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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another memo to Thomas Friedman

In case Tom didn't have the patience to wade through yesterday's post, I'll boil it down for him and hang my point on a news item from today:

The Egyptian student group that took a leading role in the protests that ended up toppling Mubarak... y'know, the cuddly peace-loving protesters Mr. Friedman says we should have been loudly supporting?  Well, they've just announced that if their demands are not met, they will return to the streets.

Not incidentally, one of their demands is that Egypt immediately cut off all natural gas shipments to Israel.

Yessereebob, when Thomas Friedman gets it wrong, he doesn't fool around.  He does the Full Monty.

Friedman felt that instead of staying safely out of an internal Egyptian matter, Israel should have gone in and started singing 'give peace a chance' with a bunch of people who want nothing more than to set aside the peace treaty between their country and ours.

Alex, one of yesterday's commenters, put it nicely when he said:  "Friedmann has an unhealthy obsession with Israel ... In general I find it humorous that journalists feel that they have the right to tell foreign nations how to behave."

Another blogger called 'shrinkwrapped' put up an excellent post about Friedman's Op Ed in which he said, "The Tom Friedmans of the world are much more dangerous than the honest anti-Semites.  I prefer an honest Jew hater to Tom Friedman's "more in sadness than anger" animus any day of the week".

I can say it even more succinctly:  The man's a decent writer, but a hopeless, misguided asshat who is great at giving advice... so long as there's no chance he'll have to bear the consequences for the outcome.

Posted by David Bogner on February 16, 2011 | Permalink

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For a smart man and a excellent writer, Friedman gets it horribly wrong. One of the things that the Egyptian protesters despised about the man they deposed was -- wait for it and say it with me, folks -- his support for that country's treaty with Israel. And Israel is supposed to throw a party? I thought Israel played it about as best they could; elected officials were uncharacteristically mum about it when it was unfolding.

Posted by: Ari | Feb 16, 2011 4:12:38 PM

Maybe if israel paid market prices for gas supplied by Egypt they might have a different attitude.

Posted by: Joe Donnelly | Feb 16, 2011 6:42:13 PM

He certainly has earned the epithet...
http://www.5tjt.com/international-news/9060-uncle-tom-friedman

Posted by: Barzilai | Feb 16, 2011 7:00:46 PM

Joe Donnelly... And do you know all the details of the arrangement by which Egypt supplies Israel with natural gas? Do you think they do it as a favor... Or under threat? Think about it for a moment. Nations are extremely self-interested entities which rarely enter into commercial transactions that are against their interests. Think before you type... And better yet, do a little research before you write silly things.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 16, 2011 7:40:00 PM

Joe Donnelly... And do you know all the details of the arrangement by which Egypt supplies Israel with natural gas? Do you think they do it as a favor... Or under threat? Think about it for a moment. Nations are extremely self-interested entities which rarely enter into commercial transactions that are against their interests. Think before you type... And better yet, do a little research before you write silly things.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 16, 2011 7:40:00 PM

"In general I find it humorous that journalists feel that they have the right to tell foreign nations how to behave."

I think that journalists have every right to inform an American public paying 3 billion tax dollars annually in aid to Israel of their opinions about Israel's policies. If we tell the journalists not to "meddle", perhaps we should be saying the same to the US government.

Posted by: Alex | Feb 22, 2011 11:59:47 AM

Alex ... Did you read the line you quoted? The operative word is 'foreign'. Thomas Friedman is an American journalist. He has every right to criticize the US government and tell them what they should be doing (in an Op Ed, that is). And in the case of a foreign power, he can criticize them in an OE Ed... expecially where the foreign power's actions (or lack thereof) impact the US's interests. But an American journalist has no place telling a foreign power what to do. that is the role of world bodies and world leaders. Friedman's obsession with Israel to the exclusion of nearly all other countries is, IMHO, unhealthy, and should not be misinterpreted as any sort of expertise.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 22, 2011 1:02:49 PM

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