Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Thomas Friedman: Congress More Interested in Jewish Votes than Obama’s Iran Plan

November 21, 2013 7:54 am 23 comments

Thomas L. Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times. Photo: WEF.

Thomas Friedman, in the New York Timesdefends the Obama administration’s offering concessions to Iran and has this to say about those who disagree:

Never have I seen Israel and America’s core Arab allies working more in concert to stymie a major foreign policy initiative of a sitting U.S. president, and never have I seen more lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — more willing to take Israel’s side against their own president’s. I’m certain this comes less from any careful consideration of the facts and more from a growing tendency by many American lawmakers to do whatever the Israel lobby asks them to do in order to garner Jewish votes and campaign donations.

He’s certain that members of Congress care little about Iran and are more loyal to the almighty Jewish dollar than to their own country.

Because how can any thinking person possibly believe that giving concessions to Iran is a bad deal? It must be the Jewish money that corrupts their mindset!

Of course, Friedman admits:

If you’re not skeptical about Iran, you’re not paying attention. Iran has lied and cheated its way to the precipice of building a bomb, and without tough economic sanctions — sanctions that President Obama engineered but which Netanyahu and the Arab states played a key role in driving — Iran would not be at the negotiating table. I also understand the specific concerns of the Gulf Arabs, which I’d summarize as: “It looks to us as if you want to do this deal and then get out of the region — and leave behind an Iran that will only become economically more powerful, at a time when it already has enormous malign influence in Syria, Iraq, in Lebanon through Hezbollah, and in Bahrain.”

But our greedy members of Congress aren’t thinking that deeply. Only Friedman is, just enough to dismiss it:

I get it, but I also don’t think we’d just abandon them.

You see? Friedman doesn’t think anything bad will happen, and by gosh, that’s all anyone needs! On the basis of his wonderful track record, Congress should do what he says, not what logic dictates!

There is plenty more to criticize in this column – Friedman makes a bizarre comparison between negotiating with Iran and Israel building “more settlements.” Really. He exaggerates the Israeli position in order to pompously dismiss it: “While, Netanyahu believes more sanctions will get Iran to surrender every piece of its nuclear technology, Iran experts say that is highly unlikely.” However, Netanyahu never demanded that – no one ha a problem with a peaceful nuclear energy program. And there are plenty of other factoids that Friedman knows he can get away with, because New York Times op-ed fact checkers are not exactly known to care too much about facts.

The bottom line is, though, that Thomas Friedman is insulting hundreds of democratically elected members of Congress, essentially accusing them of disloyalty to their own country. While dismissing any real concerns about Iranian nuclear weapons and how they would affect the world.  All  in order to defend a single elected president’s inconsistent and frightening Middle East policy.

And he does it using an antisemitic “Jews control America” canard.

Elder of Ziyon is one of the world’s most popular pro-Israel bloggers. His website is


  • “Never have I seen Israel and America’s core Arab allies working more in concert to stymie a major foreign policy initiative of a sitting U.S. president, and never have I seen more lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — more willing to take Israel’s side against their own president’s….”

    All very true. Maybe Friedman should ask himself why that impressive and unlikely coalition is wrong and he is right instead of making cartoonish and incoherent observations as to why that coalition exists.

  • To show you what a fool the short and dumpy Friedman is. In one of Friedman’s books he uses the symbols of the Star and the Cross in comparison to Islam’s Crescent moon.His point how foolish it seems to normal people is that the Star of David and the Cross have sharp and inflexible angles while the Crescent moon of Islam is softer and less sharp.This is type of ridiculous equations Friedman uses to get his points across.

  • Thomas Friedman has the honor and knack of invention to turn bulls%#& into a money-making commodity.

  • Fritz Kohlhaas

    Friedman is a dangerous fool!

    • Dorothy Seidel Wigod

      You have to wonder if anybody edits his column, I mean, looks at it for possible errors of logic or coherence. Possibly even Friedman himself does not reread what he has written. If he did, he might edit himself. But, alas.

  • Friedman proves, once again, how ignorant and stupid man he is. His past global analysis have always proved to be a bunch of idiotic ideas. Now he shows his ignorance in the afairs of his own country. The “Jewish vote” and the so called “Jewish money” is no longer a facctor in American politics. The real force behind Israel in the USA are the fundamentalist Christians who dominate the politics of many States. It always easy to lash at the Jews especially if you are a jew like Friedman who is always looking for an opportunity to prove how “loyal” he is to America….

  • As it happens, Friedman is enormously wealthy, has a highly influential column in the NYT – but its those other Jews who have all the money and power ….

  • Wow. This Almond Joy has really gone off the rez.

    “Never have I seen Israel and America’s core Arab allies working more in concert to stymie a major foreign policy initiative of a sitting U.S. president, and never have I seen more lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — more willing to take Israel’s side against their own president’s.”

    I assume Tom has his strengths, but it appears math and simple logic are not among them. To begin with, if I disagree with every single person in the room, there is a strong possibility that I’M the one with his head up his rear end.

    ISRAEL and AMERICA’S CORE ARAB ALLIES oppose Ogenius’ “initiative.” What do they know, right? And given the fact that Obrainsurgeron is a “SITTING PRESIDENT,” clearly he must be right. How impossibly bizarre that Friedman would place such blind deference to a man simply because of the authority vested in him by virtue of the title he holds. “Oh, well, if it’s the SITTING PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES talking, CLEARLY he’s right and everybody else is wrong. Sorry to resort to name-calling, but what an unbelievable douche.

    You know who else is wrong? Congress. Those idiots can’t get ANYTHING right. Imagine the AUDACITY of a co-equal branch of the goverment opposing the actions of their president. Sacre bleu! Mon dieu! Holy Guacamole!

    Who else is wrong? France and other foreign governments involved who Oturnover circumvented in an outrageously disrespectful manner by SECRETLY engaging with Iranian officials behind the back of these other parties. Sounds a LOT like Ofouledout ripped a page from the book of the president’s predecessor whom THIS president lambasted for going it alone in matters of foreign policy. Which leads to the reasonable conclusion that THIS “sitting president of the United States” is a shameless hypocrite of stunning proportions.

    And nice touch throwing in the irresistable influence of the all powerful “Israel lobby.” Nothing like stoking the flames of anti-Semitism (which really need it!). Like anti-Semitic zombies around the globe, this man buys into and openly promotes a belief in the almost supernatural powers of the “Jewish lobby.” I hope the editors let this through, but what an unbelievable dik.

    Talk about a fifth column. This guy has inserted himself so far into “friendly” territory that he’s able to maneuver through its very bloodstream. This wacko is more dangerous and insidious than a dozen Al Jazeera’s. The degree of extremism Thomas Friedman routinely displays is quite literally impossible to understand. I don’t know about your definition of “irrational,” but that just about captures mine. Time to take this guy into custody and trade him for one our spies captured across enemy “lines.”

    P.S. Is he SERIOUS with all that “sitting president of the United States” nonsense? No seriously… Seriously? Wow.

  • Friedman is just a self hating PUTZ!!! He dumps on his own people and motherland just to appear to be evenhanded regardless of the right or wrong of the question!!!!!

  • I wonder whether it has ever occurred to Friedman that Obama might, just possibly might be wrong on how he is addressing the Iran situation. His position is tenable only if he believes “Obama right or wrong, but since he’s never wrong, no-one has anything to worry about.”

    Let’s hope the “deal” he gets from Iran is more credible than Obamacare.

    • Having acknowledged how Iran lied and cheated, and that not only Israel – but also the Gulf States have due concerns – the sentence “I get it, but I also don’t think we’d just abandon them” comes over as rather weak and absurd… Not to mention Benghazi, Syria etc. So Mr Friedman proposes that vulnerable nations lie down and watch their populations be existentially threatened, and then look to the Obama regime to defend them? Really???????????

    • bonnie loranger

      I totally agree with you.

  • Fat boy friedman has always been a self hating Jew!

  • Friedman works for the NYTimes…he needs to go all over the Middle East…if the man overtly favors or simply writes something nice about Israel, or criticizes Hamas, El Qaida, Hezbollah or any other Muslim pistoleros…he would not survive thirty minutes after he lands in Amman, Beirut or Teheran. News reporters interested in ME affairs are well aware of this.
    After all the heck with Israel…it’s only one of many countries in the area….and if Friedman per chance lands in Tel Aviv the odds are that he will make it to his five star hotel and back to the airport alive…..

  • Odd, my reaction was the exact opposite. I have always thought that Friedman was a neocon pro-Israel right or wrong guy, and I am pleasantly surprised to learn that he has some fair journalism in him. And Israel’s true long-term interests at heart.

    • Roger…you, like Friedman, have no idea what you’re talking about. Friedman is a terrorist-sympathizing, Israel-despising, self-hating Jew.

    • Mr Green…as early as the sixties while a student at Brandeis Mr Friedman belonged to a group called Breira..It was an anti Zionist pro Palestinian org..He hasn’t changed a whit..he is reviled in Israel and rightly so because he’s what we call a self hater, wanting to be loved…that’s what happens when you distance yourself from your DNA and become “progressive”.

      Breira (full name “Breira: A Project of Concern in Diaspora-Israel Relations”) was an organization founded to express a left-wing position on Israel. Formed in 1973, it lasted until 1977.

      Breira dissented from what it saw as the hard line Jewish organizational perspective that said there is no alternative in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War. The group took the Hebrew name Breira—meaning “alternative”—in response to the cry of ein breira, or “there is no alternative.”

      In 1973, Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf served as founding chair of the movement. In its first public statement, Breira called for Israel to make territorial concessions and recognize the legitimacy of the national aspirations of the Palestinian people in order to achieve lasting peace. David Tuilin was the vice-president, Inge Gibel was the treasurer. Rabbi Gerald Sirotta was an active member. As its national chairman, Wolf stated that the name signified, “our desire for an alternative to the intransigence of both the PLO and the several governments of Israel.” The group proposed a two state solution.[1]

      In July 1976, Spiro Agnew’s organization, Education for Democracy, labeled them dangerous and “anti-Israel”,[3] even as Agnew himself was being accused of antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment.[4] Hillel was accused of punishing employees who joined Breira.

      In December 1976, they agreed to meet with the PLO. Wolf stipulated that they meet as private individuals and that it be understood that they were not involved in any political negotiations. The initiative was supported by Jewish intellectuals Nathan Glazer and Irving Howe. Meeting representatives included Rabbi Max Ticktin and Arthur Waskow representing Breira, and the American Jewish Congress, B’nai Brith, and the National Council of Jewish Women. Waskow wrote a widely circulated opinion piece about speaking to the PLO.[5]

      Also in December 1976, the Jerusalem Post ran a story portraying the organization as supporting terrorists, whereupon many members left the group. On February 20, 1977, when Breira held its first national membership conference in Chevy Chase, Maryland, the convention was attacked by Jewish Defense League members.[6]

      In May 1977, the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism blocked two members of Breira, Wolf and Rabbi Everett Gendler, from membership in the organization’s executive council. The RA felt that the organization was giving aid to Israel’s enemies. At that time, according to the New York Times article, Breira had 1500 members.[7]

      Isaiah L. Kenen, the former American Israel Public Affairs Committee executive director, while still serving as the editor of its Near East Report, helped to label the group as “anti-Israel”, “pro-PLO”, and “self-hating Jews”. Kenen charged that Breira “undermined U.S. support for Israel”.

    • Roger, assuming that you are not being sarcastic, it is so very refreshing to hear a cool-headed remark not tinted with fanatic hate of the Jew towards another Jew. Thanks.

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Thomas Friedman has officially become an enemy of the Jews. No different than the right wing neo nazi hate speech or the insane Arab or Iranian press.

    • Amen!

    • How about when Friedman supported Sens Lieberman and
      Schumer to take on Iraq, Israel’s number one enemy.
      He wasn’t always wrong.

      • Marty:

        First of all, the Israelis didn’t consider Iraq the primary threat in 2002 and said as much. The Israelis were, howerver, gravely concerned about Iran.

        And after supporting the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, Friedman, unlike the late Christopher Hitchens, promptly changed his position.

        So, with Friedman, like a broken analogue clock, he may be right, momentarily, twice a day. Keeping him on the op-ed page is either a ploy to get lots of internet hits from angry readers or merely consistent with such practices as covering the murder of a young off-duty member of the IDF by publishing a picture of the accused murderer’s hejab and abeya-wearing mother, who is no doubt looking forward to receiving the usual stippend from the PA for her son’s murderous act.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →