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November 3, 2011 9:45 am

Rabbi Protests Thomas Friedman at Yale (VIDEO)

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

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was met with open hostility as he addressed students at Yale last week. The Pulitzer Prize winning author delivered a talk entitled ‘how America fell behind’ where he discussed his new book on foreign policy, co-authored by Michael Mandelbaum.

During the talk, Rabbi Shmully Hecht of the Yale Eliezer society produced a large banner reading, “With friends like Chomsky, Soros, Mearsheimer and Thomas Friedman, does Israel need enemies?” Mr. Friedman responded curtly saying “that’s Stupid.” Shortly afterward the banner was reversed to display a second message to Mr. Friedman,”Jews don’t need solutions from your 11,000 square foot Ivory tower.”

Asked what promoted his protest, Rabbi Hecht told the Algemeiner that he has been angered by Friedman’s positions on Israel, saying, “The road to peace may look straight from Thomas Friedman’s very privileged worldview in his mansion on his huge estate, but for Israelis everywhere, especially Judea and Samaria, every decision is one that literally tilts the State and her citizens towards either life or death. In the real world, Jews don’t need ‘solutions,’ Jews need safety and security in their historic homeland and reborn refuge.”

Michael Knowles, a history student at Yale who attended the lecture said that the atmosphere in the room was “intense,” “the cameras in the room turned towards Rabbi Hecht and the sign. Many fans of Thomas Friedman were in the audience, and they applauded when Mr. Friedman dismissed the sign,” he said.

“The way that he dismissed Rabbi Hecht was surprising, I would be interested to see him respond to the issues” he concluded.

At the time of publication, Mr. Friedman could not be reached for comment.

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  • Sara Springer

    Yasher Koach! Friedman is not an intellectual. He writes for the NY Slimes. Neither knows the truth when it is right in front of them. His opinions of Israel are dangerous for the State. It is life and death. You are very much in touch by naming his associates. Furthermore you did not heckle. You simply made a statement which is your First Amendment right. Perhaps you should invite someone to speak that would enlighten those in the audience who laughed. It appears that their laughter comes from ignorance.

  • risa mandell

    Rabbi Hecht:

    The tone of your voice when you say, “old lady” sounds derogatory – perhaps some ageism seeping through, sexism or just derogating those who disagree with you, as you state she thought the banner was a shanda.

  • vangrungy


    He didn’t earn it, he married it..

  • Martin Chuzzlewit

    Bravo, Rabbi Hecht.
    You acted peacefully and exercised your right to free speech…..which is better than the behavior of many on the ant-Semitic Left.

    Friedman is a phony.

  • Shomer

    Like him or not, Thomas Friedman is a well respected intellectual and deserves the right to speak without hecking (or Hechtling). Who cares how large Friedman’s house is? He earned it and built it. This story is not newsworthy and Algemeiner should be ashamed of itself for publishing it. Hecht comes off as a putz and should have been escorted out of the hall by security like those that hecked the Israeli Ambassador during his speech in California last year. Isn’t he the son of banned Rabbi Avraham Hecht who issued a Fatwa sentencing Rabin to death; Rabbi Hecht?

  • brad evans

    The fact that rabbi hecht lumped Friedman with chomsky and friends proves he is the one who is truly out of touch.

  • Friedman feels safe in his “ivory tower” and untouchable. More exposure of this impostor-friend-of-Israel is imperative.