So You Want to be a New York Times Op-Ed Columnist

I’m not saying Tom Friedman makes no sense.

I don’t have to when he makes such exquisite nonsense himself:

THESE were the main regional news headlines in The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday: “Home Front Command simulates missile strike during drill.” Egypt’s President “Morsi opts for safety as police battle protestors.” In Syria, “Fight spills over into Lebanon.” “Darkness at noon for fearful Damascus residents.” “Tunisian Islamists, leftists clash after jobs protests.” “NATO warns Syria not to use chemical weapons.”

How does a country deal with failed or failing state authority on four of its borders — Gaza, South Lebanon, Syria and the Sinai Desert of Egypt — each of which is now crawling with nonstate actors nested among civilians and armed with rockets.

No nonsense there: he’s just reporting facts. Those were the Jerusalem Post headlines, and those are four failed states (or state-like authorities). But he’s just getting started:

Bibi goes out of his way to highlight every possible threat to Israel and essentially makes the case that nothing Israel does has ever or can ever alter the immutable Arab hatred of the Jewish state or the Hobbesian character of the neighborhood. Netanyahu is not without supporting evidence. Israel withdraws from both South Lebanon and Gaza and still gets hit with rockets. But this group is called the “ideological” hawks because most of them also advocate Israel’s retaining permanent control of the West Bank and Jerusalem for religious-nationalist reasons. So it’s impossible to know where their strategic logic for holding territory stops and their religious-nationalist dreams start — and that muddies their case with the world.

There’s a real op-ed pro, boys and girls. In one paragraph, he turns the victims of indiscriminate Arab shelling and terrorism into Zionist usurpers of foreign land. Let’s watch that again in slow motion:

Israel withdraws from both South Lebanon and Gaza and still gets hit with rockets. But this group is called the “ideological” hawks because most of them also advocate Israel’s retaining permanent control of the West Bank and Jerusalem for religious-nationalist reasons.

I’ve helpfully highlighted where Friedman deviates from fact to pure, distilled idiocy. Ready so see what he does next? Hold on!

The other major school of thought here, call it the “Yitzhak Rabin school,” was best described by the writer Leon Wieseltier as the “bastards for peace.”

Rabin, the former Israeli prime minister and war hero, started exactly where Bibi did: This is a dangerous neighborhood, and a Jewish state is not welcome here.

He goes back to facts! The man’s a genius! Just when we’re about to cram the smudged newsprint under the parakeet’s perch, he pulls back from the precipice of nonsense.

You know what’s coming:

But Rabin didn’t stop there. He also believed that Israel was very powerful and, therefore, should judiciously use its strength to try to avoid becoming a garrison state, fated to rule over several million Palestinians forever. Israel’s “bastards for peace” believe that it’s incumbent on every Israeli leader to test, test and test again — using every ounce of Israeli creativity — to see if Israel can find a Palestinian partner for a secure peace so that it is not forever fighting an inside war and an outside war. At best, the Palestinians might surprise them. At worst, Israel would have the moral high ground in a permanent struggle.

Nonsense! Israel learned in its founding DNA that the moral high ground is useless if it can’t be defended from Arab genocidal tendencies. The geographical high ground—not least Golan—is preferable when it comes to “permanent struggle”.

Anyhow, why would the struggle be permanent, Tom? You’ve quoted Bibi. Why did you miss this one?

The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.

Netanyahu said that in 2006, but the line is a lot older than that.

Anyway, all Friedman has to do is quote himself:

How does a country deal with failed or failing state authority on four of its borders — Gaza, South Lebanon, Syria and the Sinai Desert of Egypt — each of which is now crawling with nonstate actors nested among civilians and armed with rockets.

Israel withdraws from both South Lebanon and Gaza and still gets hit with rockets.

“Bastards for peace.”

What if they’re just bastards, Tom? Bastards with rockets, bastards with nuclear programs, bastards with genocidal tendencies? Israel could occupy the moral Mt. Everest (who’s to say it doesn’t already?), and still be at risk of the annihilation sworn by Hizb’allah, Ham’ass, Ah’mad’inejad, and any number of clerics across the Muslim world.

The first rule of opinion writing should be the same as he first rule of medicine: do no harm. Friedman is the Qassam missile barrage of the New York Times op-ed page, firing indiscriminately at an innocent civilian population.

2 Comments »

  1. Buck O'Fama said,

    December 10, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

    I got this quote from an article about the BP spill (when King Putts was whining “Fix the damn hole”): “When it comes to solving a problem, one’s intelligence is proportional to the square of their physical distance from the problem.”

    Friedman proves its applicability to other areas of life. I wonder what his ideas o this would be if his mansion were in Tel Aviv instead of the relative safety of upstate NY.

  2. mrzee said,

    December 13, 2012 @ 12:12 am

    According to Rabin’s cabinet secretary, he would’ve cancelled the Oslo accords and deported Arafat if he had lived. But of course it wouldn’t be a Tom Friedman column if it had any connection to reality.

    http://elderofziyon.blogspot.ca/2012/12/rabin-would-have-cancelled-oslo-accords.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/PDbq+%28Elder+of+Ziyon%29

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