Tom Friedman went on a great rant on Israeli television saying “Shame on you Israel” for turning Obama into “a Jew hater.” Friedman also said that Prime Minister Netanyahu “won the debate” over the West Bank and was turning Israel into one state, and that Israel has the same issue as the United States– it is becoming a minority-majority country– but Israel’s answer to that condition is: apartheid.
First the context. Yesterday the United States and Israel cut a new deal for us to give them a ton of money over the next ten years: “the single largest pledge of military assistance in U.S. history, totaling $38 billion over 10 years.” What a bargain: a great deal for your children and grandchildren to fund the occupation going forward.
Hillary Clinton celebrated the new Memorandum of Understanding with a statement saying that our relationship with Israel is “rocksolid and unwavering” and she’s going to take that relationship “to the next level,” including actions against efforts to delegitimize Israel (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions).
Clinton’s statement warned about “Iran’s destabilizing activities,” but said not a word about the holy grail, the two state solution. We have “shared values” and we will “always stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel.” (Recall the most devastating insight in the Colin Powell emails: Clinton is “not transformational.”)
While President Obama’s statement on the memorandum of understanding was far more nuanced, and contained a warning.
It is because of this same commitment to Israel and its long-term security that we will also continue to press for a two-state solution to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the deeply troubling trends on the ground that undermine this goal. As I have emphasized previously, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.
Meantime, Friedman goes on Israeli television interpreting President Obama’s views: that Israel is delegitimizing itself by creating a one-state reality.
Friedman also shamed Israelis for ever characterizing Obama as a Jew hater:
On Israel Palestine, what did Obama say. I really think this settlement enterprise is going to take Israel into a binational state, and I don’t think that’s good for Israel, was his view, to be put into a category of apartheid, like South Africa. What a stupid, naive guy. What a dumb thing! [sarcastic] Really? …
He’s been to more Passover seders than I have…. I’ve never understood this Israeli sort of detestation– He’s only given Israel by testimony of Israel’s own defense ministers more security and intelligence cooperation than any American president. Negotiating a new package now. And basically, what did he say, Yitzhak Rabin. I think Israel’s long term interest, the long term interest of the Jewish people is a two state solution. And for that he was turned into some Jew hater. Shame on you, I mean, really, shame on you all for that.
He only had his secretary of state John Kerry spending basically a year, negotiating with Bibi and Abu Mazen, and assigned John Allen, the former deputy chief of staff, to draw up with the U.S. military a security plan for the entire West Bank that would satisfy Israeli security concerns. So he didn’t do anything. He didn’t do anything. [sarcastic]
He assigned his secretary of state a year! How many trips did he make!… How many Israelis know that?… I’m talking about tachles, I’m talking about real things. This is my point of view, we [the United States] are incidental to this story… I believe, probably with a good enough set of binoculars… you can see the future, that Israel is going to be a minority majority country too, one day soon, and that is going to have enormous implications in the future, what do you need us to tell you. OK, you don’t need us, we’re a bunch of silly Americans…
Obama… knew his partners… Frankly, I have no problem saying it, really. Bibi won. He is now the father of one-state Israel. is the Prime Minister of Israel-Palestine. He wants it; I think he should own it. I think the New York Times should change our stylebook and we should call him, ‘The Prime Minister of Israel-Palestine.’ He won. He outdebated all of us. He won, he won the debate, he won the debate with Congress. … You won, you got it, you own it, And you will be known in history as the father of one-state Israel, b’vakasha. [Hebrew expression, for You’re welcome]”
If the New York Times actually called Netanyahu the prime minister of Israel-Palestine, think of the effect that would have on the right of Palestinians to vote over the government that rules their lives!
But that won’t happen. It’s just bloviating by Friedman, and the kind of intimate bloviating he gets to do with a Jewish audience in Israel that he wouldn’t do with his US readers. He won’t even send a memo to his good friend the editor about this. Because let’s be clear who he is leaving out of his analysis: the American Jewish community. That community allowed Netanyahu to win the debate. That community allowed a foreign prime minister to lecture bully hornswoggle our president. Shame on them! But there’s never an accounting. And why not? Because even Tom Friedman believes that the “long term interest of the Jewish people” is to preserve a Jewish state (on other people’s land). That’s the political/ideological/spiritual deal the Jewish establishment cut a long time ago, that’s the rotten heart of his rant. Though Friedman is waking up. Because American Jews don’t want to live in that kind of place; and they shouldn’t support such an anachronistic ideology, which begins with a Z and ends with ethnic cleansing.