else, he’s sold his integrity on the AIPAC market.

        Of course, the more distorted these views get, the easier it is to sell the need to resort to wars in the region, and of course, the more violent the backlash.

      • Psychopathic god
        August 10, 2010, 3:12 pm

        re Flat:

        There were, of course, compelling geopolitical reasons to reaffirm American support for Israel: most immediately, the fall of the Taliban had terminated the necessity for an international military coalition; more generally, the territorial designs for American Empire mapped out by the influential Project for a New American Century had returned the Middle East to the center of the neoconservative stage. But what gave this reaffirmation its teeth – what gave it both voice and bite – was a series of parallels between the imaginative geographies deployed by America in its military assault on Afghanistan and those deployed by Israel in its military operations in the occupied territories of Palestine. These enacted three performances of space: locating, opposing and casting out. “Locating” mobilized a largely technical register, in which opponents were reduced to objects in a purely visual field — coordinates on a grid, letters on a map — that effected both a localization and an abstraction of “the other.” “Opposing” mobilized a largely cultural register, in which antagonism was reduced to a teleological conflict between “Civilization” and “barbarism.” “Casting out” mobilized a largely political-juridical register, in which not only armed opponents but also ordinary civilians were reduced to the status of outcasts placed beyond the privileges and protections of the law so that their lives (and deaths) were rendered of no account.

        The IDF’s “besieging cartography,” as Camille Mansour calls it, was installed through an intricate system of monitoring that involved passive sensors, observation towers equipped with day/night and radar surveillance capabilities, electronic communications, computerized data banks, satellite images, and photographs from reconnaissance planes. But as the assault on the occupied territories intensified, Stephen Graham shows that the conflict was transformed into “an urban war in which the distance between enemies [was] measured in meters.” Orientalist tropes were invoked to render Palestinian towns and cities as “impenetrable, unknowable spaces” whose close quarters were beyond the long-distance gaze of these high-technology surveillance systems. Accordingly, “a new family of Unattended Aerial Vehicles and camera-carrying balloons was deployed to permit real-time monitoring of the complex battles within the cities, and to track the movements of key Palestinian fighters and officials so that missiles could target and kill them.” All of this was a strategically vital arm in the realization of what Eyal Weizman* calls Israel’s “politics of verticality.” “Every floor in every house, every car, every telephone call or radio transmission can be monitored,” he explained. “These eyes in the sky, completing the network of observation that is woven throughout the ground, finally iron out the folded surface and flatten the terrain.” The opacity of “other,” alien spaces is rendered transparent, and their complexities reduced to a series of objects in a purely visual plane.

        like watching ants in a colony, and stepping on them at will. A variation of Chris Hedges simile: luring mice to a trap then killing them for sport.

        * Weizman is author of “Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation.” “Hollow Land” displays the blueprint of Israel’s murderous plan; “Iranophobia” explains the mental processes that created the blueprint.

      • potsherd
        August 10, 2010, 5:03 pm

        It’s a funny thing that with all that surveillance capacity, the Israeli authorities don’t seem to have a clue when terrorists are burning Palestinian crops, cutting their trees, poisoning their wells, stoning their children on the way to school. Or when fanatics are infiltrating West Bank cities despite the IDF allegedly positioned to stop them.

        link to haaretz.com

    • marc b.
      August 10, 2010, 2:40 pm

      Friedman is a half-wit, the only evidence of intelligence being his marriage into a wealthy family. It is an utter embarrassment that his opinion on matters Middle East are considered noteworthy, and that he is employed by a national newspaper with pretenses of intellectual superiority. I hope he winds up with an anti-biotic resistant dose of the clap on his next trip to Dubai, which may be his first, since he clearly doesn’t know shit about Dubai or Palestine.

  17. lysias
    August 10, 2010, 1:40 pm

    The op ed page of today’s Washington Post has a column by Richard Cohen, The Economist’s unforgivable silence, in which he condemns the Economist for running a review of a book on Sayyid Qutb, the progenitor of Islamism, which (the review, I don’t know about the book) doesn’t mention Qutb’s anti-Semitism.

    Midway through the review, we discover why Cohen is so hot and bothered over such an esoteric matter:

    The Economist’s review is stunning in its omission. Can it be that a mere 65 years after the fires of Auschwitz were banked, anti-Semitism has been relegated to a trivial, personal matter, like a preference for blondes — something not worth mentioning? Yet, Qutb is not like Richard Wagner, whose anti-Semitism was repellent but did not in the least affect his music. Qutb’s Jew-hatred was not incidental to his work. While not quite central, it has nevertheless proved important, having been adopted along with his other ideas by Hamas.

    • marc b.
      August 10, 2010, 4:25 pm

      That Cohen article is a hoot. Contrary to Cohen’s whining, the review does in fact refer to Qutb’s identification of the external enemies of Islam, including an alliance of ‘Crusaders and Jews’.

      Calvert does not disguise the crudely Manichean character of Qutb’s worldview. He believed in an all-out global struggle between a noble vanguard of true Muslims and the massed ranks of jahiliyya. He depicted Islam’s external enemies as an insidious alliance of “Crusaders and Jews”—the same phrase that is used by al-Qaeda and the global jihadists of today.

      The review also makes multiple references to Qutb’s relation to the late 20th century concept of ‘jihad’, or ‘holy war’, the first reference being made in the very first sentence of the review. These references don’t satisfy Cohen, however, because the threat to ‘Jews’ takes precedence over the threat to all other peoples. It is this same ego-centrism that turned World War II and the Holocaust into co-terminous events.

      Although Cohen reflexively links Qutb to Hitler, what evidence exists that Qutb ever ordered the murder of Jewish civilians in Egypt or Palestine? In Europe? According to the review,

      Qutb opposed the killing of innocents and would have been appalled by what his followers, from the Egyptian radicals of the 1970s and 1980s to the current jihadist groups, have carried out in his name.

      In practice, who has more blood on his hands, Jabotinsky or Qutb? Shamir or Qutb? Netanyahu or Qutb?

      Lysias is correct: Cohen the parrot is just doing his part to continue to assert that there is a link between the Holocaust and Hamas.

      • Citizen
        August 10, 2010, 6:21 pm

        Well in plain English, there is an alliterative link, but that’s it. Otherwise,
        the link is pure zionist poetic license. Some poetry actually does kill.

    • Psychopathic god
      August 10, 2010, 6:33 pm

      potato patatah

      65 years is a hell of a long run

      help me out: count the number of museums to the Rwanda genocide.

    • Eva Smagacz
      August 10, 2010, 10:02 pm

      Cohen’s column does not have “comments” section.

      It takes very wilful blindness not to read Qutb’ s antipathy to Jews, expressed less than ten years after Nakba, within the context of time and place.

      So Qutb ” accuses Jews for almost everything: “atheistic materialism,” “animalistic sexuality,” “the destruction of the family” and, of course, an incessant war against Islam itself.”

      Which part of socialist, militant, non-religeous, kibbutz sharing, women equality enabling, Zionist Jewish society, freshly emerged after Nakba triumph, could have led this deeply religeous, and deeply traditional man to see Jews in such a light (sarcasm alert)?

      Jews were nowhere near central to Qubt’s writing and only obsessive ethnocentric would home in on this aspect of his work.

  18. MHughes976
    August 10, 2010, 3:00 pm

    Wagner’s massive works are anti-Jewish allegories and discussing them without reference to this fact would be a travesty. Invoking these substantial works but waving them aside, Cohen condemns Qutb (who may in reality have been an utter monster; I’ve no plans to read him) on the basis of tiny snippets, suggesting that he too hasn’t studied the subject very much. If Q said that Jewish thought in some versions took a turn that led to atheism and materialism that’s hardly a screaming insult, maybe nothing worse than a slightly crude reading of Spinoza and Marx. If the author and/or the reviewer of a book on Q think that this opinion was not very important in his overall worldview that is up to them: they’re the experts. Cohen doesn’t cite studies showing them to be wrong. He then zooms into a rant against anti-Zionism on the grounds that there’s been a review not mentioning anti-Semitism. What twists and turns the human mind can manage.

    • traintosiberia
      August 10, 2010, 5:21 pm

      I have no intention of reading Qutub .But may be i should to understnad the fundamentalist and to counter them. But one thing is odd.Qutub was hanged by Nasser governmnet.Qutub is one kind of Hitler .Wasn’t Naser called Hitler also?
      But thats is irrelevant. One thing is certain that before fundamentalism gripped the ME and Iran and Afghanistan , there were genuine secular movement that was blown to pieces by foreign intervention ,particularly in Iran in year 1905 ( Afghanistan in 1973 ) and Iraq 1956.Even Somalia was making its way out of a tribal war until it was destroyed by Bush regime in 2006.

  19. fillmorehagan
    August 10, 2010, 4:00 pm

    Is it only me or is anyone else bothered by the fact that war mongering Zionists like Friedman account for a GROSSLY disproportionate percent of MSM columnists?

    Perhaps this is one reason why the MSM is steadly losing ground to the Internet.

    • Citizen
      August 10, 2010, 6:24 pm

      Calling Michael Medved and Dennis Prager, you need to call fillmorehagan and set him straight that Israel is as American as apple pie.

  20. Colin Murray
    August 10, 2010, 4:16 pm

    Phil: [Thomas Friedman] sees everything from the Israeli point of view and justifies the slaughter of the Gaza war as, This is a tough neighborhood.

    I wonder if Israelis realize that it is a lot tougher neighborhood since they moved in. It’s like an armed robber who just moved to your neighborhood complaining about the high crime rate. Gee, ya think?

    Friedman: You hear the director Oliver Stone saying crazy things about how Hitler killed more Russians than Jews, but the Jews got all the attention because they dominate the news media and their lobby controls Washington. You hear Britain’s prime minister describing Gaza as a big Israeli “prison camp” and Turkey’s prime minister telling Israel’s president, “When it comes to killing, you know very well how to kill.” You see singers canceling concerts in Tel Aviv. If you just landed from Mars, you might think that Israel is the only country that has killed civilians in war — never Hamas, never Hezbollah, never Turkey, never Iran, never Syria, never America.

    This is a classic red herring. Friedman is trying to draw attention away from Israeli ethnic cleansing and colonization by complaining about that Israel is being singled out for crimes that other states commit. Yes, Friedman, Hamas, Hizbullah, Turkey, Syria, and the United States have killed civilians, but only Israel is currently engaged in a horrific campaign of ethnic cleansing and colonization at the expense of US taxpayers’ money and lives and at the dire threat of global economic destabilization.

    Oh, and by the way, since you seem to be rather selectively educated, Hitler did kill more Russians than Jews, Gaza is a big Israeli prison camp (The Punishment of Gaza by Gideon Levy), and Shimon Peres does know quite a bit about killing. If I just landed from Mars, I might think you are a mewling whiner. Oh wait, I do.

    • Psychopathic god
      August 10, 2010, 6:51 pm

      Norman Finkelstein said something fascinating in a Youtube about a comment initially made in an interview about Lebanon; namely, Finkelstein said “Israel needs to suffer a major defeat.”

      Finkelstein explains that “Israel needs to suffer just like Germany…in World War II. . .to shake it up. . .Israel is behaving like a marauding state. . . Israel has become a lunatic state. . . it’s lunacy is going to lead inexorably to its destruction . . .

      “The best thing that happened to Germany was the defeat it suffered in 1945; it became a moral country. Germany is the most morally conscious of the European states. . . that defeat shook up the society.”

      Think about that statement in terms of Goldhagen’s thesis, that the German people were possessed of an inherently evil streak that caused them to kill Jews.

      Now consider the timeline: zionism pre-existed Nazism by about 30 years. Zionism came before Nazism.

      Nazism was a nationalist movement of the German people to reclaim their homeland for the Germans, to be governed by Germans, to reflect German cultural values.

      The war waged by Germany was to reclaim its national heritage.

      After its defeat in 1945, as Finkelstein said, “Germany became a moral country.”

      So the question is, Did Germany lose the war, ie. did it fail in its objective, or did Germany win the war — it achieved its objective of regaining its national moral character?

      If the latter, then what does that mean for the United States? US ‘won’ World War II, and since then has behaved with unbridled hubris and militarism and burst the bonds of its moral value system. Since its victory in World War II, US has expanded its military to heights that could not have been imagined in 1942. Today, an American soldier can sit in the desert in Nevada and kill people he doesn’t even see, in Afghanistan.
      Would this meet the value criterion of Bill Clinton’s oft-quoted phrase, “to form a more perfect union?”

      If not, what must America do to get “shaken up,” to become the moral state we liked to think we were?

      • Richard Witty
        August 10, 2010, 8:47 pm

        That comment by Finkelstein (repeated by him many times) is likely one of the straws that broke his tenure application.

        He seems to be advocating (not just observing) for terror and war.

      • Donald
        August 11, 2010, 6:58 am

        “That comment by Finkelstein (repeated by him many times) is likely one of the straws that broke his tenure application.”

        Tenure is important precisely because it should provide protection for professors to take politically controversial positions. In practice a pathological plagiarist, liar, and advocate of war crimes like Dershowitz receives the protection of tenure, while someone who offends the Israel lobby is much more likely to have it denied.

      • eljay
        August 11, 2010, 7:15 am

        >> He seems to be advocating (not just observing) for terror and war.

        Kind of like Israel and the U.S. are doing with Iran. But that doesn’t seem to bother you much.

      • Chaos4700
        August 11, 2010, 8:47 pm

        What will it take to get you to stop slandering non-Zionist Jews? A law suit?

      • traintosiberia
        August 11, 2010, 9:39 pm

        No it was money. It was threat of using the money against de paul.

      • Eva Smagacz
        August 10, 2010, 10:08 pm

        Psychopathic God,

        Immensely thought provoking comment on the nature of what constitutes winning.

      • MRW
        August 10, 2010, 10:28 pm

        I agree with Eva, PG.

  21. Shingo
    August 10, 2010, 8:44 pm

    “I’m not here to defend Israel’s bad behavior. Just the opposite. I’ve long argued that Israel’s colonial settlements in the West Bank are suicidal for Israel as a Jewish democracy.”

    This sums up the patholigal mindset of the so called Liberal Zionist. Notice how Friedman adminishes the settlements are an example of Israel’s bad behavior, not because of the human rights violation is inflicts, but because it is bad for Israel.

    • Donald
      August 10, 2010, 10:00 pm

      “Notice how Friedman adminishes the settlements are an example of Israel’s bad behavior, not because of the human rights violation is inflicts, but because it is bad for Israel.”

      Good catch. That’s a constant with Friedman and his ilk–it’s always about Israel’s safety. The unspoken assumption is that if they could steal land successfully and force peace on their terms everything would be fine. And it’s not just Friedman.

      That was also his attitude about Abu Ghraib–it was bad for him because of the bad publicity it brought the US. Friedman is one of those “liberals” who is utterly convinced they have the right to use coercion, both economic and military, on the rest of the world to make them fit his neoliberal ideals. And mixed in with that is a form of racism about which people count and which ones don’t.

      • Richard Witty
        August 11, 2010, 4:17 am

        He should be always concerned with Israel’s safety, as he should be always concerned with Palestine’s as well.

        As should you.

      • Donald
        August 11, 2010, 1:44 pm

        “He should be always concerned with Israel’s safety, as he should be always concerned with Palestine’s as well.”

        He isn’t.

      • Richard Witty
        August 11, 2010, 1:54 pm

        How do you know that? Or are you just ranting again?

      • Chaos4700
        August 11, 2010, 8:49 pm

        Ranting? Physician, heal thyself.

  22. traintosiberia
    August 11, 2010, 9:44 am

    Israeli Peace Palestinian Justice
    Liberation Theology and the PEACE PROCESS
    by Thomas L.Are
    ISBN 0-932863-15-19
    Clarity Press Inc Ste 469, 3277 Roswell Rd.NE
    Atlanta GA.30305

    Mr Witty

    You have raised a lot of possibilities of What If.
    I suggest you read this book.All the doublespeak and sophistry raised by you and by Israeli agents in this country and abroad are succicntly addressed.

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