Follow by Email

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "Sheldon: Iran’s Best Friend": Tom, Israel's Worst Enemy

As you are no doubt aware, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid recently went on record as decrying the conservative billionaire Koch brothers as being "un-American" (see:

Well, not to be outdone by Reid in his vilification of the ultra-rich, Thomas Friedman, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Sheldon: Iran’s Best Friend" (, has kindly taken it upon himself to label Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson "foolhardy," "crude," "extremist," and someone who "personifies everything that is poisoning our democracy and Israel’s today." Alleging that both Adelson and Iran are "trying to destroy Israel," Friedman begins his opinion piece by observing that Iran is seeking to annihilate Israel, but not by way of war:

"Iran’s leaders want Israel destroyed but have no desire, in my view, to use a nuclear bomb to do it. That would expose them to retaliation and sure death."

Good to have Tom's expert view, but he first might want to have a glance at the following 2014 Iranian simulation of a nuclear attack against Israel:

Friedman goes on to say:

"Israel’s 47-year-old occupation of the West Bank has led it to build more settlements there and in doing so make itself look like the most active colonial power on the planet today. The 350,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank reinforce that view by claiming their presence in the West Bank is not about security but a divinely inspired project to reunite the Jewish people with their biblical homeland."

Apparently unbeknownst to Friedman, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has acknowledged that Israeli settlements have been built on only some 1.1% of the West Bank (see: After 47 years, this is the extent of the occupation by the "most active colonial power on the planet today"? But why should Friedman concern himself with facts? They only get in the way of his opinions.

Finally turning to Adelson, Friedman writes:

"And now Iran has an ally: Sheldon Adelson — the foolhardy Las Vegas casino magnate and crude right-wing, pro-Israel extremist. Adelson gave away some $100 million in the last presidential campaign to fund Republican candidates, with several priorities in mind: that they delegitimize the Palestinians and that they avoid any reference to the West Bank as 'occupied territories' and any notion that the U.S. should pressure Israel to trade land for peace there.

. . . .

Adelson 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."

Sorry, but this is just plain stupid. Israel does not need to be pressured to trade land for peace. Israeli prime ministers Barak and Olmert both offered land swaps for peace with the Palestinian Authority, and Arafat and Abbas both refused their offers.

The ironclad guiding principles of Palestinian Authority President Abbas are to be found in a declaration he made to Jackson Diehl in 2009 (

"'I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,' he said. 'Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.'"

In fact, nothing has changed for Abbas over the past five years, and this logic, premised upon survival, still guides Abbas, who is in the tenth year of his four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority.

In the West Bank the Palestinians have a "good reality"? How peculiar! That's not what Tom is telling us! But then a swaggering omniscient Tom knows better than Abbas and all the rest of us combined.


  1. You are right o point out the multiple myths and spin shared by the NYTimes, the Obama PR machine and Abbas. And these disingenuous fables are disseminated and regurgitated until they are taken as common truths.
    They are warped fables. The bottom line is very simple.
    It would be possible to make a peace agreement. The two sides, Israeli and Palestinian need only to want to sit down and discuss the key issues: security, land, land swaps. All the rest, settlements, access etc are the suffixes to the issue. "Right of return" is used as a defence mechanism by the Palestinians against making any deal. Good will, serious intent on the part of the Palestinians would result in a two state reality. It would not include Gaza whose fate is rightly as part of Egypt. More space should be given to thinkers like Giora Eiland whose approach is creative and constructive.

  2. It's good that you highlight that quote of Abbas' in the Diehl column of 2009. An unscripted moment to be sure.

    Many people have effectively realized this as that is the natural interpretation of someone who runs from generous offers. But the explanation carries much more weight coming from his own lips.

    Abbas has got a good gig -- all the upper-echelon do -- diverting Euro-money into private coffers. No need to rock the boat unless he is forced.