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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Tom Friedman’

Tom Friedman’s ‘Big Question’ Dogmatic, Condescending

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

In Tom Friedman’s Wednesday column, Israel’s Big Question, he argues that the question, in response to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand that the Arabs recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish nation, is “What is the nation state of the Jewish people?”

I couldn’t agree more. In my opinion, our top priority as a Jewish nation returning to its homeland should have been, long ago, to cement our relationship with the land and with each other through our ancient covenant with God. Everything short of that has left us as merely a bunch of Jewish people vying for control of the state, and not a Jewish nation.

Referring to Secretary of State Kerry’s barely concealed threat in Munich (why do they always go there to bury their allies?), that if the current peace talks failed “There are talks of boycotts and other kinds of things,” Friedman complains about critics in Israel and the U.S. who have pounced on Kerry for this brutish statement.

He argues: “Kerry and President Obama are trying to build Israelis a secure off-ramp from the highway they’re hurtling down in the West Bank that only ends in some really bad places for Israel and the Jewish people.”

What are those “bad places?” Friedman’s unwavering certainty on this one is a lesson in dogmatic thinking and preconceived notions:

1. Unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank. 2. Annexation and granting the Palestinians there citizenship, making Israel a binational state. 3. Israel by default could become some kind of apartheid-like state in permanent control over the 2.5 million Palestinians.

“There are no other options,” in Tom Friedman’s universe. And all three options would lead to a “massive eruption of the BDS movement.”

Without even noticing it, I’m sure, Tom Friedman, who considers himself a friend of Israel, ends up waving the very same hammer over our heads as Secretary Kerry has done in Munich.

He offers those three options with such a finality, one might actually be persuaded there’s nothing else, it really is either a 2-state solution via an American brokered deal, or those scary options—which we’re led to believe are all very bad for us. I’d have preferred a little more nuance.

Off the cuff, without disclosing which of the “only” three options I would have preferred (and without offering several others, since they’re out there, one only needs to be intellectually curious to find them), here’s how I think all of these options could be very good for everybody living here.

1. Israel imposes its law on the Judea and Samaria settlements, creates a contiguous block of Jewish towns and villages and leaves the rest to the PA. Commercial relations between Palestinian businessmen and workers and Israeli enterprises remain intact and are even allowed to thrive further. Increased employment and business on the Palestinian side brings a rise in prosperity and enhances peace.

2. An Israeli state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean offers equal rights and citizenship to all. Through constitutional legislation, the new Israeli republic is both democratic and Jewish. This is achieved through the establishment of two houses of legislation: a lower house, based on a one-man one-vote electoral system, deals with budgets and other legislation; an upper house, with a permanent Jewish majority, deals with national Jewish issues to maintain the Jewish character of the state. If Americans don’t like it, they should ask themselves if their Senate, in which a voter from Alaska is worth about 20 voters in NY State is a democratic institution. Every democracy must do what it can to offer maximum representation within given conditions.

Tom Friedman the Last Living Sweaterdouche

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Here’s Thomas L. Friedman at the 7th Annual International INSS Conference in Tel Aviv, on January 29, 2014. I’ll bet you no one else there tied their sweater around their neck like this, because no one else there was living in 1982.

From the Urban Dictionary:

When a person decides to wear a sweater LOOSELY around their neck, they are known as a sweaterdouche.

For those who don’t know, there are OTHER ways to wear a sweater.

1) Wear the sweater like a normal person. If you brought it, that means you should wear it.

2) Carry it. If it’s too hot then just carry it. It’s manlier and makes you less of a douche.

3) Tie it around the waist.

Steve was too hot, so he decided to be a sweaterdouche. He tied the sweater around his neck loosely, in order to show that he was fashionable, but still casual.

Eric felt like he could make his casual boaters getup more casual by sweaterdouching it up, adding a loosely tied sweater to his ensemble.

sweaterneck

In the movies, it was a sure sign that the character was a preppy villain. In real life, it was a sure sign that this person made more money than you, and it probably belonged to their parents. They also most likely used “summer” as a verb.
(Complex.com)

Please send us a picture of Tom Friedman in suspenders, the colorful kind, remember those? And if you can get him in suspenders and a neck sweater in the same shot you’ll be my personal hero.

Damn, he really is a sweaterdouche. Look at the focused expression, the seriousness. What’s he thinking? I’ll tell you what he’s thinking: “Will I make it to the buffet table before they take everything away?” And, “Maybe another one, less serious, from my other side?”

You know something, please tell us your version of:

WHAT’S TOM FRIEDMAN THINKING?

Photo credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90

Photo credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90

US Betrayal Opens Great Opportunity for Israeli Saudi Alliance

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Here at the Muqata think tank, we’ve been analyzing the changes happening around us, and envisioning what a new Middle East could look like, or turn into, if given the chance—based on the real state of affairs in our region. Obviously, we’re looking to develop the best possible realistic scenario for Israel as can be, based on current parameters.

America’s betrayal of long time allies, and its shifting of alliances to the worst of the worst of the Islamic fundamentalist governments, has encouraged a sea change for the entire region.

After U.S. failure to turn Egypt into a fundamentalist Islamic state, it’s now turning to firmly prop up the Islamic Republic of Iran. The end result is that any hope for a popular uprising that would throw out the Ayatollahs is now lost.

A revitalized, aggressive, fundamentalist, and obviously nuclear Iran constitutes a clear and present danger to all the countries in the region, not just Israel.

The recent U.S. betrayal of its long time allies has taught Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Gulf States the lesson of an exaggerated reliance on the world’s biggest super power.

America’s Middle East policy has always relied on the three legged stool of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran. When America lost Iran, it tried to replace it with Iraq, then with Egypt, but each attempt resulted in unexpected consequences.

For the U.S., the Iran deal represents a much sought after return to an old and familiar Mid-East policy, never mind the fact that this time Iran and Turkey are very much Islamic, and have developed an imperialistic appetite that threaten their neighbors, most emphatically the Foggy Bottom stool’s third leg, Saudi Arabia, which isn’t buying any of it.

It’s no accident that there has been noise about the Saudis preparing to assist Israel in a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Gulf States, too, save for Bahrain, are in Israel’s corner, having had thriving business relations with Israel (and shhh, even Settlers) for years. They all view Iran as a radical menace and Israel as its stabilizing antidote.

At the Muqata think tank, we’ve come up with what could be a very realistic realignment, and a plan for a truly new Middle East (Tom Friedman, eat your heart out).

Saudi Arabia has money. Lots of money. Lots of oil too. And of course, lots of desert.

But they don’t have innovation, they don’t have technology, and they no longer enjoy that sense of security they used to have.

Israel has innovation. Israel has technology. Israel knows how to make deserts bloom. Israel has security. But Israel, while becoming energy independent, doesn’t have oil or money (on the Saudi scale), or the production capability to stand alone.

Actually, both states could use better production capabilities.

Both also have had the same reliance on the U.S. to supply them with military platforms.

It’s also no secret that Israel’s military technology and know-how is superior to that of the U.S., but the latter is making sure that the former not be allowed to compete with industries in the American military industrial complex.

And don’t get us started on Israel being forced to take the less than wonderful but shockingly expensive F-35.

Ask yourself, what would happen if Saudi Arabia were to change its buying habits?

Let’s say they decided to buy an Israeli designed advanced fighter jet. Let’s say Saudi Arabia invested in Israeli green tech, to make their deserts bloom.

Let’s say that Saudi Arabia made a new alliance with Israel, based on mutual defense and mutual interests.

It would require of the hyper conservative Saudis to do something brand new, something they wouldn’t have dreamed of doing only a five years ago, when their ambassador to the U.S. was considered an adjunct member of the Bush cabinet. But those days are gone, and the Saudis, perhaps more so than Israel, are fearing for their lives.

One could think of worse reasons than the will to live for cooperation between historic enemies.

If such a pact—which could be denied ad nauseam by both sides—were to happen, we would definitely see Egypt and Jordan joining in. Secretly (at first).

The new Middle East would include Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf states, vs. Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Gaza.

Wisdom From Tom Friedman

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Here is Tom Friedman’s latest wisdom:

…the world for the most part would not begrudge Israel keeping its forces on the Jordan River — as will be necessary given the instability beyond — if it ceded most of the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

Well, I do not know about the “world” but the Pals. would certainly not agree.

That was dumb of Tom, no?

P.S.  Are there “Jewish neighborhoods” of “East Jerusalem”?

Can we retain those?

The Great Muslim Cover Up

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/the-great-muslim-cover-up.html

Over in Toronto, a Muslim cleric with the unwieldy name of Al-Hashim Kamena Atangana had a great idea. Al-Hashim’s idea was for Toronto to pass laws forcing women to wear Burkas. “Cover up or get raped”, was the implied message. Toronto only has an estimated 5.5 percent Muslim population so the Toronto Taliban probably won’t be getting their way until they have higher double digit numbers, but they can wait.

Meanwhile in Egypt where the population is 90 percent Muslim and the other 10 percent are running for their lives, a new TV channel represents a brave new frontier in Islamic feminism. Maria TV features women giving lifestyle and makeup tips while wearing the Niqab, which covers their faces and leaves only their eyes exposed. According to some Saudi clerics who think that women are only allowed to leave one eye exposed, this makes them either a bold feminist experiment or shameless strumpets.

In a country where Tahrir Square has become synonymous with sexual assault; the Al-Hashim paradigm is taking hold. There are photos of female students at Cairo University from the 60′s and 70′s that showed them dressing like women did in the 60′s and 70′s. But by the time Obama showed up to praise Cairo University as a great representative of Islamic civilization, the cover-up had begun. The question is where will the cover-up end and what will the Cairo University class of 2020 look like? They probably won’t have faces, but will they even have eyes?

You can attend a university with your head covered, even with your face covered, but it gets harder to attend class when your eyes are covered. If the trend means anything in a decade Muslim feminism will mean fighting for the right to keep one eye open in a religion that wants everyone to keep their eyes shut.

The liberal West has reacted to the Islamic cover-up with its own cover-up. The Western liberal will run through the gamut of his own civilization’s sins before reluctantly admitting that some parts of the Muslim world may not be an ideal place to be a woman, but he immediately reaches for a rolled up copy of the New York Times and uses Tom Friedman’s latest report from an airport’s luxury lounge in Dubai or Kuala Lumpur as proof that the reforms are coming.

Indeed if you read anything from Tom Friedman, who is expert at writing books about how the world is becoming a global village because it’s so ridiculously easy for him to fly anywhere on his frequent flyer miles, that is all he can talk about. Saudi Arabia is constantly being reformed. Why in 1962 it abolished slavery and recently the Saudi king has agreed to let women vote in municipal elections in 2015. This is naturally a big deal in an absolute monarchy that has been ruled by the same family for longer than it had oil companies.

There is no question that King Abdullah is a great feminist. If you doubt that just ask any one of his 13 wives. It may be true that women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive or leave the country without permission from their husband and have their lives controlled by a male guardian; but so long as Tom Friedman has a comfortable seat and an alcohol-free drink whenever he flies to Saudi Arabia, the reports of reforms will keep on coming about this cheerful outpost in our global village.

Outside of an airport there is no such place as a global village. International travel hasn’t flattened the world. It may be possible to fly to a remote location in twelve hours, disembark into a luxurious modern terminal designed by British architects and constructed by slave labor, but it can take you another twelve hours just to make your way through a city that may be ornamented with the occasional noveau riche skyscraper but is still built on a plan designed to defend desert tribes from nomadic raids. Travel twelve hours out of that city and you will encounter millions of people living in actual villages who don’t think that globalism is flattening, but do think that the world is flat.

Tom Friedman, Again

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Thomas Friedman, who in the past has written of American officials being held “under house arrest” in the White House by an Israeli prime minister, used a crass Yad Vashem metaphor to describe Israel, and viewed Menachem Begin’s pride in things Jewish as “his pornography” (more on those statements later), is at it again, this time likening Israeli leaders to dangerously inebriated motorists.

Vice President Joseph Biden, wrote Friedman on Sunday, should have reacted in the following manner to the Israeli announcement, made during Biden’s visit to Israel last week, of new apartments being built in East Jerusalem:

“He should have snapped his notebook shut, gotten right back on Air Force Two, flown home and left the following scribbled note behind: ‘Message from America to the Israeli government: Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. And right now, you’re driving drunk.”

When it comes to Israel, Friedman, the New York Times’s foreign affairs columnist, has long had a short fuse, especially when Israeli officials have had the temerity to disagree with Friedman’s presumed wisdom.

Usually Friedman expresses his anger in the plodding, workmanlike prose for which he’s been lampooned by a number of writers (not that it’s prevented his books from automatically becoming best-sellers). But on occasion he lets loose and the invective goes flying.

He did so in a 2004 column in which he wrote of Israel’s then-prime minister: “Mr. Sharon has the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat under house arrest in his office in Ramallah, and he’s had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office. Mr. Sharon has Mr. Arafat surrounded by tanks, and Mr. Bush surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, by a vice president, Dick Cheney, who’s ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates.…”

As former New York City mayor Ed Koch noted at the time on Bloomberg Radio, “Of all the anti-Semitic slurs, one of the most outrageous is that Jews secretly control the world. Last week we heard yet another version of the same old lie, this time from Tom Friedman.”

Koch continued: “Friedman, who is full of himself, believes he can resort to the anti-Semitic slur of secret Jewish control, and avoid criticism because he is a Jew. In reality, Friedman disgraced himself and his newspaper. His false words, coming at a time when anti-Semitism is skyrocketing worldwide, are particularly irresponsible and repulsive. If he is capable of feeling shame, I hope he feels it now.”

Friedman’s vicious streak when it comes to Israel was on full and painful display in his 1898 book From Beirut to Jerusalem. As the Monitor has noted on a couple of occasions, Friedman boasted of how his disdain for Menachem Begin colored the dispatches he filed as a Times Middle East correspondent, first in Lebanon and then in Israel.

Friedman’s contempt for Begin led him to crudely psychoanalyze the Israeli prime minister. “Begin,” he wrote, “loved the idea of Jewish power, Jewish tanks, Jewish pride. They were his pornography. He needed a war to satisfy his deep longings for dignity.…”

Friedman ascribed much of what he found objectionable in Israel to what he characterized as the country’s unhealthy obsession with the Holocaust, which he blamed in part on the presence of Holocaust studies in Israel’s high school curriculum.

In a turn of phrase so flippant and insensitive it’s hard to believe it could come from a Jew, Friedman dismissed the State of Israel as “Yad Vashem with an air force.” And in writing about his coverage of the 1982 Lebanon war, Friedman came as close as a journalist can to admitting a lack of objectivity.

Friedman didn’t appreciate the answers he was getting during an interview with Major General Amir Drori, commander of Israeli troops in Lebanon, so he proceeded to turn in a classic hatchet job.

“I buried Amir Drori on the front page of The New York Times,” boasted Friedman, “and along with him every illusion I ever held about the Jewish state.”

Two decades later, nothing’s changed. On the bright side, Friedman is now an opinion columnist and readers know in advance they’re getting Friedman’s subjective views rather than the unvarnished, undisputed truth.

In that position he’s considerably less harmful than he was as a foreign correspondent shoehorning his personal issues with Israel, Jewish pride and Holocaust remembrance into news slots supposedly reserved for objective coverage.

Spanking The Saudis

Wednesday, November 14th, 2001

The Monitor will return next week to compiling some of the more outrageous anti-U.S. and anti-Israel statements made by prominent leftists in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist atrocities. This week, however, attention must be paid to a welcome and long overdue media phenomenon: the roughing up, by an array of pundits who have replaced their rubber gloves with brass knuckles, of the always duplicitous Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The double-dealing House of Saud has, of course, been kowtowed to for decades by a series of American administrations, both Democratic and Republican, despite the fact that the U.S. stands as the Saudi royal family’s ultimate guarantor of survival and likely saved the billionaire sheiks from an Iraqi takeover in 1991.

Now it?s the George W. Bush administration’s turn to get all squishy in the knees about the Saudis, and it?s impossible not to wince whenever the otherwise impressive Condoleezza Rice or the vastly overrated Colin Powell prattles on about the close and invaluable relationship enjoyed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

But media patience has worn thin with the charade of the good and friendly Saudis, and in the past week we’ve seen the Saudis taken to task in an uncharacteristically strongly-worded New York Times editorial and an equally sharp piece by whoever it is who’s been writing Thomas Friedman’s columns for the past seven or eight months (it can’t possibly be the real Tom Friedman writing under the Friedman byline – this one’s been making too much sense).

Nor have the political magazines been quiet: The Weekly Standard contributed its take on the subject in late September with an article by Stephen Schwartz titled “Saudi Friends, Saudi Foes: Is Our Arab Ally Part of the Problem?” and last week The New Republic chimed in with a tough look at the Saudis by Joshua Teitelbaum, “Deserted: Why Riyadh Stiffs America.”

But the knockout punch is delivered in the Oct. 22 number of The New Yorker, where investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has at the Saudis, not with the aforementioned brass knuckles but with a veritable blowtorch.

While the Monitor has in the past taken issue with Hersh, a man of pronounced left-wing leanings whose tendency it is to interpret the information he’s uncovered in a manner conforming to his ideological beliefs, there can be no denying the man’s unparalleled muckraking skills. And what he’s learned about the Saudis should inspire second thoughts even among the striped-pants brigade at the State Department (though it’s probably assuming too much to credit the occupants of that hidebound institution with very many first thoughts, let alone second).

“Since 1994 or earlier, the National Security Agency has been collecting electronic intercepts of conversations between members of the Saudi Arabian royal family, which is headed by King Fahd,” Hersh writes. “The intercepts depict a regime increasingly corrupt…and so weakened and frightened that it has brokered its future by channeling hundreds of millions of dollars in what amounts to protection money to fundamentalist groups that wish to overthrow it.”

Intelligence analysts know from those intercepts, Hersh continues, “that by 1996 Saudi money was supporting Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and other extremist groups in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Yemen and Central Asia, and throughout the Persian Gulf region.”

“The Saudi Regime,” Hersh quotes an American intelligence official, “has gone to the dark side.”

Hersh reports that his sources described an unstable Saudi regime (King Fahd suffered a severe stroke in 1995 and retains power due purely what Hersh describes as a “bitter family power struggle”), whose oil reserves are vulnerable to terrorist attack, “as the most immediate threat to American economic and political interests in the Middle East.”

But as the same officials told Hersh, “the Bush administration, like the Clinton administration, is refusing to confront this reality, even in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/media-monitor-17/2001/11/14/

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