Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tom Friedman: out of the closet, dyed-in-the-wool Israel hater

Friedman and Friends.jpg
For decades New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman balanced his substantively anti-Israel positions with repeated protestations of love for Israel.
His balancing act ended last week when he employed traditional anti-Semitic slurs to dismiss the authenticity of substantive American support for Israel.
Channeling the longstanding anti-Semitic charge that Jewish money buys support for power-hungry Jews best expressed in the forged 19th century Protocols of the Elders of Zion and in John Mearshimer's and Stephen Walt's 2007 book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Friedman denied the significance of the US Congress's overwhelming support for Israel.
As he put it, 
"I sure hope that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby."
...It doesn't matter to Friedman that overwhelming survey evidence, amassed over decades, show that the vast majority of the American public and the American Jewish community support Israel. It doesn't matter to him that the support shown to Netanyahu in Congress last May was a reflection of that support.
...researchers discerned no difference in levels of support for Israel across the political spectrum. As the study reported, "We found that conservatives were no more likely than liberals to feel connected to Israel or regard Israel as central to their Jewish identities. These findings are remarkable given that liberalism is associated with reduced support for Israel in the broader American population."
...On December 7 Politico's Ben Smith published a detailed report about how two of the Democratic Party's core institutions, the Center for American Progress and Media Matters are waging a concerted, continuous campaign to diminish left wing Democratic support for Israel. Media Matters official M.J. Rosenberg acknowledged that given the depth of popular support for Israel in the US, chances are remote that their efforts will pay off in Congress today. He explained that his goal is to shift the Democratic Party's position on Israel through its younger generation.
As he put it, "We're playing the long game here."
Happily, to date, they are losing the long game as well as the short game both in Israel and the US. While it is important to remain on guard against radicals like Friedman and Rosenberg and their fellow travelers on campuses, it is also important to recognize that despite their powerful positions, they remain marginal voices in both Israel and the US.
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