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Ho hum. Tom Friedman gave private chalk-talk to Israeli brass

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Oh my: Times columnist Tom Friedman offered a private lecture to the Israeli army’s general staff last week. Haaretz reports: "Friedman met personally with IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi during his visit, and spoke to the deputy chief of staff, the head of Military Intelligence, the head of the Home Front Command and the head of the planning branch."

Richard Silverstein is outraged. Helena Cobban asks, is this par for the course for NYT writers?

In 1968, at 15, a trip to Israel "changed my life," Friedman wrote in his first book. In 1971, as a high school senior, he was giving lectures to his Minnesota classmates on Israel’s righteous tactics in the (four-year-old) Six Day War. The New York Times wants this sort of expertise. Its two Jerusalem correspondents are both married to Israelis. Two of the Atlantic’s correspondents on this issue both served in the IDF (Jeffrey Goldberg, Robert Kaplan). Then all these guys supported the Iraq war. It’s about Jewish identity inside the Establishment. And yes, some day this will be scandalous.

[P.S. I might have been unfair to the Times’ Ethan Bronner the other day. His piece concluded that Israelis "want peace and quiet," not a peace process of negotiation with a weaker power (quoting Aluf Benn of Haaretz). Abdeen Jabara says this is a giant step forward for the Times, this acknowledgement. Hat’s off to Bronner.]

Philip Weiss

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