Tom Friedman wins the award for worst single paragraph written about the Gaza war by someone who ought to know better:
The fighting, death and destruction in Gaza is painful to watch. But it’s all too familiar. It’s the latest version of the longest-running play in the modern Middle East, which, if I were to give it a title, would be called: “Who owns this hotel? Can the Jews have a room? And shouldn’t we blow up the bar and replace it with a mosque?”
This is utterly inane and shows Friedman at his most reductionist. He has this annoying habit of trying to reduce complicated issues into neat digestible concepts. What makes it especially annoying is that he does it in a smug self-satisfed way; as if to say: “Aren’t I clever?”
Here his tendency to reduce the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to three neat syllogisms founders. I was wondering when Friedman was going to get around to pontificating on Gaza. It only took him twelve days to figure out what he wanted to say as 600 Gazans died. And then when he spoke it was like a hot air balloon with all the helium drained out of it.
There is a strange bifurcation going on at the Times. The news reporting has generally been first-rate. And I say this as someone who’s been critical of Ethan Bronner’s reporting from his start a few months ago. But the editorial page has been AWOL: one editorial which pussy-footed around the issues and tried to be all things to all people. Two columns written by David Grossman and Benny Morris. The latter’s column was typically whiny and beside the point; and Grossman’s advocating a 48 hour truce was definitely not his best work. David Brooks and Bill Kristol both sprached about Gaza in their typically neocon fashion. No columns by anyone critical of the Gaza attack and most significantly nothing by an Arab, Muslim or Palestinian.
No liberal vision at all. It’s a glaring gap in the Times’ coverage. It seems to show an editorial board which is at sea and simply doesn’t know how to address this travesty. This is not the glorious (though many would disagree), comprehenvsive approach, so superior to that of the Washington Post, that I’ve come to expect of the Times on this subject.
I recall the Times’ coverage of the Lebanon War being much more sure-footed including editorials which analyzed the issues without fear or favor to the Israel lobby. I don’t know what’s happened in the interim.
NOTE: After writing this I just noticed that Nicholas Kristof has finally spoken about Gaza, including this incisive passage:
Barack Obama has said relatively little about Gaza. At first, given the provocations by Hamas, that was understandable. But as the ground invasion costs more lives, he needs to join European leaders in calling for a new cease-fire on all sides — and after he assumes the presidency, he must provide real leadership that the world craves.
Aaron David Miller…suggests…that presidents should offer Israel “love, but tough love.”
So, Mr. Obama, find your voice. Fall in tough love with Israel.
So we can at last say that one of the Times’ liberal columnists has said something decent and articulate on the subject. About time. What took them so long?
Acai Berri says
How dare you criticize David Grossman? He has made real sacrifices for Israel, ie his son. You have not.
Richard Silverstein says
Oh, Lord. You’re defending an Israeli leftist. THis is a red letter day. To hear a pro Israel advocate say nice things about Grossman is heartwarming. Unfortunately, I’ve written far more positive things about Grossman than you ever have. Which is why I’m entitled to criticize him as well. I don’t have to see my sons die for Israel in order to gain the right to criticize Israeli policy or individual Israelis. I utterly reject yr terms.
Anyone who can’t see the similarity between the Third Reich of Nazi Germany’s policies towards Jewish children of Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s and the policies of the Government of Israel towards Palestinian children today just aren’t allowing themselves to see the truth of the situation.
Palestinian children do not deserve what Israel is doing
to them. Shame on Israel. Shame on the USA Government
giving Israel the weapons to accomplish this massacre.
And; for those who can’t support Palestinian children,
remember what happened to Michael Vick because of how he treated his dogs. Open your eyes; look at the war
Israel has declared on the obviously innocent animals,
dogs, cats, horses, donkeys etc of Palestine.
Why does the USA support killing innocent Palestinian
animals and put Michael Vick in prison?
Marilyn Shepherd says
My grandfather was with 2 AIF in Gaza in WW11 where the Australian army was based. The Australian light horse was base in Palestine for WW1 and the brilliant Gazans have kept a war grave tended for Australia for 65 years now.
Imagine my horror when I discover that three leading hasbara merchants are Benjamin Rutland, Mark Regev and Guy Spilgelman who are all Australians justifying the massacre of people who helped Australia in two world wars.
Not to mention the absolute horror of what is being inflicted on the Palestinians in the name of a massive lie.
Hamas kept the peace for many months and this report shows it.
16. Networks belonging to Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades were the most prominent and
central in violating the lull arrangement. Their motivation was the desire to show themselves
as the standard bearers of the “resistance” (i.e., terrorism) and to send a message of
defiance to Hamas, their rivals, even though Fatah in Judea and Samaria renounced the
attacks.5 In certain instances the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or other organizations fired
rockets. In most instances they did not publicly claim responsibility. Such attacks were
motivated by deep internal Palestinian rivalries, especially between Fatah and Hamas, and not
responses to “violations” on the part of Israel.
17. During the first period Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire and its operatives
were not involved in rocket attacks. At the same time, the movement tried to enforce the
terms of the arrangement on the other terrorist organizations and to prevent them from
violating it. Hamas took a number of steps against networks which violated the arrangement,
but in a limited fashion and contenting itself with short-term detentions and confiscating
weapons. For example, a number of times Hamas’s security services detained Fatah/Al-Aqsa
Martyrs Brigades operatives, including Abu Qusai, an Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades spokesman,
who claimed responsibility for rocket fire (June 29). Detained operatives were released after a
short interrogation and no real measures were taken against them. However, it was clear that
throughout the first period Hamas sought to avoid direct confrontations with the rogue
organizations (especially the PIJ) insofar as was possible, lest it be accused of collaborating
with Israel and harming the “resistance.” Hamas therefore focused on using politics to
convince the organizations to maintain the lull arrangement and on seeking support for it
within Gazan public opinion (including issuing statements by its activists regarding the lull’s
David Morris says
You can see my analysis of how the Israel lobby influenced Thomas Friedman and Frank Rich of the New York Times… http://usmediaandisrael.com/?p=134