Trending Topics:

Friedman says Iran’s friends include BDS and Jews in Open Hillel movement

Israel/Palestine
on 96 Comments
Friedman

Friedman

Tom Friedman wrote a column over the weekend called “Sheldon: Iran’s Best Friend” saying that Iran and Sheldon Adelson have been working to destroy Israel by prolonging the occupation. The column is getting attention in Israel; the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz are headlining the Sheldon Adelson part, because Adelson just bought another Israeli newspaper.

But I was struck by Friedman’s bizarre theory that not only Adelson is Iran’s best friend: so’s the BDS movement, so are some Jews in campus Hillel’s (surely a reference to the Open Hillel movement). Apparently they all love the occupation:

Iran’s leaders want Israel destroyed but have no desire, in my view, to use a nuclear bomb to do it. That would expose them to retaliation and sure death. Their real strategy is more subtle: Do everything possible to ensure that Israel remains in the “occupied territory,” as the U.S. State Department refers to the West Bank, won by Israel in the 1967 war. By supporting Palestinian militants dedicated to destroying any peace process, Tehran hopes to keep Israel permanently mired in the West Bank and occupying 2.7 million Palestinians, denying them any statehood and preventing the emergence of a Palestinian state that might recognize Israel and live in peace alongside it. The more Israel is stuck there, the more Palestinians and the world will demand a “one-state solution,” with Palestinians given the right to vote. The more Israel resists that, the more isolated it becomes.

Iran and its ally Hamas have plenty of evidence that this strategy is working: Israel’s 47-year-old occupation of the West Bank has led it to build more settlements there and in doing so make itself look like the most active colonial power on the planet today. The 350,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank reinforce that view by claiming their presence in the West Bank is not about security but a divinely inspired project to reunite the Jewish people with their biblical homeland.

The result is a growing movement on college campuses and in international organizations to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish state because of this occupation. This “B.D.S. movement” — to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel — is gaining adherents not only among non-Jews on American campuses but even within some Hillels, campus Jewish centers.

Iran could not be happier. The more Israel sinks into the West Bank, the more it is delegitimized and isolated, the more the world focuses on Israel’s colonialism rather than Iran’s nuclear enrichment, the more people call for a single democratic state in all of historic Palestine.

Friedman’s theory is overheated, and absurd. Israeli Jewish governments left and right have expanded the occupation since 1967. In 1988, the Palestinians said they’d accept Israel on its 1949 armistice border, and Israel ignored the offer, just as it ignored the Arab Peace Initiative offer in 2002. As Ilene Cohen likes to say, Israel should have taken the money and run. It didn’t.

Yes, many Palestinians have also rejected Partition, but if Israel had made any good-faith effort to end the occupation, it could have defused that opposition. And now it has a giant headache. The next generation sees little difference politically and morally between Israel’s land-grab interpretation of Partition in 1948 and its landgrab interpretation of Partition in 1967. And why should Palestinians believe in Partition? They have never gotten what the U.N. promised in 1947 — a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish one — so young people have naturally questioned the very idea of two states.

These are the real processes that are undermining Friedman’s avowed dream of a “Jewish, democratic state.” People don’t believe in it, including many young American Jews who like living in a country that doesn’t have a state religion, where they can marry who they want, etc., and don’t have to stand up for apartheid (which is going to disappear tomorrow as soon as Israel pulls the settlers who have been there for 47 years).

How moved will those young people be by Friedman’s warning about an international movement to give Palestinians the right to vote over the government that controls their lives? Peter Beinart expressed the same apprehension last week at Columbia; he said that he writes much of what he does to forestall the possibility of Palestinians voting, so that he can preserve the Jewish state. Are these principles worth embracing from 5000 miles away, let alone expecting people in those faraway lands to die for? If it’s such a living dream for these men, why don’t they move there?

Surely because they want to raise their children in a secular society that promises human and civil rights for all people. It’s actually simple. Harry Truman opposed partition (fitfully, unsuccessfully, John Judis reports) because he believed in the separation of church and state. If the world is coming toward that conclusion, don’t put it off on alleged haters in Iran.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

96 Responses

  1. TC1995
    April 7, 2014, 11:44 am

    Great piece. These were my thoughts exactly after reading Friedman’s column. He’s somehow trying to associate youth in America (both Jews and non-Jews) coming out against ethnocracy with Iran. It’s a common theme you see in Zionist arguments; they don’t think there’s any possible way a person can analyze all the facts, not be anti-semitic, and still come to the conclusion that Zionism is wrong. There just has to be some kind of external factor.

  2. Krauss
    April 7, 2014, 11:51 am

    This entire story reminds me of Amos Yadlin’s dismissal of international pressure which Alex Kane reported about on this site a week ago or so.
    It may be counter-intuitive, but allow me to explain:

    Yadlin was interviewed by notorious Zionist Ethan Bronner(who smiled and joked as Yadlin said one racist thing after another). When asked by Bronner to talk about what Bronner felt was “Israel’s increasing international isolation” Yadlin dismissed it all by saying “So, some Europeans will be upset. So what?”.

    What I think Yadlin misses is that the Zionist movement is losing America now, too, not just Europe. Yadlin is correct to dismiss Europe; it hasn’t mattered for over 60 years. And Europe is, when all is said and done, America’s poodle. It was the U.S. which had to step up against Russia because the Europeans wouldn’t get their act together. It was the U.S. which intervened in Kosovo because the Europeans couldn’t get their act together and dithered even as genocide was happening on their own continent.

    But this is different. Yadlin is out of touch with reality and Bronner, unable as he is to actually fundamentally challenge any Likudnik, allowed Yadlin’s fantasies to go unchecked.

    Friedman understands what happens in America much better and doesn’t seem to be as easily comforted as Bronner when a Likudnik spins his tales of delusions. Friedman also understands that if Israel loses liberal elite opinion; then it is finished.

    Most Americans didn’t want to see Jim Crow ended, but the liberal elites had their mind set to do it. You can go down the line on issue after issue, the liberal elites, people who populate academia or the liberal press(which inevitable affects the mainstream media to a much larger extent than conservative media is) have brought about change. Mostly positive.

    So Friedman understands that the general polls is pretty useless, since what you need to focus on is young people and left-of-center/progressives. And how is Israel doing? Badly. That’s why he is invoking BDS and Open Hillel(in all but name).

    Finally, to go back to Yadlin, one thing that Yadlin seems to miss is that Zionism for a lot of Jews, especially older Jews like Friedman or Bronner, is their Jewish identity.

    And even if China and India will matter a lot more in the next 20 years than they did in the last 20, the vast majority of Jews outside of Israel are in Western countries. And if Zionism truly becomes as popular as the Afrikaaner White Nationalist movement in the West, that means that Israel can forget the help of the diaspora in any meaningful way, at least for those under the age of 40 today, who will be of prime earning power in 10-20 years.

    • Krauss
      April 7, 2014, 12:05 pm

      (continued)

      If this indeed happened, and it is starting to happen now, it would also open up a radical experiment: can Israel survive as an Apartheid state without its diaspora blocking any meaningful action, or at least without being able to do it as effectively in the past?

      There will be serious splits in the future; we can already see the contours of them today with the rise of the Open Hillel/JVP/Jews in BDS on campuses today.

      Israel can certainly survive in the physical sense. It doesn’t actually need American military aid, but it makes life easier.

      The question then becomes cultural. Remember, white-ruled South Africa was not threatened in any military way. While boycotts had hurt some of the country, it was not actually in a very bad shape economically. It’s a very resource rich country, they were deep in the weeds throughout the rest of Africa, often serving as a conduit for Western businesses who outwardly were distancing themselves but who used intermediaries to interact with the Afrikaaners because they knew Africa better than anyone and were more than willing to help other white people exploit black people.

      What led de Klerk to throw in the towel was the cultural isolation. When all was said and done, white Afrikaaners identified a lot more with European and Western culture rather than with their surroundings(sounds familliar?). And as Abuminah likes to point out: the white base of de Klerks political party was in many ways deeply hostile until the very end.

      The major difference is that Israel is unlikely to see a de Klerk any time soon.
      On the other hand, where will Israelis go when they are seen as pariahs across the Western world? They will want to visit Jewish communities, like Lieberman just did in Brooklyn. How will Shavit feel when he no longer gets the red carpet treatment by the “four mensches”?

      Israel’s isolation will be less economic but more cultural. It doesn’t identify with the Arab world. How many Israeli Jews can talk competently about Indian or Chinese popular culture? How many Israeli Jews know anything about Bollywood aside from the usual bromides?

      What BDS is threatning, ultimately, is the Jewish identity of people like Friedman, but it is also threatning to cut off Israel’s primary contact with the outside world, a contact it feels is intimate. It was a telling comment when the NYT interviewed an Israeli Jewish academic in the aftermath of the ASA BDS vote. He said it “felt like a stab in the back from a family member”. The problem for Israel is that you only have one family, and there is no new one out there willing to adopt it once it becomes an orphan. How long will it be able to suffer through that condition?

      • peterfeld
        April 7, 2014, 12:28 pm

        Cultural isolation. See this Village Voice piece (somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I can’t tell how much) from 2oo2 during the Intifada:

        Where the Hell Are You?
        An Open Letter From Israel to American Tourists
        By Sylvana Foa
        JAFFA, ISRAEL—It’s getting kind of lonely over here. We don’t want you to think we’re upset about this, but terms like fair-weather friends, cowards, and chicken shit do come to mind.

        We wait for you at the airport and in hotel lobbies. You’re no-shows.

        The number of tourists coming to Israel from the United States is down 50 percent from last year—and falling fast. Soon there will be more French people here than Americans. What a disgrace!…

        We know you’re still traumatized by September 11. Who isn’t? But we had a deal. We send our children to the army to protect the existence of the Jewish state and you drop by once or twice a year to show your solidarity and spend a lot of money.

        http://www.villagevoice.com/2002-01-01/news/where-the-hell-are-you/full/

      • JeffB
        April 7, 2014, 12:53 pm

        @Krauss

        White South Africa has lost several wars in Southern Africa so while they weren’t threatened militarily yet, weapons were leaking to the ANC from hostile neighbors. Moreover the NP ruled a colonial government a genuinely hostile black population was unworkable.

        There will be serious splits in the future; we can already see the contours of them today with the rise of the Open Hillel/JVP/Jews in BDS on campuses today.

        I don’t know about that. There has always been a radical fringe of Jews who were against Israel and in times past it was quite a bit larger. But just like the peace movement a decade ago most liberal Jews are repulsed by anti-Israeli rhetoric and end up pulling away from progressive movements that employ such rhetoric. So I don’t think American Liberalism will go anti-Israel.

        But even if I’m wrong then all that happens is large numbers of Jews move over to become Republicans. Israel’s relationship becomes with the USA right. Now admittedly that’s precisely what happened with South Africa but it is also what happened with most of the anti-communist parties in Latin America which are still around today as viable parties and often in control. And if you go a bit over a generation earlier, what happened to many of the conservative parties in Southern Europe.

        I think Israel is a long way from pariah status. Yes the ASA was a stab in the back, but that’s a fringe for academia. There are probably about 2000 academic societies in the United States. For BDS to flip a solid majority of them by 2020 they would have to be going at a rate of over 1 per workday. You think we are anywhere near that? As you move away from the hardcore left of the ASA towards the moderation of say American Mathematical Society or even the true rightwing academic parties like American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics how much do you think a call to radical progressive politics works?

      • Sumud
        April 7, 2014, 10:12 pm

        As you move away from the hardcore left of the ASA towards the moderation of say American Mathematical Society or even the true rightwing academic parties like American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics how much do you think a call to radical progressive politics works?

        Hardly relevant as BDS is not “a call to radical progressive politics”.

        You don’t have to be a liberal to understand that ethnic cleansing, killing civilians, torture, house demolitions and massive property rights violations are wrong. Likewise the nefarious influence of the Israel lobby and it’s distortion of US foreign policy.

        Do you think Israel’s obsession with getting Pollard freed is any more appealing to conservatives than liberals? I don’t.

        Americans are rather less stupid than you might hope.

      • JeffB
        April 8, 2014, 8:17 am

        @Sumud

        Hardly relevant as BDS is not “a call to radical progressive politics”. You don’t have to be a liberal to understand that ethnic cleansing, killing civilians, torture, house demolitions and massive property rights violations are wrong.

        It is not a question of whether it is wrong or not for Israel internally. That’s part of the point. It is a question of whether America’s foreign policy should be primarily directed at USA interests or at broader human rights concerns. People on the left tend to be much more focused on broader human rights concerns and as you move right more focus on USA interests. Then of course what those interests are. Outside of the far left there is little support for the United States deliberately antagonizing allies over their internal affairs. BDS implies a full break with Israel as an ally and deliberately creating a hostile relationship. That’s something an America could easily oppose even if they completely disagreed with Israel’s internal policies. There are also question about the appropriate role of the United Nations and international law, with support for the UN falling off dramatically as one moves right on the political spectrum. Finally of course there is the general “war of civilization” framework that starts to pick up as you move right. Where Israel is seen as “on our side” and the Palestinians are seen as on the other side.

        Support for the Palestinians cause correlates very strongly with a left / right axis for good reason. Similarly BDS which is not just in some vague sense supporting the Palestinians but aiming to have the USA ally with them against Israel is correlates strongly with the left/right axis.

        Do you think Israel’s obsession with getting Pollard freed is any more appealing to conservatives than liberals? I don’t.

        I agree. But conservatives aren’t terribly offended that our allies have different interests than we do. In general I think this is a MW obsession. I’m not shocked that we have different interests than France, Australia, Japan, Argentina… on a range of issues. We are allies because we agree on more important issues. Of course it is in Israel’s interests to get their spies released same as when American spies are captured abroad we seek to have them released.

      • quercus
        April 8, 2014, 6:40 am

        @JeffB. How in the HELL do you call the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics a “right wing academic” party? It’s not a PARTY, you fool, it’s an institution founded to support aerospace professionals. And on top of that, you compound your stupidity by tacitly claiming you know the political views of most of the members of that organization.

      • Sumud
        April 9, 2014, 3:02 am

        JeffB – You didn’t address this part of what I wrote:

        Likewise the nefarious influence of the Israel lobby and it’s distortion of US foreign policy.

        Seems to me a bipartisan concern and if you read comments from the NYT to the WaPo and beyond they have changed flavour significantly in the last few years – a lot of anger and disgust now being displayed by Americans towards Israel and their behaviour, and zionist influence on US foreign policy.

        People keep being told how much they love Israel by the media but nobody can tell them why.

        You claimed Israel serves American interests but when challenged to explain how your answer was rather limp and mostly about Israel serving it’s own interests. Perhaps if Israel had a mutual defence treaty with the US and the IDF had fought beside the US army like a genuine ally, then you might have a point. But alas this hasn’t happened and likely never will – the freeloading nation doesn’t want to be a real ally, just the $$ and for the US to keep using that veto power in the UN SC.

        I agree with some of what you wrote otherwise but your argument rests on a left – neocon axis, not left – right. You’re ignoring non-neocon conservatives.

      • Shingo
        April 8, 2014, 9:34 am

        There has always been a radical fringe of Jews who were against Israel and in times past it was quite a bit larger.

        It’s not only growing, but it’s not radical either, so much as the silent majority who have been silenced by fear of being ostracised until now.

        most liberal Jews are repulsed by anti-Israeli rhetoric and end up pulling away from progressive movements that employ such rhetoric.

        That’s called tribalism. As many Jews have admitted or predicted, when asked to chose between Zionism and liberal values, many Jews will chose Zionism. It has nothing to do with being repulsed by anti-Israeli rhetoric, so much as resorting to ghetto tribal behaviour when confronted with criticism they cannot bear to confront.

        So yes, it’s only a matter of time American Liberalism turns anti-Israel as we are seeing with liberalism in every other country.

        I think Israel is a long way from pariah status.

        On the contrary, Israel is a long way down the path of pariah status. Tzipi Livni admitted as much 2 years ago. After all, the only country in which the Israel enjoys popular approval is the US and it’s falling like a stone.

        BDS is clearly on track to flip a solid majority of them by 2020, if not sooner.

      • JeffB
        April 8, 2014, 10:35 pm

        @Shingo

        On the contrary, Israel is a long way down the path of pariah status. Tzipi Livni admitted as much 2 years ago. After all, the only country in which the Israel enjoys popular approval is the US and it’s falling like a stone.BDS is clearly on track to flip a solid majority of them by 2020, if not sooner.

        I’ll give you credit for finally naming a date. But just to get this prediction clear, OK so a solid majority of who by 2020 Americans or American Jews?

      • Shingo
        April 8, 2014, 9:39 am

        That’s part of the point. It is a question of whether America’s foreign policy should be primarily directed at USA interests or at broader human rights concerns.

        Either way Israel loses, as it is becoming clear that Washington is strongly re-evaluating if Israel serves USA interests.

        BDS implies a full break with Israel as an ally and deliberately creating a hostile relationship.

        That’s entirely up to Israel. There is no reason why it should, but the right wing in Israel is showing increasing comtempt for the US and US representatives like Kerry. Twice in the last few months we have seen the State Department and White House condemning Israeli statements and demanding apologies – that has never happened.

        Finally of course there is the general “war of civilization” framework that starts to pick up as you move right. Where Israel is seen as “on our side” and the Palestinians are seen as on the other side.

        Is is that group that is becoming a smaller and insignificant fringe.

      • libra
        April 8, 2014, 3:26 pm

        JeffB: …or even the true rightwing academic parties like American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics…

        And that’s not even to mention NASA, Jeff. What with Werner Von Braun and the like on board it’s not hard to guess what the first three letters really stood for.

    • pabelmont
      April 7, 2014, 5:02 pm

      Krauss: If EU is America’s poodle, as of course it has often seemed, and America is AIPAC’s poodle, and AIPAC is far-right-settlers’ poodle, then a fairly small dog (Adelson joining in all this somewhere as a bit independent of AIPAC) is wagging some mighty big dogies. But poodles sometimes break loose: USA on Iran war; and EU on small BDS movements.

      And even if the EU is America’s poodle, we’ve seen a small amount of motion from the EU nations, severally, of a BDS nature, and this must (assuming the short-leash poodle theory) have been with American acquiescence. Whichever way, and considering motion within EU publics, there is some BDS progress in EU.

      I’ve forgotten how the voting was on Palestine membership in UN.

  3. seafoid
    April 7, 2014, 11:52 am

    “Tom Friedman wrote a column over the weekend called “Sheldon: Iran’s Best Friend” saying that Iran and Sheldon Adelson have been working independently to destroy Israel by prolonging and extending the occupation.”

    What has Friedman been sucking on ?

  4. Sycamores
    April 7, 2014, 11:53 am

    for Philip Weiss

    second last paragraph, last sentence

    If it’s such a living dream for these men, why don’t they there?

    If it’s such a living dream for these men, why don’t they emigrate/live/go/move/take up knitting there?

  5. seafoid
    April 7, 2014, 11:54 am

    ” This “B.D.S. movement” — to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel — is gaining adherents not only among non-Jews on American campuses but even within some Hillels, campus Jewish centers.”

    I thought Hillels were sanctuaries of Zionist adherence, the storm trooping guardians of the purity of mission of the greatest ideology known to man, the pinnacle of human achievement, the fast track to G-d.

  6. Nevada Ned
    April 7, 2014, 12:10 pm

    Thomas Friedman, blowhard NYT pundit, identifies those who “do everything possible to ensure that Israel remains in the occupied territories,” and he includes Iran for some eccentric reason. It would be a lot more accurate to claim that the powerful Israel Lobby is doing everything possible to ensure that Israel remains in control of the occupied territories.

    It is an inconvenient fact that Iran and Israel used to be allies. Back in the Reagan era, the US and Israel sold advanced weapons to Iran. Nobody at the NYT today wants to recall the “Iran-Contra Scandal”, so the whole scandal has disappeared down an Orwellian memory hole.

    Friedman claims that “Iran’s leaders want Israel destroyed”, without the slightest evidence. It is of course true that Iranians, like most people around the world, are critical of Israel’s racism. About 20% of Israeli citizens are non-Jews, and nearly all of them are critical of Israel’s racism. Even some Israeli Jews are also critical of Israel’s racism. (Does this mean the critics “want to see Israel destroyed??) A significant number of US Jews are critical of Israel’s racism, but those who are employed by the New York Times to cover the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (Bronner, Kirschner, Rudoren) are apologists for Israeli racial policy, not critics of that policy.

    • JeffB
      April 7, 2014, 12:39 pm

      @Nevada

      It is an inconvenient fact that Iran and Israel used to be allies.

      Inconvenient to whom? Israel was backing the USA’s play in Latin America and the American president (or at least high ranking defense officials associated with him) wanted weapons sales to raise money for the contras. Israel followed orders. It is not like anyone thinks Israel cares who governs Nicaragua on their own.

      If the FSF takes over Syria Israel and Iran may again be allies. Al Qaeda scares Iran more than Zionism does. Everything is a situation.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 7, 2014, 12:54 pm

        Israel followed orders.

        oh please this is a bunch of garbage. it’s been awhile since i researched US involvement in south american but the pre neocons (they were not called that then, same gang tho) had their hands all over pushing out policies down there. i’m not buying this for one minute but this framing/hasbara is nothing new. won’t stick.

      • Kathleen
        April 7, 2014, 6:05 pm

        Israeli Arms Sales to Central America: An Overview
        http://www.wrmea.org/wrmea-archives/96-washington-report-archives-1982-1987/january-1987/715-israeli-arms-sales-to-central-america-an-overview.html

        Guess Iran, Palestinians etc made Israel sell U.S. classified arms tech to China too.

        With Friends Like This…
        by Justin Raimondo, August 04, 2005
        Print This | Share This

        Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was due for a visit to Washington last week, but failed to show: the excuse given was another uptick in violence on the West Bank, but Israeli sources indicated the real reason: Mofaz is miffed that the U.S. is now demanding a written apology for Israeli arms sales to China.
        http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2005/08/03/with-friends-like-this/

      • Boomer
        April 7, 2014, 8:58 pm

        Good links.

        “If things were done that were not acceptable to the Americans, then we are sorry,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom avers, “but these things were done with the utmost innocence.” Yeah, right.

      • Hostage
        April 7, 2014, 7:07 pm

        oh please this is a bunch of garbage.

        Yeah, it’s yet another installment from JeffB’s Fractured Fairy Tales/Peabody’s Improbable History series. As usual, it doesn’t come with citations to any third-party verifiable sources, e.g. :

        David Kimche, the director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, meets secretly with National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane to advise him that Israel may be able to use its influence with Iran to engineer the release of American hostages currently held by Hezbollah. Kimche’s outreach is the final piece in the complex arms-for-hostage deal between the US, Israel, and Iran. [‘Murray Waas and Craig Unger, “In the Loop: Bush’s Secret Mission,”New Yorker, 2 November 1992.)”] Israel is a logical conduit for arms to Iran, as it has been selling arms to Iran periodically since 1979, originally as part of its efforts to get Iran to allow Iranian Jews to emigrate to Israel. Like the US, Israel hopes to gain influence with Iranian moderates who will presumably take power after the aged, ailing Islamist radical Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini dies. (Earlier attempts to sell US-made arms to Iran had been blocked by the Carter administration.) According to Israeli sources, this Israeli offer began with a group of Israeli businessmen informing Prime Minister Shimon Peres in early July that they had been in contact with Iranian officials, and thought they could facilitate an arrangement to swap US arms for American hostages. The Israelis say that the US point man for the deal is John Poindexter, the deputy national security adviser, and Poindexter tapped National Security Council aide Oliver North to be the US liaison to Israel. Peres quickly authorized the Israeli businessmen to resume their contacts with the Iranians, and the businessmen contacted Saudi arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi. Khashoggi obtained a long list of desired military equipment from the Iranians, including Hawk antiaircraft missiles and radar-guidance equipment for them, antitank missiles, and spare parts for jet fighters. [‘George Church, “The US and Iran,” Time, 17 November 1986.’]

        — Profile on Shimon Peres http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=shimon_peres_1

      • Nevada Ned
        April 7, 2014, 1:24 pm

        It’s a fact that is inconvenient to the Israeli ruling class. For years now, they’ve been blathering that Iran is about to get a nuclear weapon, Iran is about to attack Israel, etc. etc. No members of the Israeli ruling class wants to recall in public that Israel sold advanced weapons to the supposedly horrible Iranian rulers. (According to some members of the Reagan administration, the whole scheme was an Israeli idea in the first place).

        When Netanhayu visits the US Congress or meets with US Jewish leaders, how often does Netanyahu say in public, “We know Iran is out to destroy Israel, that’s why we sold them advanced weapons!”

        It’s proof that the Israelis don’t take their own propaganda seriously.

      • JeffB
        April 7, 2014, 3:21 pm

        @Nevada

        Oh OK I get your point now. Yeah I guess I could see how that is mildly embarrassing. As far as not taking their propaganda:

        Egypt — neutralized and in the last year an outright ally
        Iraq — neutralized with Israel having a strong relationship in the north
        Syria — a mess, weakened.
        Lebanon / PLO — destroyed
        Jordan PLO — destroyed
        Jordan — mildly friendly
        Saudi Arabia — officially hostile but secretly more friendly appears to be edging ever closer

        Iran is sort of last on their list of threats neighborhood threats. I completely get why Israel hates Iran

      • W.Jones
        April 7, 2014, 6:47 pm

        Yes, now that all competition has been neutralized, the process of takeover of the West Bank can begin unimpeded.
        Nonetheless, Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

      • Shingo
        April 8, 2014, 9:49 am

        Iran is sort of last on their list of threats neighborhood threats.

        You left out Hezbollah who kicked Israel’s ass TWICE.

        I completely get why Israel hates Iran

        And why is that? Because they are more relevant to US interests than Israel and Israel is jealous?

      • Sycamores
        April 7, 2014, 1:38 pm

        @JeffB

        you have to admit there is something not kosher going on

        for example whose orders was Israel following in 2012 and 2013

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/10649567/US-investigates-illegal-military-equipment-shipments-from-Israel-to-Iran.html

        US investigates illegal military equipment shipments from Israel to Iran

        But a court in Athens has told The Telegraph that parts appearing on an American list of forbidden military-grade materials had been shipped from Israel on two occasions, apparently destined for Iran.

        The seized items comprised spare parts for military aircraft: a constant speed drive designed for the F-4 Phantom jet, and a voltage output sensor used in the F-14 Tomcat.

        The parts were confiscated by Greece’s financial crimes squad and were being sent to the US for investigation, court officials said.

        The defence and foreign ministries in Israel declined to comment on the seizures, which were first revealed by Kathimerini, a Greek newspaper.

        The shipments – one in Dec 2012 and the other last April – were sent by courier from the Israeli town of Binyamina-Givat Ada, near Haifa, via a company in Greece, the newspaper reported.,

        and Annie Robbins post US Homeland Security investigates Israeli arms deal to Iran

        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/gunrunning-attention-narrative.html

        Well…. coincidentally, there was another big arms interception story that broke two weeks before that the U.S. media somehow managed to miss. It involved Israeli arms shipments headed to Iran seized by authorities in Greece and violating the arms embargo and sanctions on Iran. US Homeland Security is reportedly investigating.

      • Kay24
        April 8, 2014, 7:41 am

        I just read that article, and wondered who believed the claim that Iran was simply going to “wipe Israel off the map”, something we have been told time and time again, even during the time of Bibi’s speech at the UN, when he ridiculously held up a cartoon bomb, to emphasize the danger. We are told that this was an “illegal” shipment, but who really knows. Obviously there are greedy weapons dealers in Israel, who wants Iran to have the weapons that could destroy their own nation. Incredible.

      • JeffB
        April 8, 2014, 8:21 am

        @Sycamores

        We are talking about the arms sales during the Reagan administration. What’s going on now I have no insight into. If I had to guess, I would think these are weapons for the MEK or the Kurds. Technically the USA is not in the business anymore of state sponsored terrorism but if Israel is doing then we get plausible deniability.

      • seafoid
        April 7, 2014, 2:02 pm

        Jeff
        Israel was loved up with the Shah.

      • Walid
        April 7, 2014, 2:28 pm

        “Al Qaeda scares Iran more than Zionism does. ”

        It’s the Zionists that’s been popping off Iranian scientists, not al-Qaeda. You’re starting to believe your own propaganda.

        The FSA is not in a position to take over Syria as they have all but abandoned the fight. Those that seriously tried doing it were the al-Qaeda affiliates like the Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that have both sworn to destroy Israel. These are the guys Netanyahu was backing in Syria.

  7. marc b.
    April 7, 2014, 12:14 pm

    ” This “B.D.S. movement” — to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel — is gaining adherents not only among non-Jews on American campuses but even within some Hillels, campus Jewish centers.”

    what I take from that statement by the overheated and absurd friedman is his incorrigible stupidity. I don’t think that he’s capable of remembering what BDS stands for (or, for that matter, CIA, NATO, NFL, LOL, etc.) without inserting a cue. does he remember that ‘Hillels [are] campus Jewish centers’? for the few who actually take time to read this half wit, who does he think benefits from that clarification?

  8. pabelmont
    April 7, 2014, 12:19 pm

    Friedman is classy, crafty! Notice how he disguises Israel’s refusal to return its settlers to within the green-line and make a 2SS peace on the basis of the green-line. I think most rational people, assessing the power facts between Israel and Palestine, would see that it is Israel that has the power to unilaterally remove itself from occupied territories, and that Palestine has the power (if that is the right word) to do little besides roll over and play dead.

    So for Friedman it is Iran and BDS and Hillel (all of which detest the occupation) that are forcing Israel to misbehave and thereby to incur near universal detestation (and delegitimacy of a kind) — not Israel itself, and surely not the USA!

    So, for Friedman, all bases are covered! But, this is mere statecraft on his part. All readers who know the score know that the point of this article is that Israel is in trouble, that BDS and Hillel are showing up the trouble, and that Israel needs a new plan.

    And that is what this article means. It is exactly like Kerry warning of BDS. This article pretends to find villains elsewhere, as power-brokers in DC must pretend, since it is impolitic to assert that the USA or Israel could be at fault for anything.

    His inclusion of Iran in all of this is delicious “cover”, since his assertions that Hillels and BDS want to prolong occupation are a bit, may one suggest, tenuous.

    And — to remain true to myself — I should mention that the powerful’s refusing to see evil is nowhere so pronounced or so dangerous as in Washington’s and USA’s refusal to speak openly about Climate change/global warming so that we may all begin to do something about it.

  9. American
    April 7, 2014, 12:33 pm

    Lets see who the I -People have blamed for their occupation of Palestine…..

    Anti Semties, for making it necessary
    Hitler, for making it necessary
    Palestines for making it necessary
    The US puppet master according to Chomsky

    And now Iran and BDS’ers

    Who’s next?…probably the Pope who wants to destroy the Jews.

    • Taxi
      April 7, 2014, 2:40 pm

      “Who’s next?”

      Honey Booboo. The occupation is all her fault.

    • Sumud
      April 7, 2014, 10:25 pm

      Blame Canada! Harper is the perfect fall guy, complete with piano synthesiser.

  10. Justpassingby
    April 7, 2014, 12:50 pm

    Tom friedman is such a paranoid zionist.

    • Kathleen
      April 7, 2014, 4:19 pm

      He is a dangerous Zionist. Why anyone would listen to him about anything is beyond me.

      • Justpassingby
        April 7, 2014, 5:23 pm

        Unfortunately there are many like him out there.

    • Kay24
      April 8, 2014, 6:41 am

      He is just another paranoid zionist, who shows eternal devotion to the mother ship . I wish he would get into his Lexus, and drive away. He simply cannot see the Palestinian olive trees being burnt, stolen, and now decorating the streets in Israeli settler towns, depriving the Palestinian farmer of his livelihood. All he sees is what his zionist mind wants him to, and it is all a delusion.

  11. Annie Robbins
    April 7, 2014, 1:01 pm

    this would be funny if it wasn’t so sick:

    Israel’s 47-year-old occupation of the West Bank has led it to build more settlements there and in doing so make itself look like the most active colonial power on the planet today.

    the way this reads, ‘the occupation’ led israel to build settlements! and as a result, poor lil israel was forced to appear like a very active colonial power.

    ah shucks, too bad israel is not a free agent and can’t figure out how to get this dern occupation to stop leading israel to keep stealing more land and appearing so so so colonial.

    • Eva Smagacz
      April 8, 2014, 5:31 am

      Hi Annie, I loved that sentence as well and thought it hilarious;
      “My hands made me steal, your honour” type of defence.

      The answer to this, is of course Matthew 18:8

      “And if thy hand or thy foot causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee: it is good for thee to enter into life maimed or halt, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire.”

    • Kay24
      April 8, 2014, 6:48 am

      Poor Israel. It is a victim of it’s own brutal occupation of Palestinian territories. It has no choice but to keep building illegal settlements, in it’s bid to grab more lands from those who were there before them, and are too helpless to halt the colonization.
      I wish someone would have a “shrinking map of Palestine” day, where large posters and billboards can be displayed, around the world.
      It would shock many people when they see what the Israeli occupation has done to indigenous people, and just how greedy the zionists, who falsely cry victim, really are.

  12. eljay
    April 7, 2014, 1:08 pm

    >> Israel’s 47-year-old occupation of the West Bank has led it to build more settlements there and in doing so make itself look like the most active colonial power on the planet today.

    Proof positive that aggressor-victimhood is a really tough gig… :-(

  13. tree
    April 7, 2014, 1:20 pm

    Anyone else notice this bit of hasbara on Friedman’s part?

    … that Israel remains in the “occupied territory,” as the U.S. State Department refers to the West Bank, won by Israel in the 1967 war

    .

    It’s not that the West Bank is “occupied”, its just that the State Department refers to it as such. And Israel “won” it in 1967, even though international law says that state’s may not “win” territory through war. As reprehensible as our actions were in Iraq, did anyone actually say that we “won” Iraq, the territory (as opposed to “winning” the war on Iraq)? Did Friedman?

  14. doug
    April 7, 2014, 1:25 pm

    Friedman is much like MJR. He’s a liberal Zionist appalled at the demise of the two state solution since the result isn’t pretty and he knows it.

    So Friedman’s approach, like MJR’s, is to appeal to the liberal Jewish diaspora. They have been conditioned to fear Iran as some sort of crazy (they aren’t) theocracy (they are) that is an existential threat to Israel. Like MJR, he is attacking the ones he sees as the proximate cause. I believe his primary attack target is the Israeli Nationalist Right but to gather the troops he raises the Golem.

    It’s a vanishing dream. Israel has no intention of allowing a Palestinian state. Sheldon is at least honest about it.

    • puppies
      April 7, 2014, 2:17 pm

      @doug – Are you saying that Friedman is so retarded that he ignores the Zionist program? That he believes all he talk about the two states? All he wants is a “deal” asap to package a number of Bantustans as a “state” and Apartheid approved and signed by Abbas. The settlers will continue.

  15. seafoid
    April 7, 2014, 2:22 pm

    There is more to it than bds and hillel. Iran’s friends include everyone who appreciates pomegranates and pistachios and the poetry of Hafez. Hafez will still be relevant long after the IDF has laid down its weapons.

  16. justicewillprevail
    April 7, 2014, 3:19 pm

    This is on a par with the famous ‘deadly pineapple as a secret anti-semitic sign’ reasoning employed by those anti-BDS freaks and fakes. It is the realm of paranoid fantasists trapped in their zionist idolatry. So the occupation is all a cunning plan by Israel’s opponents!! Oh please, so if wasn’t for Iran and those pesky BDS hippies Israel would just withdraw from the West Bank? Really, the desperation in the zionist camp has become so blatant, the reasoning so tortuous, that they now resort to clinically questionable statements like this. Losers. It did make me laugh, though. such is their absurdity. They would be clutching at straws, except they can’t even find one of those. If you want to see some similarly delusional and logically absurd reasoning from an egotistical charlatan, go see the Rumsfeld film, The Unknown Known.

  17. LeaNder
    April 7, 2014, 3:33 pm

    But I was struck by Friedman’s bizarre theory …

    You shouldn’t be struck Phil. I wish Mooser was here and could help you to make more sense of it. But why not offer something that struck me not too long ago.

    Caroline Glick (video promo “The J-Street Challenge”, around 2:37, watch the dramatically elegant gesture of her hand ):

    If it is all the Jews fault, then I as a Jew can fix everything.

    It is much more luxurious to be believe that it is all about me, than it is about the other guy. Cause the other guy I can’t do anything about.

    Apparently Friedman is just as averse to luxury in his theories as Glick is in the basics of human life and likes to keep them simple.

  18. Kathleen
    April 7, 2014, 4:18 pm

    Always keep in mind that this bottom dweller Friedman pushed hard hard for the invasion of Iraq. He could give a rats ass who dies in these U.S./Israel pushed wars. As long as they are not Israeli Jews or Jews in general. This is what Friedman cares about and nothing else. He is an elitist arrogant prick.

    Never ever forget how he pushed for the invasion of Iraq. Why would anyone give a flying fuck what he thinks. Covered in Iraqi people’s blood and American soldiers blood.

    The whole piece was focused on stirring up hatred towards Iran. Which is where he and his cronies would like the U.S. to do Israel’s dirty business next. He blames Iran, he blames the Palestinians, he blames Adelson for Israel’s actions.

    Oh and James Canning thanks for bringing everyone’s attention to the Friedman piece in a previous thread. Great heads up

  19. David Doppler
    April 7, 2014, 4:25 pm

    I think Phil and Krauss and some of the other commenters are letting personal animosity toward Friedman cloud your perception of the importance of this piece. The lede is that Friedman has called Adelsen a swaggering, reckless oligarch trying to buy the governments of both the US and Israel, in pursuit of dangerously bad policy objectives that [drumroll] are an existential threat to Israel. He mentions “‘the occupied territory,’ as the US State Department calls the West Bank” not so much as a “bit of hasbara” but to set up his description of Governor Christie groveling to apologize to Adelsen for using that same term in his remarks to the “Adelsen Primary,” which he is condemning in the NYTimes.

    When has there ever been such a blunt criticism of the misguided money behind the Israel Lobby in the pages of the New York Times? How many liberal elites who don’t think too much about Israel are now more fully informed, motivated to fight against Adelsen, to be repulsed by heavy-handed AIPAC abuse of its bought-and-paid-for control over Congress, and to understand that right-thinking people have a right and duty to stand up for democracy and justice against that lobby and its oligarchs. You can nay-say it all you want, but this is a big article, a big step toward justice.

    Don’t be unwilling to share credit for your movement when tommy-come-lately joins your parade, even if he is very annoying in his arrogance and his style.

    As an aside, I think Republican groveling in the “Adelson’s Primary” reported in the NYTimes could help turn the tide, if anything can, to save the Democrats from devastating losses in the November elections.

    • Donald
      April 7, 2014, 5:52 pm

      “I think Phil and Krauss and some of the other commenters are letting personal animosity toward Friedman cloud your perception of the importance of this piece.”

      Can’t speak for Phil and Krauss, but I think they get the importance of the piece–it shows that Friedman is terrified. But it also shows that he is trying to appeal to powerful people by using the standard racist tropes about the conflict–phrases which show that he doesn’t give a crap about Palestinian rights and can’t conceive of anyone who could, but is only concerned about the effects on Israel and America’s political system. He’s worried that Israel is destroying itself with the assistance of the Lobby. So when you say

      “You can nay-say it all you want, but this is a big article, a big step toward justice.

      Don’t be unwilling to share credit for your movement when tommy-come-lately joins your parade, even if he is very annoying in his arrogance and his style.”

      I don’t agree. Pabelmont makes the same sort of argument that you do up above, but again, I think you both are going too far in giving Friedman the benefit of the doubt. The fact that he can’t criticize the Lobby and Netanyahu without using the standard hasbara debating points means two things–he’s willing to use racist arguments and he thinks the people who have power on this issue and need to be convinced are racist.

      • David Doppler
        April 7, 2014, 7:32 pm

        Two observations: most bias is unconscious, that’s why it is so insidious. How we combat it can be intensely frustrating for those for whom it is blatantly obvious, because it no longer seems possible that it could be unconscious, but for Friedman’s non-Jewish liberal audience, the tone he strikes is not necessarily the wrong one. I’m reminded of studying James Baldwin in a very white college class in the 1960s, where Baldwin was writing about race with an editorial “we” to refer to we his readers, as if he were himself white. I can imagine Black Panthers resenting him and bad-mouthing him for adopting such tropes, but, in my class, at that time, that thought never occurred to us. He was part of our turning away from our prior bias which we had not previously recognize as such. Similarly, for my liberal academic friends who lap up Friedman’s words, and who have been knee-jerk Israel supporters, unconscious reciters of hasbara, and never heard of this column, this could be a big wake up call.

        “Terrified” is a bit much. He’s been a cynical champion of the Iraq war, and of anti-Muslim bias, but he sits in a high place in America’s punditry, and he has very consciously decided to fight the Likudniks and neocons and settlers and rightwing rabbis for the soul of Israel and of American Jews. And that is a good thing. He’s decided to join the school of opinion that has grown up watching the primal clashes between Abolitionists like Phil, and Rachel Corrie, and many others who’ve suffered deeply to contribute to the effort for justice in Palestine. And he’ll bring along millions with him. Important millions, many of whose unconscious bias will be corrected through the process. Shame on him and them for waiting!? Spit on his image for being a shameless opportunist. Sure, Phil is entitled to shame them. But don’t forget to celebrate.

        [The coverage above omits all the important things Friedman said that will advance Phil’s efforts.]

      • Donald
        April 8, 2014, 5:27 pm

        David–Part of my problem is that Friedman has done this before–he made his name criticizing Israeli brutality in the 1982 Lebanon War. But what that did was establish him as the Palestinian sympathizer in the highly constricted range of opinion in the American mainstream, and so it gave him undeserved credibility when he then blamed Arafat exclusively for the failure of the Camp David talks.

        We might be talking past each other. I accept that when Friedman bashes the Lobby and Adelson that this is a positive development, but also see the danger in embracing him too much. In the very article where he says some things which we welcome, he also perpetuates stereotypes. And if the Israelis offered some sort of bantustan, Friedman is the sort who’d turn right around and blame the Palestinians for not accepting it. Definitely not a person to be trusted. What’s happening now is that the Israeli right has gone so far they’ve lost sight of what has made the “peace process” such lucrative one for the settlers–they say they want peace, but they are so blatantly arrogant and disrespectful to an American President it’s making it damn near impossible to pretend that it is all the Palestinians’s fault that there is no peace. And even here you can tell Friedman is showing his willingness to blame the Palestinians if only Netanyahu would learn to play the game better.

    • traintosiberia
      April 7, 2014, 7:48 pm

      The criticism has still to come with an icing on the cake that tastes anti Iranian and anti Hizbullah . What do they have got to do with Adelson or Oslo or occupation?
      Iran has accepted Oslo. Hamas has offered periodic 20 yrs to indefinite truce and Hizbullah wants last parcel of land still occupied by Israel back and not waging war for it despite a number of violations of Lebanese air space by Israel.
      One wonders if one day we will hear the grotesque argument that Israel was made to behave by the Muslim militants and forced to commit all transgressions that it had over the decades . Friedman can’t call spade a spade . That is his sophistry and polemic when he brings Iran. He could have included Christian Zionist as well . But they are not writing the checks and asking the candidates to repent. Last time they did,Mitt Romney was selected and Santarum with Rick Perry and Hickabee went home .

    • just
      April 7, 2014, 8:23 pm

      He’s inciting against Iran, period.

      All the while trying to “save” the status quo in Israel and the immovable Adelson by playing earnest. He’s just calming buffing his nails– knowing that he’s gonna get more face time on tv.

      Schmuck. Dangerous schmuck with Pulitzers.

      from wiki:

      “Awards, recognition, and criticism

      Friedman has won the Pulitzer Prize three times:

      1983: for his coverage of the war in Lebanon. A distinguished example of international reporting[citation needed]
      1988: for coverage of Israel: a distinguished example of reporting on international affairs[citation needed]
      2002: for his commentary illuminating the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat[citation needed]

      Additionally, in 2005 he was elected as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.[25]

      American journalist and former civil rights litigator Glenn Greenwald, writing for Salon on July 25, 2012, commented: “His status among American elites is the single most potent fact for understanding the nation’s imperial decline.”[26]

      Another American academic and commentator, Haroon Moghul, has described Friedman as hating Islam, stating that: “he hates Muslims enough to want to bomb them.”[27]
      Writing style

      Some critics have derided Friedman’s idiosyncratic prose style, with its tendency to use mixed metaphors and analogies. Walter Russell Mead described his prose as being “an occasionally flat Midwestern demotic punctuated by gee-whiz exclamations about just how doggone irresistible globalization is – lacks the steely elegance of a Lippmann, the unobtrusive serviceability of a Scotty Reston or the restless fireworks of a Maureen Dowd and is best taken in small doses.”[28] Similarly, journalist Matt Taibbi has said of Friedman’s writing that, “Friedman came up with lines so hilarious you couldn’t make them up even if you were trying – and when you tried to actually picture the ‘illustrative’ figures of speech he offered to explain himself, what you often ended up with was pure physical comedy of the Buster Keaton/Three Stooges school, with whole nations and peoples slipping and falling on the misplaced banana peels of his literary endeavors.”[29]

      In a column for the New York Press, Alexander Cockburn wrote: “Friedman exhibits on a weekly basis one of the severest cases known to science of Lippmann’s condition,–named for the legendary journalistic hot-air salesman, Walter Lippmann, and alluding to the inherent tendency of all pundits to swell in self-importance to zeppelin-like dimensions.” Cockburn goes on to demonstrate how Friedman’s hubris allowed him to pass off another war correspondent’s experience in Beirut as his own.[30]”

      • Kathleen
        April 7, 2014, 11:29 pm

        “He’s inciting against Iran. Period” Bingo. And blaming everyone he can for Israel’s illegal and immoral actions.

      • seafoid
        April 8, 2014, 5:36 pm

        He got Iraq wrong
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwFaSpca_3Q

        He’s also wrong on the Jewish Disneyland.

  20. Nevada Ned
    April 7, 2014, 4:47 pm

    Actually, there is a bright side to this:

    Divisions are emerging among the supporters of the Israeli occupation.

    Thomas Friedman is trashing Sheldon Adelson.

    What comes next?

    Adelson will buy Israel, and will rename Jerusalem as the Sheldon Adelson Mega Casino and Theme Park.

  21. Kathleen
    April 7, 2014, 6:15 pm

    Confusing and interesting

    The Red Line and the Rat Line
    Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/2014/04/06/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

    Keeps getting more absurd
    Israel to prosecute Abbas at the Hague over ‘war crimes’

    Sunday, 06 April 2014 13:32

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/10740-israel-to-prosecute-abbas-at-the-hague-over-war-crimes

  22. tokyobk
    April 7, 2014, 7:15 pm

    What is not to understand?

    This is a defense of liberal Zionism, trying to push all of the threats to 2 States (as an achievable goal and as a moral stance) into one category, however strangely shaped.

    • Donald
      April 7, 2014, 8:09 pm

      “This is a defense of liberal Zionism, trying to push all of the threats to 2 States (as an achievable goal and as a moral stance) into one category, however strangely shaped.”

      That’s true and that’s what’s wrong with it–the lumping of all opponents of liberal Zionism into the same category (dastardly anti-semites, basically) is inaccurate.

    • eljay
      April 7, 2014, 9:03 pm

      >> This is a defense of liberal Zionism …

      Liberal Zionism is Zio-supremacism “lite”. It is not defensible.

      >> … trying to push all of the threats to 2 States … into one category, however strangely shaped.

      Aside from making it easier for Zio-supremacists to vilify all opponents of supremacist “Jewish State”, there’s no reason for all (alleged) threats to be lumped into one strangely-shaped category instead of into separate, properly-shaped categories.

    • seafoid
      April 8, 2014, 5:40 pm

      “This is a defense of liberal Zionism, trying to push all of the threats to 2 States (as an achievable goal and as a moral stance) into one category, however strangely shaped”

      Zionism killed 2 states.
      It’s a bit late to try resurrection.

      but what a song
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRwR7avc5Oc

      And BTW Zionism

      I couldn’t bring myself to hate you
      I pity you

  23. traintosiberia
    April 7, 2014, 7:38 pm

    I worry that the biggest friend of Friedman is Iran and Hamas.

  24. unverified__5ilf90kd
    April 7, 2014, 7:41 pm

    There we go again. Thomas Friedman is rational up to a point but in the end he becomes totally irrational and says that the BDS movement, and some Jews in campus Hillels are friends of Iran. I have had exactly the same experience over 50 years as a Professor at US medical schools. I got into conversations with dozens of Jews about Israel and when I eventually casually mentioned some indisputable facts I read in Haaretz or other Israeli newspapers to back up my arguments, I aroused anger, an irrational response and a termination of our relationship. I am deadly serious. It has been very discouraging and I am still trying to understand it. That is one of the reasons why I read Mondoweiss.

  25. traintosiberia
    April 7, 2014, 7:57 pm

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/07/why-is-the-us-honoring-a-racist-rabbi/

    Language or absence of it has served the Zionist well to escape responsibility, hide intention,present falsified attitude and still be accepted by the suckers who get directly harmed by the processes .

  26. Donald
    April 7, 2014, 8:09 pm
  27. kalithea
    April 7, 2014, 9:43 pm

    Are these principles worth embracing from 5000 miles away, let alone expecting people in those faraway lands to die for? If it’s such a living dream for these men, why don’t they move there?

    Yes, indeed, why oh why don’t they=Friedman types move to Israel instead of pushing this Zionist crap from their comfortable hasbarist corner of America, because you know the man is in denial when the truth is that the Jewish state he so wants to preserve is not really a democracy and its blatant racism isn’t directed only at Palestinians, albeit they suffer the more brutal version, but also at Israeli Arabs and black refugees and that’s really the nature of Zionism embodied by the Jewish state.

    Secondly, these liberal Zionists who did the two-state option no favor by laying back all these years allowing their rabid Jewish settler comrades to do all the dirty work stealing territory, not won but occupied in 67, do now protest way too much at the eleventh hour. Seems to me he wasn’t complaining that much all these years Palestinians were being ethnically cleansed from the West Bank and East Jerusalem!

    Oh, and when the argument is notably limp why not drag in every hasbarist’s favorite punching bag, Iran, and sink its credibility completely with this transparent fear-mongering fake gravitas.

  28. talknic
    April 7, 2014, 10:10 pm

    “as soon as Israel pulls the settlers who have been there for 47 years”

    Israeli citizens have been settling in territories occupied (under the control of Israeli military authorities) since May 1948. http://pages.citebite.com/m1t4m5s5d9yxb and http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign+Relations/Israels+Foreign+Relations+since+1947/1947-1974/2+Jerusalem+Declared+Israel-Occupied+City-+Governm.htm (Map: http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk#googlemap)

    None of the territory captured and occupied by Israel between 15th May 1948 and Israel’s 11th May 1949 acceptance into the UN has ever been legally annexed to Israel.

    Why only mention ’67?

  29. yonah fredman
    April 7, 2014, 11:30 pm

    “In 1988, the Palestinians said they’d accept Israel on its 1949 armistice border, and Israel ignored the offer”

    This is an assertion without a context. On what is it based? Did the PLO really propose giving up the right of return? If so, this is news. So this is an assertion based upon a half read of history by a recent student for the purpose of propagating a point of view. This is called inaccuracy and propaganda.

    • Sumud
      April 7, 2014, 11:39 pm

      Did the PLO really propose giving up the right of return?

      Where does Phil claim this in his article?

      • yonah fredman
        April 7, 2014, 11:42 pm

        The assertion that the Palestinians accepted Israel at the 1949 armistice line implies that there would be no real outstanding issues other than that of borders. Otherwise the assertion of an acceptance of Israel at those lines is meaningless.

        Note my words: This is an assertion without a context. Once the context is included the assertion changes its meaning.

      • puppies
        April 7, 2014, 11:52 pm

        @Friedman – still trying to get a free ride, aren’t we? No right of conquest. No exemption from right of return. See the law.

      • Sumud
        April 8, 2014, 1:07 am

        The assertion that the Palestinians accepted Israel at the 1949 armistice line implies that there would be no real outstanding issues other than that of borders.

        No it doesn’t. Congratulations on refuting an argument no-one made.

        Otherwise the assertion of an acceptance of Israel at those lines is meaningless.

        This is comedy hour? Surely you misquoted Phil in error and just don’t want to admit it…?

        Recognising Israel at the 1949 armistice lines was two major concessions rolled into one, renouncing a claim of all of mandate Palestine and conceding half the Palestinian partition under UN181 to Israel.

        It’s absurd to call that “meaningless”, in any context. You must be a terrible negotiator.

        Friedman is searching for bogeymen to pin the occupation on because he doesn’t want to admit how badly Israel has fucked things up, all by itself. He has to ignore multiple chances Israel had to end the occupation (or even just stop expanding settlements) as partially outlined by Phil referring to 1988 and the API of 2002.

        Friedman:

        I don’t know if Israel has a Palestinian partner for a secure withdrawal from the West Bank, or ever will.

        Why doesn’t he know? Of course he knows.

      • yonah fredman
        April 8, 2014, 4:54 pm

        Sumud- Instead of trying to defend my words, which were indeed imprecise, let me again cite Phil’s words and show why they should be attacked.
        “In 1988, the Palestinians said they’d accept Israel on its 1949 armistice border, and Israel ignored the offer, just as it ignored the Arab Peace Initiative offer in 2002.”
        (By the way the significance of the API of 2002 was its vague language regarding the right of return. As much as any other factor that is the one cited by supporters of Israel as reason why it should have been treated seriously rather than ignored.)
        In fact until after the summer of 2000, Israel’s peace camp had not accepted the degree to which Israel would have to withdraw from the West Bank in order to reach an accord with the PLO. It is only in the aftermath of Camp David 2000 and its evolution into Taba 2001 that Israel’s peaceniks adjusted to the necessities that resulted in the so called Geneva Accord of Abd Rabbo and Beilin of 2003.
        The concessions made by the PLO’s acceptance of 242 in November of 1988 were indeed far reaching. To include the lack of reaction of the Shamir government in 1988 as proof of the long lasting Israeli rejectionism is more propaganda than history. The evolution of the Zionist left’s acceptance of the necessities that led to the Geneva Accord of 2003 had not yet begun and this stop on the timeline does more to bolster Phil’s credentials with the choir than to show the inevitable, pre Adelson, rejection of common sense regarding the need for withdrawal from the West Bank.

      • talknic
        April 8, 2014, 1:12 am

        @ yonah fredman “The assertion that the Palestinians accepted Israel at the 1949 armistice line implies that there would be no real outstanding issues other than that of borders.”

        Uh? Borders would be resolved by that acceptance. There’s the not so small matter of compensation for that territory acquired by Israel by 1949 “outside the State of Israel” http://pages.citebite.com/x1r0b4d1y6mkv (map: http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk#googlemap ) and;
        there’s the matter of RoR/or compensation for Palestinians to that territory and;
        there’s the matter of RoR/or compensation for refugees with RoR to Israel

    • talknic
      April 8, 2014, 1:04 am

      yonah fredman “Did the PLO really propose giving up the right of return?”

      Uh? The PLO? Palestinians have RoR to Palestine, not Israel. Those with a right to return to Israel would be refugees from Israel, not what remained of Palestine after Israel proclaimed its borders. They’re not Palestinians and;
      Israel agreed to abide by UNGA res 194

      https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/UN/unga273.html
      Noting furthermore the declaration by the State of Israel that it “unreservedly accepts the obligations of the United Nations Charter and undertakes to honour them from the day when it becomes a Member of the United Nations”,

      Recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 and 11 December 1948 and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representatives of the Government of Israel before the Ad Hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions

  30. yonah fredman
    April 7, 2014, 11:40 pm

    The headline of this post is based upon a misreading of Friedman. It is Adelson that is Iran’s friend. Open Hillel and BDS are not friends of Iran and are not labeled as such by Friedman. (I suppose a parenthesis around the paragraph devoted to BDS would have clarified this, but still, I think it is obviously a tangent to the Adelson Iran connection and not a bundling of BDS with Adelson.)

  31. spokelse
    April 7, 2014, 11:42 pm

    save for the fact that T Friedman is, for god knows what reason, read by many, who cares what he says about almost anything. He’s incoherent and in service to empire. All the hasbara stuff here, and the potted silly history is really beside the point. It’s pretty simple, there is a US supported settler colonial project. The victim blaming, etc is the love song of the occupier to the occupied. The prison guard to the prisoner.

    • seafoid
      April 8, 2014, 5:34 pm

      Friedman is a court clown. He’ll say whatever the powers want to hear.

  32. traintosiberia
    April 8, 2014, 6:19 am

    How to read and shred Friedman?
    I have tried this way.

    1 – “in my view ,to use a nuclear bomb to do it.” There he inserts the possible truthiness and plants suspicion that Iran has nukes or is going to have. By writing this,he becomes Adelson and not a critic but supporter of Adelson who wants to nuke Iran . He becomes supporter of deadly sanctions and also of war of choice against Iran because this allegation has been the cornerstone of US policy despite no proof and despite the rights of Iran to have civilian nuclear program. He conflates and impugns . He becomes advocate of suspicion,bad blood,and of continued hostility against Iran

    2 “Do everything possible to endure that Israel remain in the Occupied Territory”
    Did Iran help Israel to get there? Did Iran challenge Israel to stay there ? Did Iran ask the settlers not to cleanse the area of Palestine and throw a challenge to the diabolical efforts of Jewish people?
    Is Iran physically preventing Israel from leaving? Did it physically prevent Israel leaving from Sinai or Lebanon through surrogates and militants? Did it pay or send subtle cues to anybody or to PLO or Hizbullajh or did it offer extra prayers to Alah to sabotage it? Did it stop funding to Hizbullah for allowing calm on Lebanon border during and after withdrawal
    .? Did Iran applaud Israel for violating Lebanese air spaces on a daily basis from 2000.? Did Iran guide Israeli plane or lure Israeli plane to re enter Lebanese air space?
    Did Iran prevent Israel’s Gaza withdrawal or try to disrupt election ?

    3 “Iran and its ally Hamas has plenty of evidence that this strategy is working. Israel’s 47 yrs old … ”
    Iran did not put this strategy in place and has never challenged Israel not to replace it . Was America al these years trying to keep Soviet in Afghanistan and later in Easyern Europe and trying to persuade Russia to move to Crimea? The day Soviet moved out of Kabul and Berlin and of Krakow , relations became a lot easier and friendly between the two.No Afghan followed Soviet soldiers with US supplied missile . Neither will Hamas or Hizbullah if Israel withdrew to 1967 or some other agreed borders.

    4 “Adelson ..poisoning democracy. “. How is Iran poisoning democracy? Did it ever label the victory of Hamas or Hizbullah in election as illegitimate? Did it refuse to accept the verdict of electorate in Iraq , Turkey, Tunisia or within its own borders? Did it ask Israeli Arab to boycott ? Did it demand that Israel should not give voting rights to Palestine?

    5 during Soviet Afghan war,no one thought that Carter and Brezhnev were working together to destroy Soviet by hating or loving and no one said that Pakistani leaders wanted Soviet to stay in Kabul since the ” strategy of staying ” was working . That would have been a stupid argument .

    6 the war ,the fight ,the quarrel – they always end when both parties stop and cease activities. It start when both start or resume hostile actions. Beyond that similarities , there is no other shared facet . This commonality does not imply and never will that they are working towards same goal.

  33. Giles
    April 8, 2014, 7:59 am

    Pro Jewish bias aside, Friedman is nuts. He has to be paying the NY Times to get his column published. This guy makes no sense whatsoever

  34. weareone
    April 8, 2014, 11:27 am

    “If it’s such a living dream for these men, why don’t they move there?”

    Thanks, Phil. Exactly! In fact, give all Israel firsters a one way ticket, strip them of dual citizenship (they can keep Israel’s), and where appropriate, try them for treason.

    • Taxi
      April 8, 2014, 12:35 pm

      Oh puleeez Phil and weareone, not nice to dump our trash in other people’s yards. I don’t think the middle easteners needs more foreign zionist rubbish in their holy land.

  35. yonah fredman
    April 8, 2014, 4:01 pm

    If it’s such a living dream for these men, why don’t they move there.
    I suggest you remove war of ideas from your dashboard and replace it with: “we won the war of ideas, now’s the time for good old ad hominem.” I realize that’s not as pithy as war of ideas, but that’s not what you’re engaged in, but in good old ad hominem.

    Personally I don’t consider Zionism circa 2014 a dream come true. Given the facts of the immediate history before 1948 i can see how Zionism could at that time be seen as a dream come true and for those that learn of the genocide and take it enough to heart to view it as a cataclysm the differential of time does not necessarily disqualify them from viewing it as a dream come true, but that is not where I am at this point of time and I don’t view it as a dream come true.

    The existence of a vibrant Jewish community (other than America) that includes many Jews who would not walk the face of the earth if not for Zionism I view as a good thing and I wish for it to prosper. As such I take into account the possibilities of peace, including the prevailing politics of the people in Israel. In the long range I believe Israel has two choices: annexation of the West Bank and withdrawal from the West Bank. Because the vast majority of Israelis view annexation as a threat rather than as a promise it is not the subject of sufficient study to be considered as anything but an unwanted (or at least very uncertain) destination. Certainly nothing that I have read on this blog has reassured me that I have nothing to fear but fear itself. And the assertion that there is nothing to fear from American style democracy in Israel falls short of the mark. What I find here is zero realism regarding the Arab spring and negligible realism regarding any of the realistic prospects regarding the probability of a future of Free (Hamas) Palestine rather than Free (utopia) Palestine. Thus: the war of ideas is not fought here and instead we have the superficial pieties of those too sure of themselves.

    • seafoid
      April 8, 2014, 4:42 pm

      “The existence of a vibrant Jewish community (other than America) that includes many Jews who would not walk the face of the earth if not for Zionism I view as a good thing and I wish for it to prosper”

      Zionism didn’t lift a finger against the Nazis in the death zone.
      It didn’t save anyone unless you want to count the few Kastner traded for the Hungarian Jews.

      • yonah fredman
        April 8, 2014, 5:07 pm

        seafoid- Many Jews survived the war because they made it to Palestine in the 30’s, when there were no friendly gates open to them, other than those of Palestine, which were open only because of the existence of the Zionist movement, the Balfour declaration and the British mandate.

        The fact that the Nazis never overran Palestine may be historical coincidence, but the fact is that Jews that escaped Europe and found their way to Palestine survived because of the combination of Zionism and that coincidence.

      • seafoid
        April 8, 2014, 5:33 pm

        Jews also went to the States and South America, Yonah. There were other places to go to.

        It’s such a pity that Palestine which welcomed those people was dismembered and had its own people kicked out. The Ur problem of Zionism.

      • yonah fredman
        April 8, 2014, 5:54 pm

        seafoid- you are wrong.
        Zionism might not have saved 400,000 people (the Jewish population in 1939), but it certainly saved tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Jews who survived going to Palestine that would not have survived otherwise. You are wrong and are not willing to learn the history but are merely interested in singing with the choir.

      • W.Jones
        April 10, 2014, 10:07 pm

        Yonah, why do you say they would not have survived anyplace else? Seafoid mentioned South America, where a large population remains up to today.

        Seafoid, what is the Ur problem?

  36. JeffB
    April 9, 2014, 7:49 am

    @Sumud

    JeffB – You didn’t address this part of what I wrote:

    Likewise the nefarious influence of the Israel lobby and it’s distortion of US foreign policy.

    Seems to me a bipartisan concern and if you read comments from the NYT to the WaPo and beyond they have changed flavour significantly in the last few years – a lot of anger and disgust now being displayed by Americans towards Israel and their behaviour, and zionist influence on US foreign policy.

    I think comment sections are a poor way of determining public opinion. They get you an interesting insight into specific groups that may be passionate enough about an issue to not only read it but to comment (i.e. a sampling of activist opinion) but they don’t tell you much about the public. What does a good job measuring public opinion are public opinion surveys. And those show longterm large substantial gains in Israel’s popularity in the United States. I don’t see any reason that long term trend is reversing. Israel is becoming non-controversial in the United States. Americans tend to trust Israel a lot and put their relationship with Israel above their relationship with UK, France, Germany, Australia… and often it comes in second only to Canada.

    Outside the hard left I don’t see much upset by Israeli behavior. Most Americans believe a state needs to be aggressive towards its enemies: look at USA foreign policy that doesn’t come out of a vacuum. They believe that Israel is fundamentally doing what is should be to protect its society. Most Americans, particularly below the top 20% economically strongly support the notion of nation states and the idea and understand fully why a Palestinian 5th column would be discriminated against. So I don’t see how this is likely to change minds.

    As for Zionist influence of foreign policy. I don’t see it. Clearly AIPAC has lost 2 big issues recently in Syria in Iran. But they lost that’s not the sort of the thing that generates backlash. In terms of general trends Neo-Conservativism is still the dominant paradigm in the Republican party. Among Paleoconservatives there is concern about Israeli Lobby, there always has been. But ultimately they aim for a general withdraw from institutions like the UN not a shift towards an activists pro-human rights orientation. Their position were it to become dominant (which I doubt) might be very very good for Israel.

    The Democrats are rather unified on issues of foreign policy, with the old Realist school (HW Bush) firmly in charge and the Peace Camp having some limited influence. The Realists are generally hostile to Israel but far less so all the time as the cost of being pro-Israel decreases. The Peace Camp is something like 40% Jewish or 1/2 Jewish. My belief is the hight of anger at Zionism in the Democratic party was right before the Iraq war and the peace camp was brutalized when Jews walked away. They learned clearly that when asked to pick between Zionism and Liberalism on average even fringe lefty Jews pick Zionism.

    People keep being told how much they love Israel by the media but nobody can tell them why.

    Sure they can.
    a) Christian Zionism and dispensationalism
    b) They hate muslims and Israel kicks muslim ass
    c) They hate anti-USA countries and Israel kicks anti-USA country ass
    d) Israel is a loyal ally of the United States
    e) Israel is a western country

    etc…

    You claimed Israel serves American interests but when challenged to explain how your answer was rather limp and mostly about Israel serving it’s own interests.

    First off that’s always the case with allies. What drives an alliance is a confluence of interests. The reason we are allies with the UK is because American and UK interests are closely aligned. When the UK acts to help us they are usually advancing their own interests. That’s the norm.

    Second, you just ignored things like Latin America where Israel was clearly acting in our interests and not their own because you didn’t like the policy.

    Perhaps if Israel had a mutual defence treaty with the US and the IDF had fought beside the US army like a genuine ally, then you might have a point.

    We don’t need help in the genuine army world. We have a crushing advantage there. Moreover Israel is a country with 6m people they aren’t going to be useful on that front. Where we need help is in intelligence operations. And there Israel has been fantastic.

    I agree with some of what you wrote otherwise but your argument rests on a left – neocon axis, not left – right. You’re ignoring non-neocon conservatives.

    I think paleoconservatives exists but they control very few seats in the House or Senate. The Republican party is still overwhelmingly neocon. Just look at the latest controversies:

    a) Is Obama too soft on Syria?
    b) Is Obama too soft on Iran?
    c) Is Obama too soft on Russia?

    I don’t see the paleoconservative politicians on all these issues much influencing the debate or even willing to take strong public stands. I do see paleoconservative pundits so clearly there is a wing in the Republican party that could come to power which if it worked with the Peace Party in the Democrats might be able to build a black/red alliance to roll back quite a bit of defense spending. But again I see that as possibly helpful and certainly not too threatening to Israel.

Leave a Reply