Friend of Israel – Friedman
Photo: Ronny Shitzer
Dov Weisglass
Photo: Ronny Shitzer

Listen to Tom Friedman

Op-ed: Top journalist’s grim assessment of US-Israel ties should raise great concern

Thomas Friedman is one the world’s foremost journalists and a New York Times columnist. Last week, he published an unusually harsh critique of the Israeli government over its policy on the Palestinian issue. Among other things, he likened Israel to a “spoiled child.” One NYT reader responded with a letter charging that Israel is not only acting like a spoiled child, but one who ran away from home yet keeps using the family’s credit card.


Later on, Friedman was interviewed by Meet the Press on Israel’s Channel 2. As disturbing as his article was, listening and watching him provoked truly deep concern. In the interview, he explained that the Israeli government’s conduct on the Palestinian front increasingly erodes Israel’s status in the US: Support for Israel is declining among US government circles, the general public, and the Jewish community, especially among young people.


According to Friedman, Americans don’t understand what Israel wants or where it’s heading, and are questioning its desire for peace. On the other hand, Friedman emphasized, the current Palestinian Authority, especially as result of its success in bringing security and restraining terrorism, deserves more than ever before a true Israeli chance to secure an agreement.


Friedman is completely aware of the complexity and difficulties inherent in securing an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. However, he is pleading with Israel to at least try. He feels deep concern for the resilience of Israel-US relations; he protests the disrespect shown to the American president as manifested by the rejection of his request to extend the building moratorium for two more months; he also keeps warning about the deterioration of the critical ties between Israel and its one and only friend in the world.


Friedman no self-hating Jew

Friedman was a little agitated, emotional, and at times even angry, yet it was clear how pained he is by the current state of affairs. His words are doubly difficult because they were uttered by a lover; a person who does not hide his deep, unalterable sympathy for the State of Israel.


Be warned: Friedman should be taken seriously; very seriously. Not only because he is an important and influential man, but mostly because of his connections, knowledge, understanding, and vast experience. He maintains direct ties with decision-makers, shows rare familiarity with developments in Israel, in the region, and in the US, and possesses academic education supplemented by dozens of years of research, involvement, and in-depth journalistic observation of the region – both from near and from far.


Friedman has been maintaining warm, close ties with the State of Israel ever since his adolescence. It is therefore difficult to excuse the gravity of his words with the usual “self-hating Jew” charges. His words should provoke great concern here. We need to listen to Friedman closely; listen and change, as soon as possible.



פרסום ראשון: 10.28.10, 16:44
 new comment
See all talkbacks "Listen to Tom Friedman"
This will delete your current comment