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Thomas Friedman justifies slaughter of Arab civilians by ‘crazy’ Israel

Media Analysis
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Thomas Friedman had a column in the New York Times yesterday justifying the Israeli slaughter of Arab civilians. Israel needs to go “crazy” in its confrontation with Hezbollah and Iran in Lebanon and Syria because, “This is not Scandinavia.”

Friedman’s entire column is told from the Israeli perspective. Here is the most credulous passage, passing along Israeli propaganda about “ugly” and “brutal” methods as the necessity when you don’t live in Scandinavia.

So what’s Israel’s strategy to keep its conflict with Hezbollah and Iran on a low flame? First and foremost, it’s been to reinforce to Hezbollah and Iran, through many channels, that they can’t out-crazy Israel. That is, if Hezbollah and Iran think they can place rocket launchers in densely populated Lebanese and Syrian villages and towns — and expect that Israel will not take them out if it requires large collateral civilian casualties — they are as wrong today as they were in 2006.

Israeli military planners are more convinced than ever that the key reason Hezbollah has avoided major conflict with Israel since the big Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon in 2006 is that Israel’s Air Force — without mercy or restraint — pounded Lebanese infrastructure, Hezbollah offices and military targets in the southern suburbs of Beirut — not to kill civilians but not to be deterred by them, either, if they were nested amid Hezbollah weapons or headquarters.

Yes, it was ugly and brutal, say Israeli planners, but it worked. This is not Scandinavia. “The reality here starts where your imagination ends,” said one Israeli officer. Sometimes only crazy can stop crazy. And Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, definitely got the message.

So Friedman claims that “pounding Lebanese infrastructure” without “mercy or constraint” is not intended to kill civilians. But it plainly is. Israeli leaders said just that in the Beirut 2006 context. Friedman never mentions the Dahiya doctrine developed by Israeli brass as a legitimate response to military threats: hitting civilian areas with overwhelming force. Used in Beirut and Gaza, it is understood to be a war crime.

The Israeli chief of staff who came up with the idea said explicitly that it was aimed at “harming the population” — the slaughter of civilians– so as to make Israel’s non-state opponents think twice about taking on Israel (yes, including with terrorist attacks).

“[This will] happen in every village from which shots were fired in the direction of Israel. We will wield disproportionate power against [them] and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases. […] This isn’t a suggestion. It’s a plan that has already been authorized. […] Harming the population is the only means of restraining Nasrallah.”

The column also leaves out Israel’s endless occupation and denial of equal rights to Palestinians as the sources of its woes/resistance. No, it endorses a doctrine that many liberal Zionists endorse today, managed conflict.

As one Israeli military officer on the Syrian-Israel border remarked to me, “We want to keep the temporary status quo forever, because everything else looks worse.”

As Donald Johnson reminds us, “Friedman is back to praising crazy behavior the way he praised Donald Rumsfeld during the Iraq War. It’s amazing that this garbage is in a so called liberal paper but I think maybe people are wrong to say liberal Zionist is an oxymoron. This is what a lot of liberals are like.  Chauvinist to the core.”

The article includes Friedman’s usual curtsey to global capitalism and Israeli brains:

Israel’s “Silicon Wadi” — its vast network of high-tech companies along its coastal plain — has become a giant growth engine.

Friedman is not alone these days. Our mass media are trying to justify these methods as fit and right, with the neverending Ronen Bergman show, which also rationalizes collateral slaughter. Zionism truly is in crisis, and as Johnson notes, the hasbara is thick.

I’d point out that Nathan Englander’s new novel, Dinner at the Center of the Earth, contains real moral sense about Israel massacring civilians across international borders. He is more honest about the crisis the country faces.

Thanks to James North and Scott Roth. 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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85 Responses

  1. John O on February 1, 2018, 11:54 am

    Friedman also ignores the central fact of the 2006 invasion – Hezbollah beat the Israeli army on the ground.

    • Talkback on February 1, 2018, 2:19 pm

      To be more precise. A single Hezbollah brigade did.

    • Maghlawatan on February 1, 2018, 4:00 pm

      “Americans don’t learn about the world, they don’t study world history, other than American history in a very one-sided fashion, and they don’t study geography,” Brzezinski says. “In that context of widespread ignorance, the ongoing and deliberately fanned fear about the outside world, which is connected with this grandiose war on jihadi terrorism, makes the American public extremely susceptible to extremist appeals.” But surely most Americans are tired of overseas adventures, I say. “There is more scepticism,” Brzezinski concedes. “But the susceptibility to demagoguery is still there.”

      That was 4 years before Trump

      • Paranam Kid on February 2, 2018, 9:53 am

        Brzezinski was a demagogue himself: he got the US to spawn Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in his obsession to destroy the Soviet Union, thus ignoring the long-term effects of his personal crusade.

    • Misterioso on February 2, 2018, 12:56 pm

      @John O and Talkback

      During my years living in the region I met several United Nations observers. Everyone one of them considered Israeli soldiers to be inferior to Arab soldiers when it came to combat on the ground. (Lebanon and Gaza leap to mind.) In their informed view, Israel’s “victories” were due to its vast array of sophisticated modern weaponry, including phosphorous incendiary shells, flechettes, high explosive artillery shells, missiles, drones and aircraft paid for and supplied in large measure by the U.S. and its taxpayers.

      • John O on February 2, 2018, 3:34 pm

        I’m not surprised. Veteran ME reporter Robert Fisk described the IDF as an ill-disciplined rabble a few years ago. Saul David’s book “Military Blunders” has some good material on the 2006 invasion of Lebanon. One of the points he makes is that so much of Israel’s military capability is taken up with suppressing the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza that, despite its advanced weaponry, the IDF lacks the necessary training to take on well-disciplined troops. With the Syrian civil war now winding down with undisputed victory for the Ba’ath regime, Israel faces a well-disciplined and combat-experienced army of Hezbollah fighters.

    • Misterioso on February 2, 2018, 1:50 pm


      From: Mads Gilbert
      Date: Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 8:46 AM

      “Breaking news! The BDS Campaign is formally nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2018!”


      Dear friends!

      “The International BDS campaign was yesterday formally nominated as a candidate for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

      “Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize can be made by several formal nominators, among them members of the Norwegian Parliament.

      “The Party Red’s new MP Bjørnar Moxnes was elected last fall, and he is the formal nominator.

      In solidarity,

      Dr. Mads

  2. marc b. on February 1, 2018, 12:21 pm

    he is the incarnation of imperial decline. entitled, sadistic, dumb, sycophant to power, power being synonymous with moral justification, while also grasping and desperate. another overdeveloped brain stem with a raging tumor in his cerebral cortex.

    • CigarGod on February 1, 2018, 11:17 pm

      He has reached the end of thought, and joined the mob.

      • Paranam Kid on February 2, 2018, 9:55 am

        The end of thought? Has he ever had any?

      • Misterioso on February 2, 2018, 10:57 am

        Friedman is a punk propagandist for Israel. Like Trump, he receives his marching orders from Sheldon Adelson and his gang of bloodthirsty thugs, including Netanyahu.

      • Misterioso on February 2, 2018, 10:58 am


        Friedman has always been a member of “the mob.”

      • marc b. on February 2, 2018, 2:51 pm

        back in the day when pat buchanan was half of the braden/buchanan two halves of the CIA talk show on CNN (hat tip to gore vidal), he had a military type in his corner arguing the merits of this or that atrocity. a smudge of white spittle kept forming in the corners of this guy’s mouth as he pontificated, and buchanan would periodically nudge him to wipe it away. that’s how i would explain friedman’s genius: he’s managed to keep the spittle from pooling in the corners of his mouth when interviewed. not an unimportant talent in TV land.

  3. HarryLaw on February 1, 2018, 12:27 pm

    It would appear Friedman has accepted Israels war crimes philosophy, Israel can act with impunity since it is protected from any consequences by the US veto at the UNSC. Mao Tse Tung said “Power grows out the barrel of a gun” could not be more apposite in this US/Israel partnership. Unfortunately for them, the balance of power is changing with the growth of the ‘arc of resistance’ Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. So serious is this threat that Trump is now allied with Saudi Arabia and Israel [he also hopes to enlist the UK, Germany and France ] in an effort to derail the Iran nuclear deal, Of course the Trump complaint is not directed against the nuclear deal per se, rather the mostly home produced conventional weapons the Iranians have, and are supplying to Syria and Hezbollah [these include accurate guided missiles and anti aircraft systems] capable of reducing Tel Aviv to rubble. The technological genie is out the bottle, no state has a monopoly on rocket technology, a technology which cannot be countered by such systems as ‘iron dome’ as was proven by Professor Postol at MIT In my opinion the US is on the wrong side of history in the Middle East hence their illegal stay in Syria in breach of International law in an effort to either partition it or effect regime change, its not going to happen, the forces against them are too great. It won’t stop them from trying though.

  4. Liz on February 1, 2018, 12:39 pm

    Friedman represents such typical liberal Zionism–no wonder he’s always in the NY Times.

    • Paranam Kid on February 2, 2018, 9:55 am

      And contrary to what he says, liberal Zionism IS an oxymoron, and he is a moron for not seeing it.

  5. lyn117 on February 1, 2018, 12:41 pm

    First Trump wanting people from Scandinavia, then Friedman wanting to eliminate people not from Scandinavia.

  6. pabelmont on February 1, 2018, 1:26 pm

    “Liberal” is such a bad word. Makes you feel a bit dirty to say it. So I always call myself a “progressive” hoping that the taste will be better. But, yuck! And NYT? Yuck. Love Israel? And a liberal? OOOOKAAAAY. Not mucvh daylight between Israel and the USA, hunh? Maybe not — at the level of leaders.

    When Democrats sold out to big money (recently: Obama, both Clintons, today’s DNC), they kept the label “liberal” and thus transformed it. I won’t be much surprised if the Dems presently in office go along with all or part of Trump’s “infrastructure improvement plan”, a plan for privatising the USA, selling it to Goldman Sachs and other investors. Maybe that’s why Trump likes the Rooskies who did the same thing upon the “fall of communism”. But whatever happens, it will always be called “liberal”.

  7. Ossinev on February 1, 2018, 1:58 pm

    “The reality here starts where your imagination ends,” said one Israeli officer. ”

    Yawohl Mein Fuhrer !

  8. wondering jew on February 1, 2018, 1:59 pm

    Lebanon is a sovereign country ruled by Hezbollah’s army.

    Derfner made a distinction between Israel’s conduct towards Gaza, a noncountry where the full fledged occupation only stopped 12 or so years ago and where there is a siege as the “normal” situation versus Lebanon, which is a sovereign state that does not have a monopoly on the use of power, so in effect it is controlled by Nasrallah and Hezbollah. Nasrallah’s admission that he would never have kidnapped the soldiers if he had known the damage that Israel would inflict is the only proof Israel needs that their policy is sensible.

    I am far more concerned morally regarding Israel’s behavior vis a vis Gaza. I have not studied the laws of war, but Lebanon and the man who controls it, Nasrallah, can author its own fate, whereas Gaza does not have the same freedom.

    • annie on February 1, 2018, 4:13 pm

      a sovereign state that does not have a monopoly on the use of power, so in effect it is controlled by Nasrallah and Hezbollah

      not sure how one leads to the other as implied in “so in effect”. fyi, the occupation of gaza did not end 12 yrs ago and nasrallah and hezbolla do not “control” lebanon. Lebanon is a parliamentary democratic republic with a confessional parliament (distributing political and institutional power proportionally among confessional communities). however, w/the growth of the shia community vs christian , which would have strengthened nasrallah/hezbollah within the parliament, nasrallah said he was not interested in a larger representation in the parliament, they just wanted to keep their army, which everyone agreed to. so no, hezbollah doesn’t control the government and yes, the majority of lebanese like the protection hezbollah provides especially considering they were under occupation by israel for 20 years.

      • Maghlawatan on February 1, 2018, 4:27 pm


        South Lebanon was occupied by Israel.
        The rest of Lebanon was occupied by Syria.

        Israel betrayed the South Lebanon Army. Israel betrays everyone.

      • HarryLaw on February 1, 2018, 5:58 pm

        Maghlawatan “South Lebanon was occupied by Israel. The rest of Lebanon was occupied by Syria”. Are your time lines mixed up? The South Lebanese Army was disbanded in 2000. The last Syrian soldier left Lebanon in April 2005. Fouad Siniora was the Lebanese Prime Minister from 2005-2009. And Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006 and were beaten back by Hezbollah. There has not been a census in Lebanon since 1932, when the population was a mere 875,000, the population now stands at 6 million. The Muslim population is approx 27% Shia and 27% Sunny. there are about another 16 other religious groups in the sectarian system. Annie is undoubtedly correct to assume the Shia community is under represented in the Parliament and that Nazrallah understands the necessity of a broad sharing of power.

      • annie on February 1, 2018, 7:32 pm

        harry, i meant the israeli occupation of southern lebanon from ’82-2000. my mistake! and i think the ‘aprox 27% Shia and 27% Sunni’ is a myth. this is why they don’t take a census… because shia is by far the largest demographic in lebanon. that’s my understanding anyway. but it would shake things up too much to make the seats reflect the true demographics.

      • Misterioso on February 2, 2018, 10:41 am


        “… the majority of lebanese like the protection hezbollah provides especially considering they were under occupation by israel for 20 years.”

        Let’s not forget that Israel is still occupying Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms and Kfarshuba hills
        seized during the war it launched on 5 June 967.

  9. Ossinev on February 1, 2018, 2:14 pm

    This clown will twist contort fart and belch in no particular order in a desperate attempt to prove that he is not a right wing Zionist genocidal nutjob but a humanistic “liberal”.

    Compare his comments about the slaughter of Arab civilians to his comments about the slaughter of Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnamese war – also by indiscriminate carpet bombing;
    “Where the United States went wrong, he realizes, was in “failing to understand that the core political drama of Vietnam was an indigenous nationalist struggle against colonial rule.”

  10. Talkback on February 1, 2018, 2:17 pm

    Friedman supports state terrorism.

    The Dahiya Doctrine: State Terrorism and a Philosophy of War Crime

    He is lying when he claims “not to kill civilians but not to be deterred by them, either, if they were nested amid Hezbollah weapons or headquarters.” The Dahiya Doctrine sees civilians as supporters of combatants and therefore as valid military targets, even it they are not “nested” amid Hezbollah weapons or headquarters which is just another lie.

  11. on February 1, 2018, 3:05 pm

    wish we could plop fried-man in the middle of Gaza – he’d be a great human shield

  12. Maghlawatan on February 1, 2018, 3:41 pm

    “Israel needs to go “crazy” in its confrontation with Hezbollah and Iran in Lebanon and Syria because, “This is not Scandinavia.””

    The SS went crazy in Poland in 1941 . It wasn’t Scandinavia
    Most of the trees planted by the JNF in Israel over destroyed Palestinian villages are Scandinavian. And Israel is not because Israeli society is a mess. You cannot escape trauma by killing people.
    Friedman’s mentality will be impossible to replicate in future generations of Jews. Because Israel is much worse now than it was when he was a teenager
    And Friedman’s globalisation schtick is well past its sell by date with 60K oxycontin deaths per year amongst despairing Americans who no longer give a fuck.

    Israel can’t defeat Shia Islam either. 6m Jews versus maybe 100m Shia is no contest. Israel thinks the tech advantage is foreva but the 2006 rout was an important sign and the Hezb have been fighting in a real war for the last 5 years. The IDF doesn’t have any decent experience these days.

  13. gracie fr on February 1, 2018, 3:52 pm

    I seem to remember a time way back when in 1982, Friedman was the New York Times gun-ho American stringer in Beirut when Israel intervened in the Lebanese Civil War and Ariel Sharon, by means of Maronite proxies the massacred hundreds of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatyla . Bombs fell relentlessly. The man FLED with his tail between his legs over the border to Israel. The war, covered in depth by seasoned journalist Robert Fisk in “Beirut: Pity the Nation” was not on the N.Y.T.’s best seller list as was Friedman’s “From Beirut to Jerusalem”….which leads me to believe in T.F.’s case not only do old habits die hard……..Once a propagandist, always a propagandist

  14. Maghlawatan on February 1, 2018, 3:54 pm

    “Yes, it was ugly and brutal, say Israeli planners, but it worked.”

    None of Israel’s wars ever worked. Each one piles on the consequences. One day an army will sweep in from either the South or the North and Israelis will be slaughtered. That is what happens when there are no rules. Crusaders would be able to give more detail.

  15. [email protected] on February 1, 2018, 4:05 pm

    Whats up with Scandinavia? Trump doesn’t want Blacks and Latinos in the USA but would welcome more Norwegians. Friedman wants to pummel and kill more Arabs because they are not like Scandinavians. Trump is on the right and Friedman on the left. One can’t help but notice that both the left and the right use the same language to demonize minorities and compare their lack of human rights because they are somehow not more like Blonde northern Europeans. Yet, how many leftists will get that Friedman and his leftist newspaper and following pander to the same sort of racist Scandinavian loving bigots that our president does. Calling racism by its name when a Republican does it but looking the other way when a Democrat does it is not a powerful place to come from. I understand that Mondoweiss is not whom I’m talking about but the vast majority of the establishment democrats are quite comfortable using racism when their base wants them to be racist.

    • annie on February 1, 2018, 5:09 pm

      Yet, how many leftists will get that Friedman and his leftist newspaper and following pander to the same sort of racist Scandinavian loving bigots that our president does.

      i’m not really up on the latest lingo but when you say “leftist” do you mean liberal? because i don’t think of either friedman or the nyt as leftist. i don’t think of the dem party as leftist either. i think you are giving leftists a bad name when you lump them in with the likes of friedman / nyt. that said, i don’t think friedman even identifies as liberal per se (albeit maybe he does identify as a liberal zionist). i think he self identifies as “radical centrist”

      Trump is radical right, Friedman radical center (whatever that means, because the very nature of center implies it is not radical) — but nothing here resembles leftists imho. and liberals are falling all over themselves racing to the bottom of the heap.

      • NorthCascadian on February 2, 2018, 1:25 am

        but nothing here resembles leftists imho.
        Pray tell, what does a leftist resemble? Is it the Nation Magazine? Oh wait, FLAME owns them. Or is it the radical “anti-fascists” who never seem to have any problem with the fascist Israeli’s in their midst. Or would the leftest be the anti-war remnants, 9-11 truth activists.

        I look around and I don’t see what I used to think of as “leftists”. My image of the leftist is an empathetic, wise, lover of truth, lover of the whistle blower, My image of the leftist somehow included a radical universal humanity, a practice of enlightenment inquiry into history, the present, the future. A clear and uncompromising opposition to war as a way of solving human problems. Solidarity between people, mutual respect, self respect. Leftist stood for an anti-materialist view of life. Voluntary simplicity, a rejection of the bait thrown out by the “capitalists”. We were all human on this world together.

        Now the meme masters have shredded universal approaches in favor of the slippery identity politics which is effectively disabling what remains of grassroots organizations. Perfect for the sharks in the water.

        A long way of saying that I don’t know many, any? “leftists” who reject the New York Times or even the Democratic Party.

      • Brewer on February 3, 2018, 3:34 am

        Epithets such as “left” and “right” are no longer valid and, though there used to be a commonality of political/social views along these lines, that is no longer the case.
        There is a view that interested parties have deliberately created schisms to split the traditional “left” whose main concerns were health, justice and poverty into smaller groups because, as the wealth gap increased, the proportion of them was bound to increase and with it, political power. I think they were very successful.
        The remarkable thing about politics during the past few decades is that, as the wealth gap dramatically increased, so did the prevalence of right-wing governments in the developed World. With corrupt/dumbed down media compliance (I strongly recommend this interview with the late and severely missed Robert Parry ) both sides of the political spectrum abandoned first principles in the struggle for power and the maintenance of of a system that has become subject to cynical manipulation and infiltration.
        Political operators such as Hillary Clinton have successfully portrayed themselves as leftists by embracing fringe issues while maintaining hard right-wing economic and foreign policy stances. This has confused the electorate. As I said, there is a view that this was deliberate.

    • John O on February 1, 2018, 5:29 pm


      What evidence can you produce for us that Friedman is on the left?

    • Kaisa of Finland on February 2, 2018, 4:11 pm

      “Whats up with Scandinavia? Trump doesn’t want Blacks and Latinos in the USA but would welcome more Norwegians..”

      This whole subject is disgusting, but all though Finland is not considered as a Scandinavian country (a Nordic, yes, a Scandinavian, no), I would say, Mr. Trump does not know what he is even talking about. A big majority of the Scandinavians (Nordics) would never vote for him: He is all against the Nordic “ideal” of the welfare state (high taxes, free and equal education and health care system for everyone etc.) So why would anyone want to move from here to the Trump’s U.S.A.??

      • Mooser on February 3, 2018, 12:38 pm

        “the USA but would welcome more Norwegians..”

        I suggest that anybody favoring increased Scandinavian immigration to the USA should pay a visit to Poulsbo, Washington State, first.

      • annie on February 3, 2018, 1:36 pm

        lol, good one mooser, i’ve been there. ;)

      • Kaisa of Finland on February 3, 2018, 3:57 pm

        ” should pay a visit to Poulsbo, Washington State..”

        I have no idea about that place, but if it is anything like this, maybe it tells something about Mr. Trump..

      • Mooser on February 3, 2018, 5:05 pm

        “I have no idea about that place”

        I’m going back to Poulsbo, take my razor and my gun. They got some mighty tasty lutefisk there, and I’m a’gonna get me some.

        “lol, good one mooser, i’ve been there. ;)”

        And lived to tell of it. I live about 15 miles from P-town. That’s close enough.

      • Mooser on February 3, 2018, 9:05 pm

        I have just returned from Poulsbo, where I helped, in a very small way, the fight against keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS).

      • Kaisa of Finland on February 4, 2018, 1:23 pm

        “Whats up with Scandinavia? Trump doesn’t want Blacks and Latinos in the USA but would welcome more Norwegians..”

        I mean, is Trump really aware of what he wants??

        “The International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement that seeks to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and Israeli human rights violations through economic pressure has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

        The nomination was made by Bjornar Moxnes, a member of the Norwegian Parliament and leader of the Red Party, on Friday.

        A release issued by Moxnes stated: “as a member of the Norwegian parliament, I proudly use my authority as an elected official to nominate the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

      • Kaisa of Finland on February 4, 2018, 1:25 pm

        (Just waiting for the response from Israel.. A lawsuit??)

  16. Linda J on February 1, 2018, 6:58 pm

    From former head of Israel’s Int’l Law Div., Military Advocate General’s office:

    “If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries … International law progresses through violations. We invented the targeted assassination thesis and we had to push it. At first there were protrusions that made it hard to insert easily into the legal molds. Eight years later, it is in the center of the bounds of legitimacy.”

    • RoHa on February 2, 2018, 3:09 am

      So Israelis won’t complain when targeted assassinations and mass slaughter of civilians are used against them?

    • Talkback on February 2, 2018, 8:10 am

      So much for Israel’s contribution to the world.

      “Historically, at least since the mid-eighteenth century, Western thinking has generally considered the use of assassination as a tool of statecraft to be illegal”

    • Mooser on February 3, 2018, 9:07 pm

      “If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it.”- Israel’s Int’l Law Div., Military Advocate General’s

      Sure, that’s why nearly the whole world is Jewish.

      • Maghlawatan on February 4, 2018, 10:59 am

        That belief is flat out wrong when it comes to abuse, Mooser. Israel has dehumanised its own Jewish population via Hebrew but it cannot sell apartheid to the goys.

      • Mooser on February 4, 2018, 4:53 pm

        “but it cannot sell apartheid to the goys.”

        Try and tell that to Zionists! As far as I can tell, Zionists are convinced that “it’s good for the Jews” is all the reason any Gentile needs to give Zionism whatever it wants, whether it be apartheid, or immunity from international law.

  17. Talkback on February 1, 2018, 7:38 pm

    Donald Johnson: “It’s amazing that this garbage is in a so called liberal paper but I think maybe people are wrong to say liberal Zionist is an oxymoron. This is what a lot of liberals are like. Chauvinist to the core.”

    So it is indeed an oxymoron.

    • Donald on February 2, 2018, 12:00 pm

      “So it is indeed an oxymoron.”

      I suppose, but it depends on how you define it. I am guessing we don’t disagree on the reality of what many people who call themselves “liberal” actually believe. The question is whether they should be allowed to use the term about themselves. I think you are using the term to mean that people who are liberal should care in a consistent principled way about human rights. That’s fine, but not all people who call themselves liberals act this way. This is true of both “liberal” Zionists and many American liberals.

      • gamal on February 2, 2018, 12:32 pm

        “should care in a consistent principled way about human rights. That’s fine, but not all people who call themselves liberals act this way. This is true of both “liberal” Zionists and many American liberals”

        Though he himself exemplifies many of the weaknesses of the European left Seymour wrote

        “The Liberal Defence of Murder”
        by Richard Seymour

        of which one reviewer writes, he of the abortive conversation with Richard Spencer,

        ““Among those who share responsibility for the carnage and chaos in the Gulf are the useful idiots who gave the war intellectual cover and attempted to lend it a liberal imprimatur. The more belligerent they sounded the more bankrupt they became; the more strident their voice the more craven their position. As the war they have supported degrades into a murderous mess, Richard Seymour expertly traces their descent from humanitarian intervention to blatant islamophobia.”

        – Gary Younge


        “With elegant asperity and mordant antipathy, Seymour undresses the unsavory record of the liberal apologists for empire in a sane and steady voice that will enrage many and enlighten more. He combines an electrifying and formidable historical study with close readings and incisive analysis, not to mention a brilliant eye for the horrible detail of hypocritical posturing. … [T]his is a book with the potential to reshape the entire study of deradicalization.”

        – Alan Wald, Against the Current

        Liberals are legends pretty much only in their own minds, and then one moves on naturally to Domenico Losurdo

        A Counter-History
        by Domenico Losurdo
        Translated by Gregory Elliott”

        “A brilliant exercise in unmasking liberal pretensions.” – Financial Times
        In this definitive historical investigation, Italian author and philosopher Domenico Losurdo argues that from the outset liberalism, as a philosophical position and ideology, has been bound up with the most illiberal of policies: slavery, colonialism, genocide, racism and snobbery.

        Narrating an intellectual history running from the eighteenth through to the twentieth centuries, Losurdo examines the thought of preeminent liberal writers such as Locke, Burke, Tocqueville, Constant, Bentham, and Sieyès, revealing the inner contradictions of an intellectual position that has exercised a formative influence on today’s politics. Among the dominant strains of liberalism, he discerns the counter-currents of more radical positions, lost in the constitution of the modern world order.”

        then you open a bottle of whisky pour yourself 6 fingers go look in a mirror, down it in one and ask yourself

        “what did i ever see in that shit”

      • Talkback on February 2, 2018, 12:44 pm

        Donald: “I suppose, but it depends on how you define it.”

        “Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality”

        Equality being the key word.

      • Mooser on February 2, 2018, 1:15 pm

        “I suppose, but it depends…/…American liberals.”

        Why, thank you, “Donald”. I’ve been looking for an excuse to indulge my prejudices and there it is.

      • Sibiriak on February 2, 2018, 5:13 pm

        Talkback: [Wikipedia:] “Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality”


        Zionism […] is the national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel.

        Wikipedia definitions are wonderful.

      • Talkback on February 3, 2018, 10:08 am

        Sibiriak: “Wikipedia definitions are wonderful.”

        Aren’t they? Read about the Jewish Apartheid Junta:

        “Crime of Apartheid:

        For the purpose of the present Convention, the term ‘the crime of apartheid’, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them:

        Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person
        By murder of members of a racial group or groups;
        By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
        By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;
        Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part;
        Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right … to return to their country, the right to a nationality, …
        Any measures including legislative measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups, the prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups, the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof;”

        Not only that Israel has been an Apartheid state from the get go. The Zionists had been allready accused of “economic Apartheid” in the 20s. It was the first General Attorney of Palestine Norman Bentwich (a Jewish Zionist) who coined the term.

  18. Citizen on February 1, 2018, 9:09 pm

    Thomas Friedman’s spiel periodically on cable tv news shows–is never questioned by the host, except with the softest of gloves, and yet rarely. I never saw Robert Fisk on any of those shows.

  19. traintosiberia on February 1, 2018, 10:03 pm

    is friedman worried ? His ranting against Iran Syria Lebanon Russia shows the anguish .

    • Misterioso on February 2, 2018, 10:48 am


      Yes, Friedman is “worried.” And so are his masters. In fact, they are panic stricken. Israel’s image around the world is in accelerating free fall and all important young Jews are increasingly abandoning Zionism and the “Jewish state.”

  20. wondering jew on February 1, 2018, 10:18 pm

    This reminds me of MAD Mutually Assured Destruction, the doctrine that explained the reason last century’s series of world wars stopped at two not despite nukes, but because of nukes. The primary difference is the proximity of the warring countries and the reality of the friction. Big power friction particularly between US and USSR had no roots other than two empires and one globe, whereas the zionist versus arab/ Muslims friction is far more local and real.

    MW wishes for Iranian hezbollah violence to force Israel to fold up its tents and disband. Not going to happen on the near horizon.

    • Donald on February 2, 2018, 12:11 pm

      MAD sort of worked in the Cold War, but partly by luck. We humans often think that because some policy worked out that it meant it was wise, but we just have a sample size of one planet and there were times when we came close to nuclear war.

      “MW wishes for Iranian hezbollah violence to force Israel to fold up its tents and disband. ”

      I think you are confusing the front page posters with some views that have been expressed in the comments. My impression is that Phil, for instance, favors BDS as the best path forwards towards a democracy with equal rights for everyone, but expects that there is going to be further bloodshed along the way. That isn’t a question of favoring it.

      • Mooser on February 2, 2018, 1:03 pm

        “MAD sort of worked in the Cold War, but partly by luck.”

        Sure, it took luck, but I think it approached genius sometimes.

      • wondering jew on February 2, 2018, 3:05 pm

        Donald- the mw article emphasizes journalistic flaws, but it implies that as a result of Israel’s behavior, it only reaps what it has sown. It suggests that until israel’s behavior matches the goals of the bds movement it should regard Nasrallah’s threats and missiles as requiring self criticism. This is not realistic.

  21. oldgeezer on February 2, 2018, 7:59 am

    depressing really. He is far from alone in this view. You see it online, in the GoI & Knesset, other commentators. Even Dersh.

    What has caused such people to become so despicably evil at the core.

  22. RobertHenryEller on February 2, 2018, 8:54 am

    I am a Jew living in the United States.

    As I am not living in Scandinavia, who would Friedman condone me killing in our country?

  23. RobertHenryEller on February 2, 2018, 9:15 am

    Phil: I would couch interpretation of Friedman this way: Israel (and Friedman) want to start from the assumption that Iran and Hezbollah want to attack Israel simply because they hate Jews, and do not want Jews in the Middle East, in “their” territory. No mention is made of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians since at least 1948, “in the name of Jews and Judaism.”

  24. Misterioso on February 2, 2018, 11:07 am

    The Electronic Intifada

    “Meet the spies injecting Israeli propaganda into your news feed”
    By Asa Winstanley Activism and BDS Beat 24 January 2018


    “When Sima Vaknin-Gil took over as director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs at the start of 2016, a crucial fact went largely unnoticed.

    “For years, she had been a high-ranking officer with an Israeli spy agency. This means that for the last two years a former intelligence officer has been running Israel’s global war against BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

    “Her ministerial boss is Gilad Erdan, a key ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    They were last month revealed to have spent huge sums creating anti-BDS propaganda targeting social media and news media.

    “It should be a big wake up call to all defenders of free speech and human rights when a peaceful civil society campaign is targeted by spy agencies responsible for hacking, torture, kidnapping and murder in Palestine and around the world.”

  25. JimMichie on February 2, 2018, 11:57 am

    Phil, this would have been great submission to the New York Times as a guest column, or boil it down to a letter to the edtitor. Opportunity missed is opportunity missed.

  26. Ronald Johnson on February 2, 2018, 12:22 pm

    Thomas Friedman might well reconsider his reference to “Scandinavia”, where Sweden, especially, is torn by immigrant riots over unemployment and anger at the NATO countries who aided the US in sacking their native lands. The problem extends to other European countries of refuge, little noted in the US news media. Social safety nets can absorb only limited populations on short notice.

    The comparison arises then, of Israel’s success in branding black refugees as “infiltrators”, jailing them, and ultimately sending the refugees southward, into the likelihood of persecution.

    Israel’s policy receives high compliments from our White Nationalists.

    • gamal on February 2, 2018, 12:46 pm

      “where Sweden, especially, is torn by immigrant riots over unemployment and anger at the NATO countries who aided the US in sacking their native lands”

      thats all very questionable

      “A cursory look at the data shows there is no immigrant-driven crime or terrorism wave in Sweden. There has been no “absolute surge” in rape. And Horowitz, the ultimate source of all this, is facing serious allegations of selectively editing footage of Swedish police officers to make it seem like they’re blaming crime on immigrants when they actually aren’t.

      The American president is using the world’s largest megaphone to amplify a false panic about brown-skinned immigrants raping white women.

      1) There is no immigrant crime wave in Sweden
      In the past decade, there’s been a spike in immigration to Sweden. In 1990, 9.2 percent of Sweden’s population was foreign-born. That figure was 11.3 percent in 2000, and 15.4 percent in 2012.

      Immigrant rates have grown even further in recent years, owing in large part to the global refugee crisis. In 2014, Sweden admitted more asylum seekers, per capita, than any other country on Earth. Many Swedish immigrants today hail from war-torn Muslim-majority countries like Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq.”….

      “Some people assumed this would produce a major uptick in the rates of violent crime in Sweden. Historically, immigrants to Sweden do commit crimes at higher rates than the native-born, though children of immigrants commit crimes at basically the same rate as children of native-born Swedes (controlling for income).

      However, there’s no evidence of a massive crime wave. Here is an official Swedish government tally of the rates of six different types of crime directed at persons”

      • Mooser on February 3, 2018, 12:28 pm

        “thats all very questionable”

        Well, some musings on the failure of liberalism to produce a utopia, combined with six fingers of whiskey, can make it lots more believable.

    • Mooser on February 2, 2018, 12:51 pm

      “Thomas Friedman might well reconsider his reference to “Scandinavia”, where Sweden, especially, is torn by immigrant riots over unemployment and anger at the NATO countries who aided the US in sacking their native lands.”

      Have faith, the sign of a new age of peace friendship and Turbo Volvos is abroad in the land.

    • Kaisa of Finland on February 2, 2018, 3:52 pm

      “where Sweden, especially, is torn by immigrant riots over unemployment and anger at the NATO countries who aided the US in sacking their native lands..”

      Never heard. I think I would have, if there was some.

      There are some problems with gang criminality and violence in certain suburb areas in Sweden, but:

      “..researchers at Stockholm University showed that the main difference in terms of criminal activity between immigrants and others in the population was due to differences in the socioeconomic conditions in which they grew up in Sweden. This means factors such as parents’ incomes, and the social circumstances in the area in which an individual grew up.”

      Read facts about migration, integration and crime in Sweden:

      (Published 23 February 2017 · and updated 18 January 2018)

      • Kaisa of Finland on February 2, 2018, 4:17 pm

        ..And why would immigrants riot about NATO in Sweden?? Sweden is not a NATO country.. Very confusing.. And I have not heard the immigrants rioting in Denmark or Norway either and those countries are NATO members.. Where do all this information come from.. ?? FOX NEWS??

      • RoHa on February 2, 2018, 9:17 pm

        I find it very difficult to assess the reality of the situation.

        On the one hand, I don’t trust the journalists who report about the immigration problems. On the other hand, I don’t trust the Swedish government, either.

  27. rindmeshreb on February 2, 2018, 3:20 pm

    I read the column yesterday and was totally disgusted. Friedman represents himself as one who knows something about the Middle East. In fact, the guy seems not to have a clue. See his recent column on Saudi Arabia, dripping with unctuous praise of Prince Muhammad bin Salman. Seems he never got out of one of the royal palaces. What I find most disturbing about this column is his dismissal of Israeli war crimes (First Lebanon war of 1982, culminating in the Sabra and Shatila massacre and followed by Israeli attempts to ethnically cleanse and annex territories north to the Litani River; Lebanon War of 2006; Gaza war of 2014). He states that the inflicting of large numbers of civilian deaths and casualties are intentional, a part of a deliberate strategy of terror and attempts to justify something for which there is never any justification.

  28. James Canning on February 2, 2018, 6:24 pm

    We can be sure Hezbollah has not forgotten Israel’s virtually insane smashing of Lebanon in 2006.

  29. wondering jew on February 2, 2018, 8:23 pm

    Nasrallah has wised up lately (last decade or so), but early in his career he spewed his venom at both Zionist and yahud. ( There seems to be some controversy about the quotes attributed to him.)

  30. bognajpierw on February 3, 2018, 7:06 pm

    “So far,” writes Friedman in the TIMES, “the Israeli military command has played this 3-D chess game of 21st-century warfare extremely well — managing to stay out of Syria’s civil war . . . . “

    Well . . . The Jerusalem Post reports otherwise:


    NEW YORK – The Syrian ambassador to the UN has long complained of a Zionist conspiracy working with the Syrian rebels to overthrow President Bashar Assad.
    Now, a report from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) reveals that Israel has been working closely with Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights and have kept close contact over the past 18 months. The report was submitted to the UN Security Council at the beginning of the month.
    The documents show that Israel has been doing more than simply treating wounded Syrian civilians in hospitals. This and a few past reports have described transfer of unspecified supplies from Israel to the Syrian rebels, and sightings of IDF soldiers meeting with the Syrian opposition east of the green zone, as well as incidents when Israeli soldiers opened up the fence to allow Syrians through who did not appear to be injured. . . .

  31. Sulphurdunn on February 4, 2018, 12:48 pm

    When you target the location from which a portable rocket or a bullet was fired, you know damn good and well whoever fired it is probably long gone when your retaliate and that your intended targets are not combatants.

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