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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Thomas Friedman, "Go Ahead, Ruin My Day": Sorry, Tom, Obama Decided the Election in Favor of Bibi

Definition of "Schadenfreude"

"A feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people."

- Merriam-Webster Dictionary

It should come as no surprise that would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman is devastated by Netanyahu's victory in Israel's parliamentary elections. What a shame! . . . not. Writing about Israel, Iran and Iraq in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Go Ahead, Ruin My Day," Friedman begins by commenting upon Netanyahu's success:

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party pretty well trounced the Labor Party leader, Isaac Herzog, in the race to form Israel’s next government. Netanyahu clearly made an impressive 11th-hour surge since the pre-election polls of last week. It is hard to know what is more depressing: that Netanyahu went for the gutter in the last few days in order to salvage his campaign — renouncing his own commitment to a two-state solution with the Palestinians and race-baiting Israeli Jews to get out and vote because, he said, too many Israeli Arabs were going to the polls — or the fact that this seemed to work.

To be sure, Netanyahu could reverse himself tomorrow. As the Yediot Ahronot columnist Nahum Barnea wrote: Netanyahu’s promises are like something 'written on ice on a very hot day.' But the fact is a good half of Israel identifies with the paranoid, everyone-is-against-us, and religious-nationalist tropes Netanyahu deployed in this campaign. That, along with the fact that some 350,000 settlers are now living in the West Bank, makes it hard to see how a viable two-state solution is possible anymore no matter who would have won."

Well, it should come as no surprise that Friedman is mistaken on all counts.

Israeli polls are notoriously inaccurate, and I am dubious whether Netanyahu's Likud Party went from a four parliamentary seat deficit to a six seat advantage over Herzog's Labor Party owing to anything Bibi said over the past several days.

But more to the point, I am not religious, I don't live in the West Bank, I believe in a two-state solution (if ever the Palestinians will accept this), and I detest the lifestyle and shenanigans of Bibi; however, I voted yesterday for the Likud for the first time in my life, albeit with a clothespin over my nose. Why? Simple. I believe that there has been a resurgence of anti-Semitism around the globe, and I am convinced that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel. When Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei tells me that he wishes to annihilate Israel, I believe him. On the other hand, I don't think that everyone is against us. Canada is not against Israel. The Czech Republic is not against Israel. Obama, on the other hand, is against Israel, as evidenced by the fact that he is willing to give Iran the unrestricted right to manufacture an arsenal of nuclear weapons within a decade.

If someone wishes to argue that Obama is not against Israel, I suggest that they ask The Los Angeles Times to release the video of Obama speaking at a 2003 going-away party honoring Rashid Khalidi. It's just not going to happen. I have always argued that Obama is a radical in moderate clothing, but with less than two years remaining of his second term, the disguise is slipping away.

So why vote this time for the Likud instead of Labor? Because Israel's back is up against the wall, and I have serious doubts whether Herzog has the gumption to stand up to Obama concerning Iran. Was I alone yesterday, voting for the Likud for reasons of survival? Not a chance, as I learned after speaking with friends at the polling station. It turns out that none other than Obama decided the election in favor of Bibi.


  1. TomF can not process a real election, not after deBlasio won the NYC mayoralty in a 23% voter participation apatheticelection that the NYT labelled a landslide/mandate!

    Congratulations to Israel for having educated, thoughtful voters who understand their democratic system so well.

    fwiw JG, there was not a clothespin powerful enough to overcome the depression of having the 'choice' to vote for either O or R in 2012. I stopped caring in 2012 although I now protest vote.
    Be glad you still have a way to still care.


  2. Ha, ha, ha, ha,
    In response to the results in Israel, Obama's main organ (the NYT) is hiring today 20 (!!!!!!) more Obama spinners. Imagine how busy you will be.

  3. Hi, Jeff. I'm so happy Likud did well. Frankly, the polls had me worried. You say you are not religious, but like it or not we are in the mist of a religious war. I am a Christian. I am serious about my faith, but when I think about why I support Israel my answer is very simple and one that I don't hear enough. We are bound together because both Christians and Jews pray to the one true God. Muslims do not, and it shows. So much of what are called "Western" values are really Judeo-Christian values. I could go on and on. Unfortunately it is a war with Christians and Jews on one side and Obama and Islam on the other. My opinion may be politically incorrect, but I'm afraid it's true. Anyway, thanks for your blog. I have learned a lot.