In Thomas L. Friedman’s latest screed against the Jewish State, Israel: Adrift at Sea Alone, he begins: “I’ve never been more worried about Israel’s future.”
Now that’s an interesting idea. Thomas L. Friedman is a known Israel-basher. His columns lambaste Israel with regularity and without factual substance. Israel is an unpopular little country and Israel-haters around the world vie for material to use to slander her further. Friedman’s Israel columns are devoured long before the virtual ink has had a chance to dry. The only possible reason for Friedman to worry about Israel’s future is that without Israel, he will no longer have the topic du jour to scream about. He might even—yikes—lose his reading audience or dare I say it? His career.
Friedman’s next sentence must be analyzed in small bits of data because it is packed to the brim with untruths: “The crumbling of key pillars of Israel’s security — the peace with Egypt, the stability of Syria and the friendship of Turkey and Jordan — coupled with the most diplomatically inept and strategically incompetent government in Israel’s history have put Israel in a very dangerous situation.”
The key pillar of Israel’s security has always been the will of the Israeli people to preserve their state in spite of unbelievable odds, with Israel surrounded as it is by Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, who have all taken turns attacking the little sliver of Jewish land throughout its short history as a modern state. Israel has given too many of its fine men and women in its existential efforts to cling to statehood. This will to survive in combination with the Israeli army for its defense are the twin pillars, nay the ONLY pillars of Israel’s security. 11,125 IDF soldiers have been killed during defensive wars with the very same nations Friedman calls its “key pillars” of security.
The peace with Egypt has been a sham. The peace is a cold peace and Jew-hatred is rampant in Egypt. Witness the anti-Jewish graffiti during the Egyptian uprising and the fact that Egyptians called Lara Logan “Jew” as they sexually assaulted and gang-raped her again and again.
As for “stable” Syria, it was Syrian-supported Hezbollah terrorists who killed three Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two more during a cross-border raid into Israel, one of the events that triggered Israel's defensive war against Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, also known as the Second Lebanon War. During that war, Hezbollah fired Iran-supplied Katyusha rockets, received via Syria, into Israel. Syria has long been the puppeteer in charge of Lebanon, making sure the country would be taken over by Hezbollah terrorists with weapons aplenty with which to attack Israel.
The friendship with Turkey is hard to see when looking through the lens of actual events. Turkish politicians have used anti-Jewish sentiment as electoral platforms in recent times. Researchers at the Tel Aviv University found that the Islamic Welfare Party was a major source of anti-Jewish feeling in Turkey as late as 1997. This bountiful font of Jew-hatred extends to former Prime Minister Erbakan who displayed a very negative attitude towards Israel, and peppered his speech with anti-Jewish expressions. In February 1997, the Turkish Embassy in Washington protested against anti-Jewish statements made by Turkish officials to the media, in particular those statements contained within an article published by the Welfare Party's organ, Milli Gazete. The article stated, "... a snake was created to express its poison, just as a Jew was created to make mischief." Some friendship, Tom. Not much worse than your own, however!
The “friendship” with Jordan has also been a cold peace with very little in return for Israel’s largesse regarding the sharing of water (Israel gives Jordan an annual 50,000,000 cubic meters (1.8×109 cu ft) of water and allowed Jordan to own 75% of water derived from the Yarmouk River. In return? Wannabe Israeli tourists have been stopped at the Jordanian border on not a few occasions because their luggage contained religious items such as phylacteries.
Now let’s turn our attention to Friedman’s statement that the current Israeli government is the most “diplomatically inept and strategically incompetent government in Israel’s history.”
Since March of 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu became the first Likud Prime Minister to openly accept the concept of a “two-state solution.” He implemented a 10-month settlement freeze in Judea and Samaria, a freeze which continues de facto until today and includes East Jerusalem. Netanyahu has continually insisted that he will be happy to meet with Abu Mazen at any time or place with no preconditions (Abu Mazen has refused). Netanyahu appears ready to accept a negotiating framework in which Israel would return to the 1949 armistice lines. Netanyahu received 29 standing ovations during his speech to Congress. These facts do not support the idea of an inept diplomat and certainly not “most diplomatically inept of any Israeli government.” There is just no truth to that statement. It’s a total Friedman fabrication/fantasy.
Next Thomas says, “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.”
Oh yes. This is definitely, for the first time in this article, an instance in which Tom tells the truth. Minus the ineptitude part, that is. The U.S. government is well and truly fed up with Israel’s Prime Minister. POTUS is rumored to have repeated in agitation, “What the f**k! What the f**k!” \ during Netanyahu’s speech to Congress when Netanyahu made reference to Israel’s refusal to return to the indefensible lines of 1967, something that Obama tried to shove down Israel’s throat since Abu Mazen just won’t come to the table otherwise. How dare Netanyahu try to keep defensible lines; keep his state and his people safe while Abu Mazen wants that land Judenrein? The utter impertinence of Bibi: that seasoned politician and player in Middle East politics. Bibi’s cooperation and efforts toward peace stand in direct contradistinction to the bumbling attempts of President Obama to stabilize the Middle East which have generated only failure.
The only reason Obama will defend Israel at the U.N. is for the sake of holding onto his significant Jewish electorate, who no longer believes he is the champion of Israel (took them long enough).
As for Israel not pursuing policies in its own interest or America’s there is some truth buried within this little journalistic nugget, for many of Israel’s citizens are appalled at the idea of the failed two-state solution or offering more land for peace. Israel threw 8000 of its own citizens out of their homes with very little compensation and gave that land, Gaza, to the Arabs. In return, Gaza has been used as a launching pad from which missiles rain down on Israel’s civilian populations on a daily basis. Certainly many Israelis believe that offering further concessions is not only not in its interests but deadly. Furthermore, by offering concessions to terrorist entities, we offer them a toehold on one of America’s staunchest allies, the only democracy in the Middle East.
It bears consideration to analyze the way that Islamists receive such compromises. They see each small concession as a victory for Islam. They see those who concede or urge concessions as weak. How could pursuing a two-state solution or offering more land for peace then, be in America’s interest?
Next up: “Israel is not responsible for the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt or for the uprising in Syria or for Turkey’s decision to seek regional leadership by cynically trashing Israel or for the fracturing of the Palestinian national movement between the West Bank and Gaza.”
Ya think? Well. Here we thought Old Thomas held Israel responsible for everything bad that happened to the world since 1948. But then he has to go and ruin it: “What Israel’s prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, is responsible for is failing to put forth a strategy to respond to all of these in a way that protects Israel’s long-term interests.”
Friedman goes on to say what Netanyahu did not do in light of the crises, but fails to say what he might have done that could have any positive impact on the goings on that spread throughout the Middle East like wildfire. Personally, I can’t think of a single thing that Bibi might have done that could have helped calm down or assist our neighbors during the great upheaval. But if Tom says he could have done something, let him specify what that something might be, especially considering the virulent anti-Jewish sentiment expressed wholesale by these nations during their lovely Arab Spring. All Tom can do is quote his partner in Jewish self-hating journalism, Aluf Benn of the radical left-wing Israeli newspaper HaAretz, “Netanyahu demonstrated utter passivity in the face of the dramatic changes in the region, and allowed his rivals to seize the initiative and set the agenda.”
Nu Benn, what would YOU have had Bibi do? Waiting in watchfulness and military preparedness does not passivity make, Mr. Benn. You should know that better than anyone. And you do. But it doesn’t make good copy.
Friedman says, “What could Israel have done? The Palestinian Authority, which has made concrete strides in the past five years at building the institutions and security forces of a state in the West Bank — making life there quieter than ever for Israel — finally said to itself: “Our state-building has not prompted Israel to halt settlements or engage in steps to separate, so all we’re doing is sustaining Israel’s occupation. Let’s go to the U.N., get recognized as a state within the 1967 borders and fight Israel that way.” Once this was clear, Israel should have either put out its own peace plan or tried to shape the U.N. diplomacy with its own resolution that reaffirmed the right of both the Palestinian and the Jewish people to a state in historic Palestine and reignited negotiations.”
To use an old Yiddish saying, “What does all this have to do with the price of eggs in China?” Though President Obama has tried to create a linkage between the Arab Spring and the Middle East Peace Process to deflect blame on his own bumbling initiatives, the link remains nonexistent. The only possible link that exists between all these events is an unyielding Arab delight in violence. Violence toward its own repressive regimes, violence toward Jews, violence toward blond reporters…
There is nothing that Israel can do about the very violent nature of its surrounding Arab population but it doesn’t help that the American president and Europe look the other way when violence is perpetrated on a daily basis toward the civilian populace of Sderot.
Tom continues: “Now the U.S. is scrambling to defuse the crisis, so the U.S. does not have to cast a U.N. veto on a Palestinian state, which could be disastrous in an Arab world increasingly moving toward more popular self-rule. “
Ha! Are you kidding? Obama loves the idea of vetoing the Palestinian state which saves his electable butt from having to commute Pollard’s sentence to time served. He can wing the Jewish vote on this veto alone. How serendipitous.
Meantime, he can continue to state that Israel must stop being so stubborn about accepting Auschwitz borders while lauding Abu Mazen’s willingness to negotiate if only Bibi will stop being so insistent on staying alive, staying alive, to paraphrase the eponymous BeeGees’ song. (Bibi and the Beegees—an alliterative match made in heaven).
But Tom is not yet finished spewing his obvious and not so obvious lies. “On Turkey, the Obama team and Mr. Netanyahu’s lawyers worked tirelessly these last two months to resolve the crisis stemming from the killing by Israeli commandos of Turkish civilians in the May 2010 Turkish aid flotilla that recklessly tried to land in Gaza. Turkey was demanding an apology.”
If Tom were playing cricket, the phrasing here would have been utterly different. He would have written, “On Turkey, the Obama team and Mr. Netanyahu’s lawyers worked tirelessly these last two months to resolve the crisis stemming from the deaths of Turkish civilians who attacked Israeli naval commandos in May 2010. The commandos attempted to board the ship after a Turkish flotilla refused orders to desist from its illegal efforts to break the maritime blockade of Gaza.”
Turkey permitted its civilians to attempt to break the legal under international law maritime blockade of Gaza. Many of the Israeli commandos were gravely wounded during the incident and yet Israel, the victim, is called on the carpet to apologize to Turkey.
Did Tom see the videotape of the actual events as played out on the flotilla? Would it not be his journalistic responsibility to view those videos and review international law as regards maritime blockades? But no. Tom is not interested in the truth. He is interested in generating a wide readership. What better way to do so than to spread hatred for the Jews and Israel and then all can say, “Even Thomas L. Friedman says so, and he is a JEW so it must be true.”
Tom continues, “According to an exhaustive article about the talks by the Israeli columnist Nahum Barnea of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, the two sides agreed that Israel would apologize only for “operational mistakes” and the Turks would agree to not raise legal claims. Bibi then undercut his own lawyers and rejected the deal, out of national pride and fear that Mr. Lieberman would use it against him. So Turkey threw out the Israeli ambassador.”
Barnea, in seeming cahoots with all the other Jew-hating Jews, (Tom, Benn, et al ) has exhausted himself by doing nothing but trash Netanyahu. Of course, there are never any facts to support these creative writing exercises. In an article he entitled, “Smell of Fear,” Barnea writes of his own Prime Minister, "What does this man want, people in every world capital are asking at this time. Does he even want something, aside from returning every evening to the PM's official residence, surrounded by an army of bodyguards?"
So take his supposition that Bibi is afraid of Lieberman with a very LARGE grain of salt. Netanyahu currently enjoys wide support from Israelis who tend to be divided when it comes to these things. Netanyahu is nobody’s puppet and certainly not Lieberman’s who is a marginal force in Israeli politics, at best. Netanyahu did not offer an apology to Turkey because the people of Israel cried out against this travesty of justice. Netanyahu held firm in spite of America’s insistence that the victim apologize.
Not only is Israel the victim of the misguided attempt to break its legal maritime blockade, but as Friedman would have it, Israel is to blame for the subsequent removal of its ambassador from Turkish soil as a consequence of Israel’s defense of its men against a foreign criminal element. Those Israeli commandos landed on the flotilla armed with PAINTBALLS. How would America have handled a similar situation in which someone attempted to break its legal maritime blockade? It would have fired on the flotilla without further ado. And America would certainly not have apologized.
Tom goes on, “As for Egypt, stability has left the building there and any new Egyptian government is going to be subjected to more populist pressures on Israel. Some of this is unavoidable, but why not have a strategy to minimize it by Israel putting a real peace map on the table?”
See some of Egyptian hatred toward Israel is “unavoidable.” Is that so, Tom? Does Israel really deserve such hatred? Israel has extended the hand of peace to Egypt and Jordan, removed 8000 of its own people from Gaza after which it gave the land to the Arabs, accepted the proposition of a two-state solution and more. Why should these facts make Israel an object of Egyptian hatred?
Furthermore, why is it Israel’s responsibility to offer more than has already been offered? In fact, if Israel offers any more, there will be no more Israel.
And maybe that’s the whole point that ties this in neatly with the beginning of this blog: without Israel, where will Tom be? Without Israel, his journalism career will do a belly-smacker into the toilet.
Tom writes, “I have great sympathy for Israel’s strategic dilemma and no illusions about its enemies. But Israel today is giving its friends — and President Obama’s one of them — nothing to defend it with. Israel can fight with everyone or it can choose not to surrender but to blunt these trends with a peace overture that fair-minded people would recognize as serious, and thereby reduce its isolation.”
Oh so twisted, Tom. Your sympathy for Israel is so great that you want it to agree with Obama and go back to its indefensible 1967 Auschwitz borders. Because Obama has no other way to defend Israel except during the highly-anticipated eulogy of the Jewish state: a postmortem defense.
Israel is not fighting WITH anyone, Tom. Israel is fighting for its life, in self-defense. I would like to prove this to Mr. Friedman by having him spend a week in Sderot. Hell, I’ll even throw in room and board; transportation, too! The “serious” peace overture to which Friedman refers is the entirety of Israel, free of Jews. And then there will be no more isolation. For there will be no more Israel.
In the final act, Tom delivers a coups de gras to his nemesis—his great embarrassment—a leader who defends Tom’s own people and land, “Unfortunately, Israel today does not have a leader or a cabinet for such subtle diplomacy. One can only hope that the Israeli people will recognize this before this government plunges Israel into deeper global isolation and drags America along with it.”
To paraphrase: too bad Bibi won’t throw Israel under the bus. Let’s hope the Israeli people will stop with this ridiculous existential fight and vote in someone more tractable like Livni or Barak. Otherwise, Europe will just hate the U.S. Not to mention alienating all those oil interests. And that just can’t be countenanced. Bad Bibi. Bad.