Elliott Abrams

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Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Mr. Friedman’s Diatribe Against Israel

by Elliott Abrams
December 14, 2011

Occasionally critics of the government of Israel and of its American supporters put aside polite talk and bare their souls, and that can be an edifying if deeply unattractive moment. Such a moment arose today in the New York Times, where its columnist Thomas Friedman exposed the depth of his hostility:

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.

Now, it is a fact that Americans remain extremely supportive of the State of Israel, as poll after poll has shown year after year and decade after decade. That support is near an all time high. Here is what the Gallup Poll found this year:

In recent years, with no major breakthroughs in the Mideast peace process and no resolution to the Hamas vs. Fatah political rift in the Palestinian Territories, Americans’ sympathies toward the conflict’s players have leaned heavily toward the Israelis. In fact, with more than 60% of Americans sympathizing with Israel since 2010, public support for the Jewish state has been stronger than at any time other than in 1991, when Israel was hit by Iraqi Scud missiles during the Gulf War.

Of course, that support is suspect to Mr. Friedman, for Gallup also found that it is higher among Republicans than among Democrats and higher among conservatives than among liberals. But what in the world except prejudice can lead Mr. Friedman to make the ugly charge that support for Israel in Congress, need support for Mr. Netanyahu in Congress, is “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby?”

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.

Post a Comment 68 Comments

  • Posted by Rochelle Pye

    I agree with your comments. It is as if Mr Freedman is against all of Israels policies which is definitely not helpful to the climate in which they live.

  • Posted by Ron Levin

    Tom Friedman’s self righteous arrogance is predicated on his incapacity to accept Netanyahu’s rejection of Friedman’s prescription for resolution of the Israeli Arab conflict.
    A New York Times columnist is nothing more than a New York Times columnist.

  • Posted by Donna Robinson Divine

    Friedman is as likely to withdraw the comment as Newt to return the fees paid to him by Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac. He will probably issue a strong confirmation of his view if there are large numbers of complaints.

  • Posted by Steve Metz

    Can you point us toward where Friedman “refers so nastily to the ‘Jewish Lobby’?” I couldn’t find it in the essay linked, so assume it was elsewhere.

  • Posted by Elliott Abrams

    My reference was to his entire column and his accusation that support for Israel was bought and paid for, which I believe is false and extremely nasty. Mr. Friedman used the term Israel Lobby, but his reference is pretty clear.

  • Posted by Adam

    His reference to what is pretty clear? Are you insinuating that Friedman is insinuating that the Israel lobby is a Jewish conspiracy? Or are you insinuating that Friedman is insinuating that the Israel lobby, like many lobby groups, has a disproportionate amount of influence.

  • Posted by Elliott Abrams

    I am very pleased at the interest in this blog post. I hope there is no insinuation in it, nor was there any in Mr. Friedman’s column. He said the support for Israel in Congress is “bought and paid for” rather than reflecting the genuine views of American voters and their representatives in Congress. I think that is a nasty and ugly charge that poll data exposes as false.

  • Posted by tequila0341

    “Mr. Friedman used the term Israel Lobby, but his reference is pretty clear.”

    Is it really? Why would you think that the Israel Lobby could not include those Christian fundamentalists like Michael Hagee, who see support of Israel as a Biblical commandment?

  • Posted by Naushad Shafkat

    Mr. Abrams writes ‘it is a fact that Americans remain extremely supportive of the State of Israel’. True. But why is that so? It is mainly because of the media which is posting slanted stories, untruths and white lies. It selects facts to suit the Israeli point of view and always paints the Palestinians as a satanical sub-human specie. And why does the media do that? Unfortunately the media is controlled by Zionists as we all know. Need one say more?

  • Posted by Robin

    Actually, Mr Friedman’s comments are well taken. The current congressional body, controlled by the GOP, does not represent the views of a majority of Americans. Congress’ views on Israel and the Palestinians is encapsulated in Newt Gingrichs recent comments. Those who believe in justice for all people cannot seriously support Israel’s policies on settlements in the west bank.

  • Posted by Maz

    Just to clarify, you say “what in the world except prejudice” can motivate Friedman; are you accusing Thomas Friedman of being an anti-Semite? Is everyone, *including Jews* who disagrees with U.S. policy towards Israeli an anti-Semite? Your increasingly bewildering charges of bigotry are really telling about how fundamentally indefensible the things you stand for are.

  • Posted by Grumpy Old Man

    The repulsive subservience of our pols to Zionism–even to winking at its worst excesses–is a disgrace. Zionism must be driven to the darkest corners of American political life, where Maoists and militiamen lurk.

  • Posted by Al P.

    Friedman’s repertoir only consists of one note: screeching against Israel.

    To his audience on the radical left, it sounds like music.

    When Obama eventually throws him under the bus like everybody else who’s purpose to him has been served, no doubt the “Pied Piper of Prejudice” will be very surprised.

  • Posted by Eliyahu

    Opposing Jewish settlements in the so-called “West Bank” –Judea & Samaria– means opposing the human rights of Jews, thereby opposing justice for all.

    Gingrich simply stated the historic fact that there never was a people called “the Palestinian people.” By the way, the Romans called the country Judea [Iudaea] until they had defeated the Jewish revolt led by Bar Kokhba in 135 CE, after which Emperor Hadrian changed the name of the province from Provincia Iudaea to Provincia Syria Palaestina, symbolically subordinating Judea to Syria and applying the adjective Palaestina to it. This was an act of imperialist suppression of a valiant people that had fought for freedom.

  • Posted by Ralph Grunewald

    I certainly didn’t agree with everything Friedman wrote today, or even exactly how he characterized the issues he raised, but I do know one thing: he is not totally off-taget when it comes to the troubling trends in Israel with respect to minority rights. Having just been in Israel and toured some of the Bedouin and Israeli-Arab villages within Israel that appear out of the Third World — and witnessing the anti-democratic political goals of the far-right and ultra-religious parties being presented as laws for the Knesset to consider — all lovers of Israel need to be concerned. Even the most forceful advocates for Israel, me among them, sometimes need to speak the truth.

  • Posted by Barry Meislin

    I wouldn’t call it “nasty”. I’d call it unhinged.

    But that’s perfectly understandable. Bibi (“he doesn’t listen to me!!”) doesn’t exactly listen to Tom’s pearls of wisdom.

    (Like he should. Like we all should. Like Obama does.)

    For example, when Tom went all gaga over the Arab Spring (Egypt in particular) and Bibi didn’t show similar enthusiasm, like Obama and Hillary—well Tom sure showed Bibi a thing or two.

    And the Arab Spring, well, um, it’s sputtering, but that’s not Tom’s fault. He meant well. He really did. If anything, it’s Bibi’s fault for not being as enthusiastic about it all as Tom was.

    Besides, look on the bright side: who’s to say the Arab Spring won’t succeed? And who’s to say it wasn’t a really good idea at the time.

    Well, you get the idea.

    Still, before one gets all hot under the collar regarding this thing about AIPAC or whatever evil Zionist-loving org paying Senators and congresspeople(?) to applaud Bibi, well, that should be a pretty easy allegation for Tom—or anyone else—to prove.

    All you have to do is ask.

    For example, “Mr./Ms. Congressperson (and by the way, this would go for both sides of the aisle—as I recall, it wasn’t only GOP types who clapped), did your palm get greased by Zionist stooges to clap for Bibi?”

    Now if the answer is, “Of course not!! How dare you imply that I don’t clap because I actually want to!! (sputte, sputter)”, heh, well, then we know they’re lying.

    But if they say something like, “Well, you know, that’s a really good question. Actually, for the record, I make it a point never, ever to clap for visiting dignitaries—it’s against all my principles, everything I stand for—but in this case, what could I do? They practically shoved the money into my pocket! There’s no way I couldn’t have clapped for Bibi after that!! I’d like to see you not clap after going through something as hair-raising as that…. THEY MADE ME DO IT!! (weep, weep)” then you know they’re telling the Truth, and that Tom—I sure don’t know how he did it—has got himself a real scoop.

    (And probably a square named after him in Riyadh! Well, maybe not Riyadh….)

    In any case, I’m sure those Senators and Congresspeople will be real glad—real glad—to answer these kinds of question and get it all off their chests. After all, the Truth is what we’re all interested in getting to the bottom of!

    All of us!

    And kudos to Tom for raising this important issue, all in the interest of getting to the bottom of, well, whatever.

  • Posted by Larry Grieshop

    I respect Mr Freidmans comments about the Israel lobby on our Congress. First remember he himself is Jewish. As for his ability to comment i suggest reading his book “From Beruit to Jerusalem”. Israel is having its own problems with the “price tag” movement. The government of Israel is becoming its own worst enemy. Is Israel decending into becoming another theocracy and losing the right to call itself a true democracy? Larry Grieshop, Ohio

  • Posted by student1776

    The American left has a rosy view of the PLO and Hamas that assumes that they are basically liberal democrats wanting their own country. Reminiscent of the 1960s mistake of democrats who believed that Ho Chi Minh was like a leftist labor leader who could be negotiated with using carrots and sticks instead of the dedicated communist who would never deal that he actually was. Netanyahu sees the reality of these people, understands that they mean to annihilate Israel, and deals with them in a realpolitic way. This offends idiots like Friedman who live in a fantasy land but saves the Israeli people from the annihilation that would surely come from adopting a warm and trusting attitude in dealing with people who want them dead.

  • Posted by WigWag

    Not only is Friedman’s comment bigoted, it is factually inaccurate. In a substantial majority of U.S. House races, donations that emanate from members of the “Israel Lobby” (however that is defined) are simply inconsequential. The same thing is true for Senate races; while campaign donations from pro-Israel Americans are important, especially for Democrats, the idea that they are more consequential than donations that come from other interest groups is simply false.

    Add to this the fact that Jews make up at most two percent of the American voting public (and most of those Jewish voters are found in a tiny number of states like New York, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida) and Mr. Friedman’s allegation falls apart.

    By promoting a canard, Friedman is deliberately perpetuating an anti-Semitic trope that Jews conspire to control the United States and other governments.

    Mr. Friedman may be Jewish but his column today promotes anti-Semitic bigotry and Friedman knows it.

    Friedman should be called what he is; a hater.

  • Posted by Ruby

    In response to this comment: “Zionism must be driven to the darkest corners of American political life, where Maoists and militiamen lurk”

    For someone who knows very little about the topic, can someone explain what is so horrible about Zionism?

  • Posted by John Mullen

    The Times they are a’ changing people.

    Finally there can be a discussion about tails wagging dogs; Presidents disgracing themselves before the U.N. and the world; Congress disgracing itself with its record standing ovations and, most important, the damage done to American life and limb as a consequence of our government’s unconditional support of Likud policies up to and including instituting a racist Apartheid.

    Elliott, you’ve fought the good fight. But the lid’s been unsealed and it will finally come to pass that American policies will put American interests first. John

  • Posted by Martin Gray

    Like the other Kapos in Jewish history – Soros, M.J. Rosenberg, Beinart – Friedman joins a group more despicable then the Nazis and the Muslim Brotherhood. Tom, we get where you’re coming from, and believe me, we’ll deal with it and you in time.

  • Posted by JG Caesarea

    Friedman also writes: “And it confuses them to read Gideon Levy, a powerful liberal voice, writing in Haaretz, the Israeli daily, this week that ‘anyone who says this is a matter of a few inconsequential laws is leading others astray. … What we are witnessing is w-a-r. This fall a culture war, no less, broke out in Israel, and it is being waged on many more, and deeper, fronts than are apparent. It is not only the government, as important as that is, that hangs in the balance, but also the very character of the state.’”

    Gideon Levy is a “liberal”? Ridiculous. Levy is a radical, who has alienated many moderate Israelis.

    A “culture war” in Israel? Let’s turn the tables: Would Friedman dare seek to calumniate America for the Gabrielle Giffords shooting; for violent assaults upon abortion clinics; for Senator John Kerry’s cordial meetings with Syrian president Assad; or for Obama’s bow to Abdullah, king of Saudi Arabia, where persons are routinely convicted of witchcraft and beheaded (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2011/12/witchcraft-no-defense-for-it-in-saudi.html)? I think not. Only Israel is subject to these ongoing attacks on the op-ed page of The New York Times.

  • Posted by Ian

    60% approval rate, means almost have of the country does not approve. Billions every year in aid to what end?
    Why does Israel need our money?
    And why do people like Martin Gray (commenter above)think that it is ok to compare and make threats against a respected columnist to the nazis?

  • Posted by Alan Schleider, Neve Daniel, Israel

    Tom Friedman is at it again, writing at the top his of disingenuous game of mud-slinging fiction against Prime Minister Netanyahu.

    Firstly, the Egged bus lines in question are segregated by passenger behavior, not by law. In fact, the drivers are not permitted to enforce mandatory seating. Please see the following article from the Jerusalem Post, 12/12/11, “No news from the Front of the Bus,” http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=249167, which paints a much more realistic picture than Friedman’s patronizing pot-shot.

    Secondly, Friedman is a pot calling the kettle black. Before he ventures to criticize Israel, he should first deal with the same matter in his backyard. His very own NY Times reported on the B110 bus in Brooklyn (At Front of Brooklyn Bus, a Clash of Religious and Women’s Rights, NY Times, 10/19/11, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/nyregion/bus-segregation-of-jewish-women-prompts-review.html ).

    The New York World reported on this story on 10/25/11 (http://www.thenewyorkworld.com/2011/10/25/sex-segregation-policy-on-brooklyn-bus-line-to-end-hikind-says/) and also reported on a similar bus in Orange County on 11/04/11 (http://www.thenewyorkworld.com/2011/11/04/outside-new-york-city-sexes-separated-on-state-funded-bus/).

    Until the matter is cleaned up in New York, Mr Friedman ought turn the bow around and sling the arrows at his favorite New York politicians who have avoided the issue for decades to appease their local constituents and win their votes.

  • Posted by David Vine

    What is being missed here, in what seems largely an over-sesitive attempt to find bigotry whether it is there or not, is Mr. Friedman’s larger point, i.e., that US support of Israel seems more and more to be on the level of “my friend right or wrong.”

  • Posted by Grumpy Old Man

    @Ruby–
    American Zionists foster the illusion that the interests of Israel and the United States are identical, when this is manifestly not so.
    Zionism has driven, and continues to drive, thousands of Arabs out of their homes, steals their lands and water, and deprives them of human dignity.
    Zionism has launched several wars on its own in its region, killing thousands.
    Zionists have supported US policies hostile to the Arab and Muslim worlds, and has supported our foolish aggressive war in Iraq. Without Zionist support, it is possible this war had never happened.
    Zionists are an important pillar of support for our imperial overextension, that is bankrupting us and turning us into pariahs the world over.
    Zionists support here the very immigration policies they would never countenance in Israel.
    I could go on, but enough for one day.

  • Posted by Pete

    Tom Friedman showed his true colors and it was not a pretty sight. Much of his column sounded like it could have been written by Pat Buchanan. At least Buchanan never pretends to be a friend of Israel. Newt spoke the truth. The Palestinians were invented in refugee camps by their Arab brothers who have used them as political pawns for 60+ years. Every other group of refugees was resettled after the world wars. All except the “Palestinians.”

  • Posted by Mike

    America’s Voices in Israel tries to ensure that a large swath of right wing middle America hears a pro-Israel message via talk radio. Very effective it seems if the numbers it claims are correct.

    http://info.jpost.com/C002/Supplements/AmericasVoices/

  • Posted by Jon in NYC

    I found Mr. Friedman’s op-ed very insightful. To imply he is self-loathing because you disagree with his view is an example of why it is harder and harder to have rational discussions on the facts and move towards a solution.

    Yes, it is true that American fundalmentalist Christians are huge supporters of Israel, but the underlying reason for this support is downright scary.

  • Posted by Howard Cooper

    who voted for Friedman? how do we impeach him?

  • Posted by mazen halabi

    really ! Tom finally spoke some truth ! About time American Jews see Israel for what it is , a religious apartheid state ! it took the white in Europe over 100 years to acknowledge the racism and the apartheid of South Africa, It’s only been 60 some years for Israel. Racism eats at our souls and nags at our conscious, until justice prevails. The only crime the Palestinians’ committed to have their whole existence denied, was they believed in a different religion (sounds familiar !!)

  • Posted by Hahaha

    Hahaha! You Iraelis and Palestinians are too funny with your little feud. We laugh at you. Hahaha.

    /Scandinavia

  • Posted by rulierose

    Ruby asks:

    In response to this comment: “Zionism must be driven to the darkest corners of American political life…can someone explain what is so horrible about Zionism?

    Ruby, the “horrible” thing about Zionism is it would be good for the Jews. it’s about Jews having their own homeland in Israel and not being murdered by the millions any more.

    Newt was right about the Palestinian Arabs being an invented people. now that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a state of their own: I think they should. but they can’t have Israel! and unfortunately, that’s the state they want.

    the 1948 Partition gave both sides land. Israel took theirs, but the Arabs decided to fight instead. they lost–many times. they need to get over themselves and stop trying to rid the world of Jews and get serious about peace.

  • Posted by California Dreamer

    Rulirose says: “they can’t have Israel! and unfortunately, that’s the state they want.” I agree that they can’t have Israel, and I agree that they’d like to have it. But if they can’t have it, they’ll settle for a state of their own. They can, and should, be given such a state. And the fact that SOME Arabs are terrorists doesn’t give Israel the right to discriminate against all the Palestinians/Arabs (it doesn’t matter what you call them) who are living within their boundaries. That’s Friedman’s point, and those who are criticizing him haven’t responded to it.

  • Posted by Jon Garfunkel

    The Gallup poll you cite is from February. Things have changed since then.

    Pew/WashPost have polled attitudes on support for Israel vs. Palestinians a dozen times over the last 8 years.

    September’s poll dropped Israel support down to 40% — it had been no less than 48% in six polls over the last 5 years.

  • Posted by MethanP

    Mr Friedman has moved farther to the left in recent years. So much so that he has suggested that the USA look too China for our economic model, ignoring the problems they are having though they have a dictatorship to cover it up. The further left he moves, the more critical he becomes of Israel. Part of this is the liberals hatred for Bibi & Likud. Bill Clinton sent James Carvell and a team from his “War Room” to defeat Bibi and bring in Barak. Remember how that worked out? I don’t understand the lefts pathological hatred of Israel. But anyone who follows the MSM knows of what I speak. Mr Friedman asks for Israel to take risks for peace. I ask, with whom. You do not make peace with someone who says every single day “the only peace for you is death”.
    Tell me I am wrong. We could negotiate with the Soviets. Not Al Quida. There must be a minimal expectation that those who are on the other side of the table will keep their word. The Palestinian leadership, and not just Hamas openly say peace is the first step in conquest and extermination! So Mr Friedman, SHUT UP!

  • Posted by Priom

    Elliot Abrams, I don’t know what your trying to suggest when you say Friedman nastily refers to the Israel lobby, because he certainly in not against Jews just because he’s against Israeli policy. While I may not entirely agree with Friedman that the Congressional ovation was bought and paid for, he doesn’t owe any apology. Congress gave Benjamin Netanyahu that ovation because the Republicans wanted to stick it in Obama’s face and score a cheap political point; that’s why it happened shortly after Obama said Israel needs to make concessions to jump start peace talks. And Netanyahu gladly took that ovation because he is satisfied with the status qou of the Israeli situation; he has no incentive to start the peace talks himself. That’s why Friedman owes no apology. If anything, he deserves credit for pointing out the faults of certain Israeli policies and those who blindly support Israel.

  • Posted by Ha Giladi

    Basically B’nai Yisroel does not deserve the Moshiach and although Hashem (the Holy Books) say he will come no matter what (i.e merited/unmerited) it remains to be seen under what conditions he will come and for whom.

    Basically the Jews and the State of Israel are a repugnant bunch right now and this is from someone who is in the centrality of the frum world.

    So kol hakavod and Happy Hanukkah. Think of Hashem before you do a mitzvah.

  • Posted by Joe Ben Avraham

    By questioning Friedman’s allegations, we see the standard false arguments being posted here about Israel. For example:
    1) Israel is “apartheid”. Crikey – even Judge Goldstone, himself a South African, wrote a very eloquent opinion about how Israel is not apartheid in the slightest. (This is as opposed to statements by Palestinian leaders that they will not allow any Jews in a future “Palestine” – true apartheid, yet nobody has the courage to question them on it)
    2) The “Jewish lobby” buys the American government. Humbug! Americans first and foremost have shared values with Israel – democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and expression. Friedman fails to mention that you never see Israelis at a protest burning American flags and chanting “death to America”. Why? It simply does not happen. Americans know this and support Israel as an island of free expression in a sea of Middle East dictatorships.

    Bibi gets the applause because as Abrams states – America does indeed identify and support Israel and does not identify and does not support its neighbors, almost all of whom are hostile to America (not just Israel).

    3) There are very powerful lobbies that are more powerful, have more resources, have been at it far longer, and have more sway on the Hill than the so called “Jewish lobby”. However, none of the above comments care to mention that. Nor does Friedman, of course.

    When Americans go to the Middle East or surf the websites of Islamic countries or organizations in the region, they are greeted with threats of destruction and death. “Death to America” is the message outside of Israel, while “America is our friend and ally” is the message in Israel. Friedman, and many of the commenters here, simply ignore that reality.

  • Posted by Eliyahu

    Mazen Halabi claims Israel is a “religious apartheid state.” Halabi is projecting. Jews and other non-Muslims living under Muslim rule have been subject to the dhimmi status for more than a thousand years. The dhimma is a set of laws governing treatment of non-Muslims in the Islamic state. Dhimma stipulates humiliations, oppression, inferior status and pecuniary exploitation of non-Muslims. That’s the historical reality. In today’s reality Arabs in Israel vote in elections, hold seats in our parliament [Knesset], work as judges, professors, etc. They ride the same buses as Jews, sit and are served in the same restaurants, go to the universities, and so on. Applying the label “apartheid” to Israel is a big lie. See blog posts at links:
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2009/09/arabs-refute-big-lie-of-israeli.html

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2011/08/once-respected-french-monthly-descends.html

  • Posted by Dean Smallwood

    Any original idea Tom Friedman ever had could be written on a piece of confetti .

  • Posted by Felapton

    Friedman foresees a time in about a year when America will have to choose between engaging in a potentially nuclear war or abandoning the Israelis to extermination. There’s not much doubt which option Obama and his European groupies will want to choose. But off Manhattan Island, Americans are not so craven.

    God and Arab stupidity will protect Israel. Two infinite, eternal realities.

  • Posted by Matty

    We will never know for sure which of those clapping congressmen did it because they truly support Israel in their hearts, but we DO know that most of them need to work to keep their stream of donation checks from AIPAC.

  • Posted by Dan Friedman

    There is no fury like a pundit scorned. St. Thomas has been dead wrong about Israel and the peace process for at least 20 years. For someone with his outsize ego – and a byline – that’s an unacceptable embarassment. With the pathetic column in question he’s simply lashing out and saying “how dare you defy me?” What’s next, will he announce he’s joined J Street?

  • Posted by Jodi

    A lot of [dangerous] inaccuracies here, typical of Abrams.

    A couple of examples:

    1. Contrary to Abrams’ fantasy, Americans’ support of Israel has steadily dropped over the past 10 or so years
    2. Not once did Friedman refer to a “Jewish Lobby”, and yet Abrams seems to defend Congress’ support of Israel, in spite of being on “2% Jewish” — those 2% being “liberals”.

    I find it astonishing that anyone takes him seriously.

  • Posted by International Observer

    The assertion that 1.7% of the US population has bought Congress is outrigh anti-Semitism, stinking of Protocols innuendo.

    That the New York Times would pbulish such anti-Semitic drivel — not for the first time — makes quite evident that the rot of (Ilsamophiliac) anti-Semitism has crept from the Euroleft to the edges of the US left, and from there to the very centre of the US left, the Gray Lady herself.

    Unless the US Jewish leadership awakens to this spreading disease and fights its presence (in the media, in academia, within the Democratic Party) with all means available, then the future of US Jewry is bleak; it will eventually be reduced to the fearful, second-class citizenship the Euroleft-Euroislamic alliance has imposed upon European Jews.

    Oh, and please, please put the NYT out of business; it is beyond moral redemption.

  • Posted by International Observer

    Matty wrote, “stream of donation checks from AIPAC.”

    Matty’s inaccurate and defamatory statement should be removed from the blog; to my knowledge, AIPAC is a “Public Affairs Committee,” not a “Political Action Committee,” and so cannot and does not make direct contributions to politicians.

  • Posted by Michael

    Mr. Friedman begins his opinion piece thus:

    “I have a simple motto when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I love both Israelis and Palestinians, but God save me from some of their American friends — those who want to love them to death, literally.”

    He never cites a single instance of “American friends” of the Palestinians.

    Are we to infer from this that the Palestinians have no American friends?

    That the American friends of the Palestinians are simply rational and moderate in their embrace of Palestinian cause?

    That the cause of the Palestinians is itself inherently rational and moderate and therefore those counted as American friends cannot be faulted for loving it?

    Or possibly only those Americans deeply committed to the cause of Israel are at fault?

    If he’s angry at Newt he should blame Newt, not anyone and everyone sympathetic to Israel. But I don’t think it really has anything to do with Newt. I don’t think he ever got over the invasion of Lebanon and his view of Israel is still stuck somewhere in the 80s, much as many of those who lived through the 60s still view everything through that prism.

    In truth, I stopped reading Mr. Friedman’s opinion pieces for a while. His insights tend to be derivative, syncretistic, shallow, and generally not well grounded in reality.

  • Posted by Michael

    Jodi – please read Tom Friedman’s actual op-ed piece before commenting.

    In the middle of paragraph 7, Tom says:

    “That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby”

  • Posted by Stanley Tee

    Gee, why didn’t Tom Friedman think of it. Ask the Congressmen if they were “bought and paid for”. Here’s what one of them had to say:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 14, 2011

    CONTACT: Aaron Keyak
    office: (202) 225-5061
    cell: (202) 905-6361
    email: aaron.keyak@mail.house.gov

    Washington, DC — Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) released the following statement on Thomas Friedman’s column where he wrote that the “standing ovation [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby” in The New York Times this morning:

    Thomas Friedman’s defamation against the vast majority of Americans who support the Jewish State of Israel, in his New York Times opinion piece today, is scurrilous, destructive and harmful to Israel and her advocates in the US. Mr. Friedman is not only wrong, but he’s aiding and abetting a dangerous narrative about the US-Israel relationship and its American supporters.

    I gave Prime Minister Netanyahu a standing ovation, not because of any nefarious lobby, but because it is in America’s vital national security interests to support the Jewish State of Israel and it is right for Congress to give a warm welcome to the leader of such a dear and essential ally. Mr. Friedman owes us all an apology.

  • Posted by Harris Campbell

    You know I have read Mr. Friedman’s article many times and I can not find the words Jewish Lobby used that Mr Abrams quoted in his blog. It is not helpful to make stuff up and pass it off as a quote. To make up this phrase is to depict Mr Friedman as an anti-Semite (or a self-hater). Shame on you Mr Abrams for such an underhanded attack.

  • Posted by Mark

    Fact: Mr. Friedman used the term “Israel lobby” in his column.

    Fact: Mr. Abrams used the term “Jewish Lobby” – with quotes so as to attribute it to Mr. Friedman – in his blog post to describe Mr. Abrams’s perceived meaning of Mr. Friedman’s comments.

    Of course, the facts change nothing.

    Mr. Abrams believes that anyone who dares to question Israel, Israeli policy and politics, and/or the United States’ policy and politics towards Israel and the Middle East is either a anti-Semite, a self-hating Jew (if applicable), an opponent of Judaism or Israel or both, a devotee of Hitler and Nazism, and an object of scorn and ridicule.

    Mr. Abrams believes that Israel, Israeli policy, and the United States’ approach towards both must be always supportive and such support may never be questioned or doubted.

    Mr. Abrams is hardly the first person to embrace these viewpoints. He will not be the last.

  • Posted by Jeff Blankfort

    Yes, Friedman is frequently too full of himself in believing that he knows what is best for the planet but he isn’t stupid. What he says about the Israel Lobby and Congress is as well known in Washington as is the way to K Street.

    All one needs to do is check the website of AIPAC http://www.aipac.org to see the extent of the Lobby’s power on the hill and indeed AIPAC has frequently bragged about in fancy brochures that are distributed within the organized community and on Capitol Hill.

    On what other issue concerning US foreign policy do we see 100-0 votes in the Senate and 404-6 in the House? On what other issue do we have 3/4 of the Senate signing letters, drafted by AIPAC, demanding that the president do or not do this or that with regard to Israel? The answer is none in both instances.

    Yes, Israel is more popular among Americans than the Palestinians and that is no surprise given the Lobby’s domination of the media. What Abrams does not mention are the polls that show Israel less popular among Americans than most European countries and yet who really believes that Sarkosy would even get a single standing ovation let alone be invited to address both houses of Congress.

    So what did Friedman write this now? Because like an increasing number of Israelis and Israeli journalists he realizes that Israel is in the process of committing a political Massada, that it is moving away from what has been a democracy for Jews to fascism for everybody, embodied by but not limited to Israel’s Foreign Minister and bar room thug Avigidor Friedman and he wants both to warn American Jews (good luck, Tom!) and distance himself from the scene before it implodes or explodes.

  • Posted by David

    Nowhere does Friedman use the phrase “Jewish lobby”.

    Please correct this.

  • Posted by Ormond Otvos

    While it’s easy to say that actual AIPAC donations are small, that’s not what politicians are frightened by.

    They worry about the immense, intense campaigns behind the scenes that AIPAC mounts against those who are deemed insufficient cheerleaders for Israel.

    These campaigns are widely reported, and widely accepted.

  • Posted by Bill

    A bought-and-paid-for pundit denounces the denunciation of others as bought and paid for. Laughable–hope you can keep this act up, Abrams, it’s a good one.

  • Posted by yhwh

    Prof. Walt threw me here from foreign policy magazine. Though I liked it nonetheless.

  • Posted by David Deutsch

    If Congress responded to the will of the American people in its standing ovation of Netanyahu it would be one of the very few times in modern history that it has done so and done so effectively, as one body. That responsiveness has never been the case.

    In addition, what Americans believe is largely a reflection of what they are told by the Western media which also favors Israel. It is not an independent spontaneous love affair with Jews by any means.

    You are irritated because Friedman told the truth and that truth is painful, that the ovation was scripted, bought and paid for by the Lobby. That is an ugly charge and it is the ugly truth.

    Polls don’t mean anything: They are mirrors of the pollsters. Americans stood by and allowed 34 servicemen to be killed by Israeli attack on the Liberty without retribution. Even Johnson threw these servicemen to the dogs rather than upset the Israelis. It is ugly and it is obscene. And it is real and true, as well. Learn to love it or push back, like Tom is doing at last.

  • Posted by David Deutsch

    Elliot — get your ducks in a row. American freedom, troubled as always, is at stake and we need you to push back and push back hard.

  • Posted by jojo

    Good for Mr. Friedman for having the balls to tell the truth.

  • Posted by Eliyahu

    Tom Friedman is bought and paid for as much as anybody. He is a journalistic hack. He is paid to write all sorts of garbage, inanities, superficialities. David Deutsch above is a fool if he really believes that “the Western media” favor Israel. Rather, he is himself influenced by a pro-Arab MSM to believe the kind of crap that Friedman writes in the NYT. Think of how much dough Tom F makes from the NYT and from his books, which –in my opinion– are a crime against the trees.

    On the subject of anti-Israel media bias I suggest that Deutsch read the CAMERA website and Honest Reporting which demonstrate constant MSM falsification of what Israel does and says.

  • Posted by Adam Jones

    Mr. Abrams, you wrote that Tom Friedman “refers so nastily to the ‘Jewish Lobby’.” By the quotation marks, you attributed to him a phrase he never used. The “Israel Lobby” of course extends far beyond Jewish supporters of Israel, as Mearsheimer and Walt showed in their important book. You need to apologize to Friedman for your careless misquote of his text, and for the pernicious suggestion of anti-semitism for which it is used as a buttress.

  • Posted by Jeff Fishman

    Thomas Freidman is destined to become the next Judge Goldstone, who so desperately wanted to appear fair and objective that he totally bought into Palestinian propaganda and found fault with and reason to criticize Jews and Israel at every opportunity. By the time he saw the light, the damage had been done. A reading of the previous responses shows how this hint of an anti-semitic Jew fuels the fires of true anti-semites and Arabists. Will Friedman see the light before the next, and perhaps final, effort to destroy Israel?

  • Posted by Dean Kitnick

    Mr. Abrams, I applaud your modesty in characterizing Thomas Friedman’s latest attack as a “deeply unattractive moment.” However, so as not to mislead the reader, this moment is hardly a rarity and is not unique. Rather, it may be viewed as just one in a very long series of vulgar attacks against the Jewish Nation and its supporters.

    Friedman has described Israel as “Yad Vashem with an air force.” And, “. . . in 1975, [almost 4 decades ago] he had already identified himself with the Palestinian national cause, with apologies for PLO Terrorism ….” (See “Thomas Friedman’s Israel: The Myth of Unrequited Love,” by Jerold S. Auerbach in “With Friends Like These, The Jewish Critics of Israel,” edited by Edward Alexander, S.P.I. Books, 1993).

    Friedman’s seemingly pathological need to viciously attack the “bad” Jews and thereby promote himself as “good” reminds me of another infamous Tomás of Jewish ancestry whose twisted soul produced for Spanish Jews of the 15th century what Freidman seeks for the Jewish Nation of the 21st century. Friedman is the self-appointed, mendaciously promoted, Grand Inquisitor of Israel. He is Thomas Friedman de Torquemada.

  • Posted by neal hurwitz

    Tom should NOT have written that that way… if he has a problem with Bibi he can state that…

    Kinda dumb to write it that way Tom!

    and the ‘Israel Lobby’?… what’s that? Mearseimer and Walt??? support for Israel is very diverse and why use THAT term Tom??? Not smart. But you are from Minn. :)

    Best, Neal

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