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American Jews Come Around to Israel’s Failings

Introducing the Friedmometer

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(Ye Olde Tablet Photoshoppe)

Politico’s Ben Smith periodically tracks “right-of-center conventional wisdom about Obama” with a device known as the Brooks-O-Meter (invented, it should be noted and disclosed, by Friend-of-The-Scroll Avi Zenilman). In extremely severe debt to that, we inaugurate the Friedmometer, which tracks left-of-center conventional wisdom about the state of peace in the land between the river and the sea.

The line in today’s column that’s caused the largest brouhaha controversy, with Elliott Abrams weighing in and then having to fight in his own comments, is, “That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.” But more to the point is Friedman’s vidui-like litany of Israel’s sins:

It confuses them to read that Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia last Wednesday, was quoted as saying that the recent Russian elections were “absolutely fair, free and democratic.” …

It confuses them to read that right-wing Jewish settlers attacked an Israeli army base on Tuesday in the West Bank, stoning Israeli soldiers in retaliation for the army removing “illegal” settlements that Jewish extremists establish wherever they want.

It confuses them to read, as the New Israel Fund reports on its Website, that “more than 10 years ago, the ultra-Orthodox community asked Israel’s public bus company, Egged, to provide segregated buses in their neighborhoods. By early 2009, more than 55 such lines were operating around Israel. Typically, women are required to enter through the bus back doors and sit in the back of the bus, as well as ‘dress modestly.’ ”

It confuses them to read a Financial Times article from Israel on Monday, that said: “In recent weeks, the country has been consumed by an anguished debate over a series of new laws and proposals that many fear are designed to stifle dissent, weaken minority rights, restrict freedom of speech and emasculate the judiciary. They include a law that in effect allows Israeli communities to exclude Arab families; another that imposes penalties on Israelis advocating a boycott of products made in West Bank Jewish settlements; and proposals that would subject the supreme court to greater political oversight.”

And it confuses them to read Gideon Levy, a powerful liberal voice, writing in Haaretz, the Israeli daily, this week that “anyone who says this is a matter of a few inconsequential laws is leading others astray. … What we are witnessing is w-a-r. This fall a culture war, no less, broke out in Israel, and it is being waged on many more, and deeper, fronts than are apparent. It is not only the government, as important as that is, that hangs in the balance, but also the very character of the state.”


Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir [NYT]
Related: Introducing the Brooks-o-Meter [Ben Smith]

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I have a good idea for Marc and for Tom Friedman. Stop relying on Haaretz as your one source of news in Israel. If you can’t read Hebrew you can read the English version of Yisrael Hayom. It gives a much better view of what the average Israeli thinks. Haaretz is not only extreme left, and increasingly unread, it has usually proven wrong in it’s editoral stands.

I know it’s an article of faith among the under 30 set that Thomas Friedman is a fatuous, bloviating bore deserving of mockery, but he has been saying the same thing for just about thirty years, starting at a time when Walt and Mearsheimer were cheering on the American War machine in Operation Desert Storm. This, for example, is a paragraph of his from June 17, 1990:

“This leads to a second point of difference. Both the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships have consistently been cushioned by outside money and diplomatic support – the Palestinians from the Arab world, the Israelis from America. So they rarely have to face the full consequences of their most extreme actions. The P.L.O. chairman, Yasir Arafat, will be financed by the Arab countries whether he practices terrorism or condemns it. If Mr. Shamir’s Government builds more settlements in the occupied territories it will likely receive $3 billion in aid from Washington, and if it doesn’t build more settlements it will receive $3 billion in aid.”

Lansing Reed says:

By bashing Israel, Tommy gets admitted to all of the best faculty parties and feted by the same Saudis who execute “witches.” Don’t forget, this is the same person who was a Yassir Arafat butt-boy back in the 70s.

This is just a variation on the old story – “I’m a good jew, not like those others, so please Mr.German/Arab/Commissar (as appropriate) don’t hurt me!” Spineless and pathetic.

Here’s another paragraph of Friedman’s from May 14, 1995:

“Mr. Dole’s cynical flip-flop on Jerusalem to pander for Jewish votes is sickening enough. But he’s not alone. Aipac has decided to make the Jerusalem issue an urgent priority — more than the peace process — because it is fighting for membership with more hard-line Jewish organizations and is trying to outflank them by outdoing them on Jerusalem. Israel’s right-wing Likud Party, working through its handmaidens in Congress, is also pushing this issue, as a way to embarrass Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who wants the embassy move postponed so as not to derail talks with the Palestinians.”

Perhaps Monsieur “suck on this” Thomas Friedman should finally come round to his own abject failings.

But I would not hope for much.

Jules, if we’re interested in what Salon posts, I’m sure all of us are capable of using the navigation bar to get there. Get a mind of your own.

Roy what you are capable of is purely I’m sure a deep matter between you and your own capabilities. These readings are for the public who are free to read their contents or not. Your concern trolling has most sincerely been appreciated. Good day.

On the other, Jules, maybe you are better off quoting others.


ben Dish says:

Jules is a classic troll.

for Zlota says:

Is all the relentless Israel bashing a ploy to get us confused American Jewish types, (such as myself,) to snap to attention and become totally annoyed into supporting Israel?

If one cannot take unto one’s self legitimate criticisms, it really sums up to one answering some real questions put to one, or simply putting up and shutting up. I’ve heard not a thing but childish whines of other directed blame. The unexamined life is always one of fervent emptiness.

MonkFish says:

Even a cursory examination will show that Jules does indeed conform to the typical behavioural patterns of the Troll:

– Fanatical fixation on one issue (the evils of Israel/Zionism in his case).

– Excessive use of hyperlinks to bolster an argument that is rarely, if ever, articulated.

– Extreme scarcity of original thought.

– Liberal use of abuse, invective, slander and other unsubtle forms of attention-seeking.

All of which are indicative of an atrophied sense of self and very low self-esteem. I suspect he’d be much happier on Youtube where such behaviour is par for the course. But the Troll is a creature of habit. I prescribe benign indifference. Once starved of attention the Troll will lash out for a while, but eventually move on…

brahmsian says:

Im not sure why ultra O support of gender segregation has anything to do with the peace process – many of them are anti-zionist, and those of them who do not boycott Knesset elections typically vote for parties willing to support Labour in exchange for shekels for their yeshivas.

If this were really about the peace process it would not include that. That it does, suggests its just more diaspora kvetching about an Israel that isnt “like us” – We’ve been seeing that a lot lately from the center left (see Peter Beinart who is making a career of it – a good way perhaps to forget his support of the Iraq war) It used to be more from the center right (they are too secularist, they are too socialist, etc).

As for Gideon Levy, he’s hardly a mainstream center left commentator, even by Haaretz standards. He wouldnt be happy with a Kadima govt, or a govt led by any mainstream Avodah figure.

wrong. these leftist jews are wrong and we will find with time that their ideas, solutions and prognostications will be relegated to the garbage pail of history where they belong.

Three out of four psychiatrists remind us not to forget that Friedman is certifiable.

Allan Leicht says:

I have been waiting over two thousand years to be revolted by Mr. T. Friedman. Thank G-d, Israel will now be there for him “when you have to go there, they have to take you in. ” (R. Frost ).

Beatrix says:

Israel now has a left, right and center that disagree with each other, instead of everyone being on the left, which made them kind of tipsy.

I’m certainly not happy with the fact that some woman are segregated on buses, but these woman live in a democracy and choose to belong to a religion that segregates them. If they start picketing the males over this, I will support them.

But why would you interfere in someone else’s religious beliefs when cruelty isn’t involved and the people themselves are not complaining?


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American Jews Come Around to Israel’s Failings

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