Tom Friedman is an excellent writer and also a biased writer. At least as far as Israel goes. He has not change his views over the decades of the Israeli/Arab situation no matter how solid, repetitive facts proved him wrong numerous times.
We also must realize that because some one writes well, we are inclined to have an aura around them and believe they are right. There is a drastic difference between writing well and the validity of the writer’s views. But we are by nature, inclined to associate the two. The same way we associate a tall attractive man with knowledge and capabilities, even before we know a thing about him.
Most Israeli top leaders made mistakes, some of them serious misjudgments about the willingness of the Palestinians to live in peace with Israel. But Israel is not the sole obstacle to peace as Tom Friedman often asserts. He has great difficulty seeing the rocket attacks on Israelis civilians from Gaza, for example. Many Israeli decisions that he opposed were necessary to reduce the casualties of Israeli citizens and communities. But Freidman’s views do not take this into account.
He can not do it any other way. He is willingly stuck in a position that gives him fame and power and thus economic success. How? By being Jewish and finding Israel wrong in almost all cases. His notoriety is based on his continuous criticism of Israel despite being Jewish. If he would have wrote in favor of Israeli positions he would lose his so called “objectivity.” After all he is Jewish and you expect him to be pro Israel. By being Jewish and continuously finding faults in the actions of all Israeli governments and telling Israel to give more land and more freedom of movement to terrorists, he is standing, in the unaware reader’s mind, for what is “right” and “supports peace.”
He is boxed in; he can not make unbiased observations about Israel since his trademark is finding faults with most Israeli actions.
Next time you read Tom Friedman’s article criticizing Israeli policies, look carefully for the anti-Israeli terms he often uses bordering on prejudice, or more. And understand why he writes the way he does.
I rarely copy articles, but this one is so important for us grasp. As one who grew up in Israel, exposed to the good and the bad of Arab culture, it is easier for me to see the crucial elements that make the Muslim world so regressive, so soaked in internal violence. Life doesn’t not mean a thing! Observe the unstoppable murders in the “new” Iraq and in Syria. This brutal way of life murdered a quarter of a million civilians in Iraq from 2003 on, not by the war, but their inner power struggle. Some 15,000 already were murdered in Syria, and it could be much worse once they eliminate Basher’s dictatorship that stabilized Syria.
The immense atrocities one sect of Muslims inflicts on others is so hard for us to grasp, but we must in order to win the struggle in the Middle East that has been impacting our own security- terrorism financed by our oil consumption. And can destabilize the security of much of the world in the near future- Iran’s nukes.
Even India and China are fearful of potential Muslim terrorism inside their own countries and they are just side players in the global terrorism game. Russia devastated Muslim Chechnya to secure its own stability.
Peace loving Westerners rarely take the time to fully grasp the crucial differences between our way of understanding the world and that of most of the Muslim world in the Middle East.
To grasp the following, you must open your mind to thing you do not want to accept!
Existential Questions Facing the Muslim World - Harold Rhode (Gatestone Institute)
- Many parts of the world, such as Korea, China, and India - basically medieval kingdoms sixty years ago - are now among the pacesetters of the modern world. The Muslim world, however, often better off than these countries just half a century ago, has remained as it was, or has even, in many instances, deteriorated. This inertia in the Islamic world seems to stem not from any genetic limitations, or even religious ones, but purely from Islamic culture.
- Western culture is predicated on questioning: inquiring of authorities how they came to the conclusions they reached. Although in the Shiite world questioning occurs among religious authorities and the educated elite, in the Sunni world, for centuries, asking questions of those more learned or in positions of authority has been unacceptable.
- In much of the Muslim world, people are often seen not as individuals but as members of particular families, clans, tribes, ethnic groups, or religions. A problem between two people can become a problem between two families. What an individual might think personally becomes irrelevant, fostering a mindset that obstructs the analytic thinking that defines the modern world.
- The Arabic word ijtihad means using one's intellectual and reasoning capabilities to determine answers. Today's Islamic culture seems not to encourage this ability. For about a thousand years, Muslims have been asked to accept what they learn from their authority figures. The word "Islam," itself, means "submission." People are educated to memorize, not criticize.
- In Western culture, making a peace boils down to putting the past behind one, letting bygones be bygones, and moving on from there. But in the Arabic, Turkish, and Persian cultures, such a concept does not exist. If bygones can never be bygones, conflicts can never be resolved. In these Muslim lands, when one side is stronger, it attempts to subdue its ancient enemies. The culture does not permit Muslims to put the past behind them: the Internet, for example, is filled with discussions among Muslims about how they must and will reconquer Spain, which they lost to the West 520 years ago.
The writer joined the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense in 1982 as an advisor on Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. From 1994 until 2010 he served in the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment.
Copied From Daily Alert
American Jews and Israelis of all varieties argue all the time about the different ways to stop the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.. There is very little chance that we will be able to change the minds of those Jews who put all the burden of the solution on Israel. Despite all the long history to the contrary, they believe that it is incumbent on Israel to give more and more land and rights to the Palestinians who demand more and more without giving an inch and want all of the land west of the Jordan.
It is not possible to change the minds of most of these well meaning, peace loving Jews since contrary facts could not penetrate the minds of the majority of them. It is not lack of knowledge. It is a rejection of facts they do not agree with. I have tried with many American “liberal” friends, but without success. However, in Israel, the stark reality converted most “leftist” Israelis.
Most people’s beliefs can not be changed by facts. The same goes for liberal Jews. Most critical to them is to feel they are “Good Jews.” Which means: consideration to your enemy, love the stranger, and other idealistic feelings they would like others Jews to do so they can feel “good” as Jews. They often show more kindness to the enemies of Israel than to other Jews.
There are multiple reasons for this well ingrained attitude unique to Jews. Many of these Jews have marginal associated with Judaism, or, they believe they can rightfully select and chose what is useful in Judaism or may be somewhat uneasy about their Jewish association.
Obviously this is just a sketch of a multifaceted, very deep issue. For example, how much are we Jews, still living in fear deep in our souls fearful of the danger of being Jews and believe that we should not stand straight and acknowledge our Judaism with pride and satisfaction? Also, what is the impact of the Galut (miserable Diaspora) on all Jews?
It is likely that the impacts of the Jewish Galut will take hundreds of years to wash off and allow Jews to be emotionally free from fear, and the uneasiness not to “irritate the other,” or be too noticed, so we can be safer?
Another important reality is that most people, including well educated people, are strongly inclined to be very selective in the information they accept as valid.- They accept “My Side” information and reject what is not suitable to their belief. And we all do that to a variety of degrees:
“My Side” bias – the tendency to judge a statement according to how conveniently it fits with one’s settled position is pervasive among ALL American political groups.
A great deal of research shows that people are more likely to heed information that support their prior positions, and discard or discount, contrary information....
…The classroom is no great corrective for “my side” bias, at least when it comes to public policy issues.
Daniel Klein, professor of Economics George Masson Univ. - The Atlantic Dec 11, 2011
It is a waste of time to try to convince determined, liberal Jews that Israelis have the right to determine their own future. Let’s spend our passion and energy on other groups, non Jews, to convince them that Israel needs American support to continue as a free nation.
Outstanding short presentation by British Colonel Richard Kemp on the conduct of the Israeli Defence Forces -IDF- during the Gaza war.
..."The Israeli Defence Force did more to safegurd the rights of civilians in the war zone than any other army in history."
Rabbi David Wolpe loves Israel, we have been communicating about Israel for many years. He knows how to reach our soul.
Please listen to his 10 minutes talk, you will grasp the situation better and your heart will be warm with appreciation. Matania