Follow by Email

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "Israel’s Big Question": The Mustachioed Emperor Has No Clothes

A recent New York Observer article entitled "The Tyranny and Lethargy of the Times Editorial Page" ( by Ken Kurson, recently caused something of a sensation by highlighting the dichotomy between the excellent newsroom reporting of the Times versus the irrelevance, stupidity and lack of originality of its editorial page. Regarding Friedman, the article tells us:

"Another Times reporter brought up Mr. Friedman, unsolicited, toward the end of a conversation that was generally positive about the editorial page: 'I never got a note from Andy or anything like that. But I will say, regarding Friedman, there’s the sense that he’s on cruise control now that he’s his own brand. And no one is saying, ‘Hey, did you see the latest Friedman column?’ in the way they’ll talk about ‘Hey, Gail [Collins] was really funny today.’'

Asked if this stirring resentment toward the editorial page might not just be garden variety news vs. edit stuff or even the leanings of a conservative news reporter toward a liberal editorial page, one current Times staffer said, 'It really isn’t about politics, because I land more to the left than I do to the right. I just find it …'

He paused for a long time before continuing and then, unprompted, returned to Mr. Friedman. 'I just think it’s bad, and nobody is acknowledging that they suck, but everybody in the newsroom knows it, and we really are embarrassed by what goes on with Friedman. I mean anybody who knows anything about most of what he’s writing about understands that he’s, like, literally mailing it in from wherever he is on the globe. He’s a travel reporter. A joke. The guy gets $75,000 for speeches and probably charges the paper for his first-class airfare.'"

Friedman is a "travel reporter" and a "joke"? How can this be? Obama reads him!

Well, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Israel’s Big Question" (, Friedman declares:

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not without reason, is asking the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the “nation state of the Jewish people,” confirming that if Israel cedes them a state in the West Bank, there will be two-states-for-two-peoples. But, for Netanyahu to get an answer to that question, he will have to give an answer to a question Israelis have been wrestling with, and avoiding, ever since the 1967 war reconnected them with the heartland of ancient Israel, in the West Bank, known to Jews as Judea and Samaria. And that is:

'What is the nation state of the Jewish people?'

Kerry, by steadily making the answer to that question unavoidable, has set the whole Israeli political system into a roiling debate, with some ministers shrilly attacking Kerry and slamming Netanyahu for even putting the question on the table — as if the status quo were sustainable and just hunky-dory."

Of course, Friedman again makes a point of ignoring the fact that according to none other than Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, Israeli settlements have been built on only some 1.1% of the West Bank (see: Friedman also makes certain not to mention that in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offered Palestinian Authority President Abbas an independent state along the 1967 lines with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem, Abbas refused.

Several years earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Barak similarly offered to withdraw from 97 percent of the West Bank and tear down 63 Israeli settlements. In exchange for the settlements that would remain part of Israel, Barak said he would increase the size of Gaza by a third. Barak also agreed to Palestinian control of much of East Jerusalem, which would become Palestine's capital, and Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Arafat, however, also refused.

How does Friedman write an op-ed about Israeli intransigence without mentioning the Barak and Olmert peace proposals?

Friedman is indeed a "joke" and a poor one at that.

1 comment:

  1. Rhetorical question: Why haven't any of these photos (in the attached links) appeared on the pages of The New York Times?
    and here: