Remember the last time, in September, when Tom Friedman warned that the US was in thrall to the Israel Lobby?
This has also left the U.S. government fed up with Israel’s leadership but a hostage to its ineptitude, because the powerful pro-Israel lobby in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s.And who is the mastermind behind this sinister lobby?
It's Benjamin Netanyahu, of course, pulling all the strings in a way that conjures up images of the Elders of Ziyon:
O.K., Mr. Netanyahu has a strategy: Do nothing vis-à-vis the Palestinians or Turkey that will require him to go against his base, compromise his ideology or antagonize his key coalition partner, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, an extreme right-winger. Then, call on the U.S. to stop Iran’s nuclear program and help Israel out of every pickle, but make sure that President Obama can’t ask for anything in return — like halting Israeli settlements — by mobilizing Republicans in Congress to box in Obama and by encouraging Jewish leaders to suggest that Obama is hostile to Israel and is losing the Jewish vote. And meanwhile, get the Israel lobby to hammer anyone in the administration or Congress who says aloud that maybe Bibi has made some mistakes, not just Barack. There, who says Mr. Netanyahu doesn’t have a strategy? [emphasis added]This time, Friedman merely refers to how the Israel Lobby applies the stick to Congress. It was only in his most recent column that Friedman claims that the Israel Lobby also applies the carrot.
Let's put aside that Iran is no friend of the US, that Israel already agreed to a freeze--during which Abbas did nothing, and that one does not need an Israel Lobby to see how Obama's failed Mideast policy hurts Israel.
The point is that Friedman wanted to play the Israel Lobby card one more time--this a day after the Wiesenthal Center urged that it is time to disown those "who take the low road and drag down policy debates into the gutter of individual and group defamation."
But such niceties will not stop Tom Friedman, who writes that now the Israel Lobby controls congress:
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. The real test is what would happen if Bibi tried to speak at, let’s say, the University of Wisconsin. My guess is that many students would boycott him and many Jewish students would stay away, not because they are hostile but because they are confused. [emphasis added]I sure hope Friedman realizes now how over the top that was.
Because lots of others do.
Elliott Abrams writes that Tom Friedman owes an apology to Congress for his Israel Lobby remark:
I would hope that in the cold light of morning Mr. Friedman would re-read what he wrote and withdraw the remark. Members of Congress in a country that is two percent Jewish stand to applaud Prime Minister Netanyahu because they, like their constituents, support Israel and want America to support Israel. Many of those standing and cheering were from districts where there are no Jews or a handful of Jews, and where Evangelical churches form the strongest base of support for the Jewish state. Now perhaps Mr. Friedman means those churches when he refers so nastily to the “Jewish Lobby,” but I doubt it. I think we all know what he means, and that is why he should withdraw the ugly remark fast. He owes an apology to hundreds of members of Congress who spoke for their constituents when they applauded Mr. Netanyahu, and to the millions of Americans Jews and Christians whom they faithfully represent.It's one thing for Friedman to go after Israel or American Jews and accuse them of all sorts of diabolical plans against the interests of the US.
This time, Friedman clearly said that the US Congress is bought and paid for with the money of the Israel Lobby.
Friedman won't apologize to American Jews and he doesn't care what Israel thinks. But he may reconsider his libelous claim about Congress.
Technorati Tag: Israel and Tom Friedman and Israel Lobby.