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December 20, 2011

Ohh, Friedman Meant to Say "Engineered"!


Tom Friedman

Tom Friedman thinks Jewish readers should get over it and let him come in from the cold. He's explained to The Jewish Week's Gary Rosenblatt that he "regrets" his choice of words in a December 13 column when he said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's standing ovations during his speech to Congress were "bought and paid for by the Israel lobby."

The ugly charge with its overtones of anti-Semitism caused a firestorm of criticism. But now we know, he only meant to say the standing ovations were "engineered" by the lobby.

He tells The Jewish Week:

“In retrospect I probably should have used a more precise term like ‘engineered’ by the Israel lobby — a term that does not suggest grand conspiracy theories that I don’t subscribe to,�? Friedman said. “It would have helped people focus on my argument, which I stand by 100 percent.�?

Does that include standing 100 percent by his statement attributing to Mitt Romney the view that:

America’s role is to just applaud whatever Israel does, serve as its A.T.M. and shut up

And does it include Friedman invoking as admirable the radical, fringe voice of Ha'aretz's Gideon Levy, whose unbridled attacks on Israel include applauding academic boycotts of Israel and hoping for boycotts "someday [that would] also include tourism officials, business people, artists and athletes."

Of course, Friedman's clarification is nonsense. It is precisely the argument that he stands by 100 percent that was so outrageous and offended so many and endeared him to the likes of Stephen Walt.

It will take a lot more than meaningless interviews in this vein, no matter in how many Jewish papers they appear, to persuade readers that his vituperative charges are consistent with his self-described -- as relayed by The Jewish Week -- "unswerving support for the State of Israel."

Posted by AL at December 20, 2011 10:58 PM


Doesn't anybody criticize Friedman for slandering Congress?

Posted by: Elliott A Green at December 21, 2011 08:12 AM

There is no politically motivated hate speech more obnoxious than the Israel Lobby. Coined by an Israel basher and used by Jew haters, this term belittles all who support Israel, whether we be Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. It is an indication that politically aware Americans are being hoodwinked by a bunch of foreign national Jews.

Posted by: Asher Garber at December 21, 2011 04:28 PM

Tom Friedman's remarks about Israeli and Jewish money buying off Congress and his claims that US taxpayers serve as an A.T.M machines for Israelis would be bad enough if it were the first claim about undue Israeli and Jewish influence to emerge from the New York Times. Only three months ago, editor Andrew Rosenthal tweeted sarcastically about Israel and said "as if Israel ever has to worry about US presidents" (Sept. 13, 2011 tweet @andyRnyt). Only months before that outburst of petulance from Andrew Rosenthal, long time critic of Israel Roger Cohen was at his worst. In a debate about Israel at NYC (Cohen teamed with Rashid Khalidi to argue against Israel), Cohen claimed that he had "heard" that Jewish congressmen had told President Obama that unless Obama caved in on Israel, they would prevent the Obama health care proposals from passing the Congress. Cohen would not say where he had "heard" this assertion. Nor would Cohen identify the Jewish congressmen who had threatened the president of the United States. Cohen's debate remarks were eerily similar to Joseph McCarthy's speech in West Virginia in 1954 in which McCarthy said he had a "list in my hands" of congressmen and others were who were Soviet Agents. Cohen's remarks are readily available on the internet and Newsweek published much of the transcript. Yet there was no backlash against Cohen. Taken together, the Friedman, Rosenthal and Cohen remarks represent a new low at the NYTimes. Any charge of dual loyalty or any allegations about "Jewish influence" are fit to print in the NYTimes.

Posted by: Sid Bachrach at December 21, 2011 07:46 PM

Great article by you on the lies of Thomas Friedman.
I would also point out how you mentioned how Friedman mentioned Israel hater Gideon Levy in his article.
You brilliantly wrote, that Levy displays total indifference to Arab aggression, terrorism and irredentism in regard to Israelis. Indeed, he seems to consider any media coverage of Palestinian attacks on Israeli men, women and children provocative and a form of demonizing Palestinians.

Its not only the Palestinians he appeases, he's doing the same thing with Assad.
Levy wrote this article in November 2010, where he tries to say Assad is a man of peace.
Levy does his best appeasement by trying to say that Israel should give up the Jewish Golan, which was part of the British Mandate borders that was supposed to go to Israel.

In the last 8 months, with Assad massacring over 5000 Syrians, including 100 the other day. Gideon Levy hasn't said one word of criticism about Assad in the last 8 months.

Levy also tried to say that Arafat didn't start the terror war in 2000 and that Arafat wanted peace.
Mahmud al-Zahar admitted last September that Arafat gave the green light and worked with Hamas on terrorist atrocities against Israeli civilians in Israel.

Arafat's own wife Suha, recently admitted Arafat started the terror war in 2000.
Has Gideon Levy retracted his lie that Arafat didn't start the terror war in 2000? No.

Frimet Roth who lost her daughter in the Sbarros massacre in 2001.
Read what she wrote about Gideon and Amira Hass
She hits it right on the head.

Gideon Levy, who writes for Israel`s pre-eminent daily, Haaretz, fancies himself a champion of the weak and vulnerable. The day after my child`s cold-blooded murder by a Hamas bomber, Levy wrote the following in his weekly piece detailing Palestinian suffering:

"These children, every child in the world should have protection as though he were a VIP. Every child in the world is a VIP"
Levy did not mention the seven Jewish children whose graves were dug that day because he did not mean those children. He never does.

Levy`s colleague, Amira Hass, the only Israeli journalist who lives in a Palestinian town, Ramallah, was equally indifferent to my child`s murder. The first piece she published in Haaretz after the Sbarro massacre made no mention of the fifteen victims. Instead, it was an emotive tirade about the Palestinian right of return, reminding her readers of two major Jewish settlements close to Jerusalem that she fears "won`t be evacuated": the city of Maaleh Adumim and the Jerusalem satellite community of Givat Ze`ev.
Murdered Jewish children do not move Hass either.

Posted by: Ed Frias at December 22, 2011 09:20 AM

Tom Friedman, Gideon Levy, et. al.... "useful" Jews... as are those who hear or read such anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist verbiage and do or say nothing.

Posted by: Carol at December 22, 2011 05:00 PM

I admit I am a little naive over this supposed slur. This congress has been accused and has members that have been accused of all kinds of criminal and behaviour unbecoming a "representative". The Congress has been accused of acting against the interests or in spite of the voters known wishes as in the case of ObamaCare. Is this comment meant to disparage Israel or congress? I guess what makes this circumstance so odious is Friedman implies, supporting Israel might be more criminal by comparison. I disagree, I think there is still a majority of Americans who support Israel but the media narrative as we have seen stated by Helen Thomas and executives at NPR has been hijacked and Mr. Friedman should sensitive to how in disrepute his profession has become. Especially when we are being told to believe the Palestinians who celebrated in the streets at news of 9-11 and stood by Husseins murderous regime, are the benefactors.

Posted by: jeb stuart at December 22, 2011 07:14 PM

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