I remember when I read From Beirut to Jerusalem many years ago. I thought Thomas Friedman was a naive, star-struck, American who didn’t quite get the Mid-East. I distinctly recall thinking that he was glorifying Arafat, with his rebellious facade and challenging lifestyle (he was moving around A LOT because he thought the Israelis were after him). At the same time, Friedman was going after Sharon with everything he had in his author’s arsenal. While I strongly disagreed with the Lebanon War and its evolution, I couldn’t fathom why Friedman would need to write a book where values are so twisted that the terrorist seems to receive a hagiography while an Israeli general was depicted as, well, as somebody almost as bad as a terrorist or perhaps a Nazi.
Friedman has come a long way since then. He’s won prestigious awards and writes from the pulpit of a senior ME editorial writer at the NY Times. And today he proved he is still somewhat of, well, a naive whitewasher of terrorists.
Today Friedman gave us a taste of why it’s really harmful to any debate when one tries to find moral equivalency between Israel and its Arab neighbors. He attempts to make a point that those settlers and some of their supporters in and outside of Israel who might come to assist in battling the IDF as it seeks to execute the pullout, are no different than Zarqawi’s men in Iraq who are trying to torpedo the elections, or the Fatah and non-Fatah violent factions among the Palestinians who seek to color the Palestinian leadership with their desire for blood.
By attempting to thwart democracy and peaceful moves by established leaderships, Friedman posits, these groups are undermining the rule of law.
Friedman seems to have lost his moral compass. First of all, there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between blowing up Iraqi police conscripts, or slitting the throat of a woman who has spent her lifetime helping others while living as an Iraqi with her husband and children, and protesting the pullout by throwing stones or even wearing orange stars on shirts. There is a VERY SIGNIFICANT difference between entering a restaurant or bus full of families and blowing them up to be followed by cheering and candy distribution (not to mention flying limb art shows at Palestinian universities) and attempting to disobey an order from the IDF to compel your neighbors to leave their homes.
What is wrong with people that they seek to find these parallels where they don’t exist? Do they believe that this is even-handedness and will lead to peace? It simply leads to a self-satisfied, knowing chuckle from the murderers who have turned their murders, with the complicity of dupes like Friedman, into some glorification of a war against settlers, Israel, and yes, THE USA.
Friedman rounds them up and calls the settlers and their supporters, the Iraqi murderers and the Palestinian murderers “messianic militants.” There may be some among the Israeli settler population and their supporters who would like to raise arms against their government and army, but until they do so, it is disingenuous and WRONG to lump them all together. Don’t get me wrong, I am concerned about some settlers and their supporters who are seeking to use their reading of the word of god into actions. I believe those who are promoting those actions are immoral and may be igniting a power keg. However, until they actually do something other than try to influence the political process or campaign vociferously but peacefully, they are entirely different from the other two groups to which Friedman compares them.
Political correctness run amuck!
Oh, and Friedman should stop using the name “Palestine” when referring to the PA and its damaged autonomy. If the Palestinians want to have a “Palestine,” they should learn to wage peace and accept Israel’s existence. As long as they don’t, they do not and will not have a Palestine. Giving it to them by calling their sick government, that can’t build playgrounds or parks for their children but can afford to film and broadcast child martyrdom commercials, “Palestine,” especially when they continue to maintain their physical aggression and reprehensible anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli propaganda, is to give in to the worst elements of their society and to encourage more of the same.
Must be nice to have the NY Times as your bully pulpit.