Wednesday, December 28, 2011

David Gerstman: Tom Friedman vs. Israel

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.
Tom Friedman, Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir, December 13, 2011

When Tom Friedman used antisemitic imagery of Israel owning Congress, many saw this as Friedman crossing the line--and there were those who came to his defense that though a critique of Israel, Tom Friedman is a friend of Israel.

But, as David Gerstman documents in Tom Friedman vs Israel--over the years Friedman has criticized Israel in a way that has consistently shown a lack of balance.

For example, during the 2006 war with Hezbollah, Israel had to deal with the familiar terrorist tactic of hiding weapons and soldiers among civilians. While admitting the problem, Friedman accused Israel of using “Hama Rules” — drawing a direct comparison to the Syrian town of Hama, when, in 1982 President Hafez el-Assad quashed an uprising by bombing neighborhoods and killing upwards of 10,000 people:
In Israel’s case, it found itself confronting enemies in Gaza and Lebanon armed with rockets, but nested among local civilians, and Israel chose to go after them without being deterred by the prospect of civilian casualties. As the Lebanese militia leader Bashir Gemayel was fond of saying — before he himself was blown up — “This is not Denmark here. And it is not Norway.”

The brutality of the Israeli retaliations bought this timeout with Hezbollah and Hamas, and the civilian casualties and troubling TV images bought Israel a U.N. investigation into alleged war crimes.
Friedman's parallel gives lip service to Israel's right to self-defense, let alone steps taken to minimize casualties.

Gerstman goes on to examines the extent to which Tom Friedman uncritically went to push the Arab League peace plan and his introduction of the term "Fayyadism", which he periodically uses in his column to hit Israel over the head with.

The problem always seems to turn out the same:
Friedman proclaimed he had the answer to promote peace in the Middle East. When none of these worked out as Friedman envisioned, he still found some way to blame Israel for the failures.
Read the whole thing.

And blaming Israel is what Tom Friedman does, and does consistently--finding fault with Israel.
Friedman may claim to be a friend of Israel, but with friends like that...

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