Is Tom Friedman an Anti-Semite?

Read a collection of Tom Friedman columns and after a short while, they begin to sound very familiar. Much like his fellow Times columnist, Paul Krugman, Friedman almost  never has anything new to say, so he goes back to the old standbys every few weeks spitting out pretty much the same venom directed at  those who  have not  adopted his worldview.  Krugman thinks more government spending and higher taxes on the wealthy are what are needed to solve every problem (the disappearance of the Republican Party would also help). In many of his columns, Krugman sounds almost needy, as he demands  credit for all the “insights” he has offered the world in his columns (“I was right and they were wrong about austerity, deficits, inflation,  interest rates and the size of the stimulus package!”).

Friedman thinks the world is primarily threatened by global warming and Israeli settlements. Friedman seems unconcerned, though, with his own global warming footprint, as he regularly flies first class around the globe, and relaxes in his “modest” Maryland home.  Conserving and living modestly are for the masses, not Times writers who married into enormous family money.

Friedman would be a good choice to be the new CEO of Mozilla, except that he knows nothing about the business. Of course ignorance of a subject has never stopped him from opining about various subjects in his columns.  Friedman is not a demographer, but he states as fact in his latest column that there are 2.7 million Palestinians in the West Bank , thereby supporting his thesis that Israel needs to get out of the area to preserve its Jewish character. Some Israeli demographers think that  2.7 million  number may be overstated by a million or more -- hardly surprising when the higher estimate is  based on earlier self serving numbers offered up by the Palestinian Authority and happily  lapped up by Times columnists and reporters, who seem unaware that the figure has even been challenged.

Friedman’s intolerance for those who do not agree with him, is amply demonstrated in his April 5th column on Sheldon Adelson. Friedman’s scathing personal attacks on Adelson, would insure that he would fit in nicely with the new totalitarians running the show at places like Mozilla  and OkCupid  or Chicago’s City Hall -- all of whom have been busy purging those who do not fit the accepted script for today’s progressives.

As those at the Passover Seder might say about Friedman: “Dayenu (it would have been enough for us).”  But Friedman’s April 5th column in the New York Times reveals something far more noxious than mere ignorance, though the column demonstrates plenty of that as well.  Change Friedman’s name to Friedreich, or maybe Pat Buchanan, and print Friedman’s latest piece on some paleo-conservative website, and the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center would be all over it, attacking the author’s virulent Jew hatred. In short, Friedman has shown quite clearly, and not just with this column, that he is an anti-Semite, and should be considered as such when he next opens his mouth or types a column.

Buchanan has earned his page on the ADL website with gems such as this:

"Even if his veto of the (loan) guarantees is overridden, he (President George H.W. Bush) will have won high marks for his courage, and exposed congress for what it has become, a Parliament of Whores incapable of standing up for U.S. national interests, if AIPAC is on the other end of the line." (Syndicated column, December 18, 1991)

Do you see much difference between Buchanan’s contemptible language and the words in this Friedman column from 2011:

“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.”

I guess accusing Jews of buying and selling governments is not anti-Semitic except when offered up by Buchanan.

Friedman's recent column reaches new ground  for the columnist and his employer, the New York Times.  The Times could not be bothered to  give prominent coverage to the Nazi Holocaust in Europe during World War 2, desiring not to be seen as doing any special pleading for Jewish interests.  A Cambodian massacre was easier for the Times to report, since no family owners of the paper have been running from their Cambodian  roots for a century.

Friedman pretends to be concerned about the Iranian threat to destroy Israel, and he argues in his latest piece that Las Vegas casino operator Sheldon Adelson is, in effect, doing the mullahs bidding, and is really working to destroy Israel, by standing in opposition to  Friedman’s repeated call for a two state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.  Friedman’s suggested approach is for Israel to concede to pretty much every Palestinian demand in every negotiating process . He acknowledges in the latest column that Abbas and his Palestinian Authority may not be interested in a two state solution or in ending the conflict, so he offers another time tested approach -- unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, an approach that he must think worked out well for Israel in Gaza.

Friedman, like another Times editorialist, David Firestone,  is highly agitated that Sheldon Adelson has given a lot of money to Republicans and that prospective contenders for the 2016 GOP nomination showed up for a Republican Jewish Coalition event in Las Vegas, and met with him. One might think that Adelson was, for one week, taking the place of the Koch Brothers, the only other wealthy contributors to political campaigns hated as much by the New York Times, the Democratic Party, and the left.

When Democratic Senators flocked to the home of Tom Steyer, who has advertised his willingness to spend $100 million in the midterms backing Democrats who pretend to be as concerned as he is about global warming (or at least are willing to vote for the government subsidies that make his energy investments grow), no one at the Times thought it necessary to write any scathing editorial or op ed piece, or even describe the event with the nastiness that is seemingly ingrained among Times writers when the subject is political spending by wealthy people on the right.

These are some of the words Friedman uses to describe Adelson in his latest column: “zealously pro-Israel," “trying to destroy Israel," “foolhardy magnate," “crude right wing pro-Israel extremist," “personifies everything that is poisoning our democracy and Israel’s today -- swaggering oligarchs using huge sums of money to try to bend each system to their will.” For some reason Friedman left out that Adelson has also paid to make matzah for next week’s Passover seders with the blood of Palestinian children from the occupied territories, or that he has personally poisoned the wells in Arab villages with the help of the Koch Brothers.

Friedman is certainly not unaware of the messages he is sending about rich Jews, and their attempt to control political parties and countries. He could, if he wanted, try to actually engage the arguments made by those who think the two state solution is not a solution, since the Palestinians have no interest in it and that their only goals are to seize any Israeli concessions and continue their international de-legitimization campaign. But for Friedman, it seems it is just easier to be lazy and repetitive, and rely on anti-Semitic personal attacks .

There is a long history for bilge like Friedman’s latest column. But remember that Friedman is different from those who attack Israel or its supporters because they can’t stand Jews, since he only wants what is best for Israel, if he tells you so himself.  And he knows better than the people who have fought to create and protect and  build their state what they need to do. You can read it in the Bible. I mean the New York Times.