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November 4, 2014 4:33 pm

Tom Friedman Admits: ‘No Idea’ if Palestinians Are Peace Partners

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New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman. Photo: Screenshot.

Noted New York Times columnist and author, Thomas Friedman, in an interview with Israel Army radio aired Tuesday, admitted that he has “…no idea whether Israel has a Palestinian partner for a secure peace.”

He added, however, that, despite the uncertainty, and, “given Israel’s predicament, it should be doing everything it can to test, test, test, and test again, whether it has such a Palestinian partner…”

Friedman did not mention any of Israel’s recent confidence-building gestures towards the Palestinians, including a nine-month settlement freeze, and a host of other civil and political offers to ease daily life and restart talks.

Nor did he mention ongoing Palestinian Authority (PA) – backed terrorism, and rejectionism of efforts to restart talks, vitriolic incitement in official Palestinian media against Israelis and Jews, and simply sidestepping direct negotiations in order to exploit the United Nations as a bludgeon against the Jewish state.

Friedman said that Israel’s control over 2.8 million Palestinians in the West Bank was an existential threat, and called Israel’s settlement enterprise into question.

“What is crazy to me, and is increasingly crazy to so many American friends of Israel, is why Israel would go out of its way to expand settlements into areas where it is not going to be part of a two-state solution – and making it impossible for Israel’s friends around the world to defend it – that’s flat out crazy,” Friedman contended.

Claiming that he has “great respect for Israel’s geo-strategic predicament. I have great respect for that,” Friedman said that, in the face of such a threat matrix, “Netanayhau’s response to that is, ‘therefore we should do nothing.'”

“My reaction to that is, ‘I understand why you feel paralyzed in the face of that, but doing nothing is not the right approach,” he said.

Friedman, whose regard for Israel often reflects that of the White House and State Department, said, “The Obama Administration and the Netanyahu Administration do not like each other, do not respect each other, and clearly have a dysfunctional marriage.

“And so much of it has to do with not telling the truth to each other, and Obama’s people are as guilty – and complain in private.” He continued, however, urging “if this is how you feel, say what you think. Why mumble, why curse Netanyahu in private?”

Friedman also pointed to combative statements by Israeli leaders, including Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and other officials against Washington.

“To be insulting the secretary of state, or the president – my God, does Israel have three more United States’ out there that it can rely on? Are there three more United States’ out there ready to line up if this one goes away?” he queried.

“And, by the way, do you know what’s going on, on college campuses today, with the next generation of Americans and American Jews?” he asked rhetorically, alluding to burgeoning hostility towards Israel and pro-Israeli groups at dozens of institutions.

“They’re running away from this story. Are there more United States’ out there?” he asked in exasperation.

“By 2015, the United States will be the world’s biggest oil producer. So the Middle East for us, has gone from being a necessity to being a hobby.

“And one day, you’ll wake up 10 years from now, and you’ll discover that your prime minister cannot speak at the University of Wisconsin,” Friedman concluded.

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  • Re: Israel – To whom it may concern in Europe and the US and elsewhere:

    We are tired of hearing that withdrawal from Judea and Samaria will bring peace. We know and you know that it would bring another Gaza. So stop saying it and promoting this fallacy. Past experience has proven that concessions, appeasement and land for peace only increased terror, violence and more conflict.

    We are tired of hearing that land beyond the Green Line is ‘Palestinian land’. The Green Line is simply an armistice line that has no political significance. You know this too. The San Remo Treaty of 1920 Granted the Mandate for Palestine to the Jewish people, the same Allied powers also established 21 Arab States and one Jewish State – The Arabs are not willing to give up any part of the 21 Arab States and the Jews are not willing to give up any part of the Jewish State.

    We are tired of hearing about the “Palestinian people.” They are no different from the Arabs of Syria or Egypt, from which most of their ancestors migrated in the last 150 years or so. There is no Palestinian language or religion, and until very recently they considered themselves simply ‘Arabs’. Their culture is almost entirely defined by their opposition to the Jewish state. There never was an Arab-Palestinian State or people in History. The Arab Palestinians have a State in Jordan which is 80% of the land originally allocated to the Jewish people under the San Remo Treaty of 1920.

    We are tired of hearing that “the Palestinians deserve a state.” We are indigenous here, not them, and their behavior entitles them more to a trial at The Hague than to a state. The Arab Palestinians have a State it is called Jordan which was carved out of Jewish allocated land.

    And they certainly don’t deserve our state, which is the only state they want. They already took 80% of Jewish allocated land which is Jordan. Israel also gave them the Gaza Strip.

    We are tired of hearing about ‘The Occupation’. As Minister Naftali Bennett said the other day, you can’t be an occupier in your own land. The Arabs are the occupiers, Greater Israel has been a Jewish state for 4,000 years even if it was temporarily conquered and occupied by various nations over the centuries.

    We are tired of hearing that “settlements are illegal under international law.” They are not. The San Remo Treaty of 1920 expliciptly stated that Jewish people can reside anywhere in the Mandate for Palestine, those terms are set in perpetuity.

    We are tired of hearing that “settlement construction is an obstacle to peace.” Arab rejectionism and terrorism is the reason there is no peace. When the Arab-Palestinians teach and preach hate, terror and destruction to their children, this is definitely not a road to peace and coexistence.
    By the way, we are pro-peace. We are just not pro-suicide and self destruction.

    We are tired of hearing about the 5 million (or whatever ridiculous number there are alleged to be) ‘Arab-Palestinian refugees’ or the ‘Arab-Palestinian diaspora’. There were about 600,000 Arabs that left their homes in 1948, mostly of their own volition, more or less at the same time as the 980,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries, of which the Arabs confiscated their homes and assets. We resettled ours with limited land and resources — resettle yours, the 21 Arab states have more land and resources.

    We are tired of hearing anything from anyone associated with the U.N. The U.N. is a parasitic and criminal enterprise dominated by our mortal enemies. The U.N. cannot create states, it can only recommend and so can other nations only recommend and not create a state that never existed before in history. If they want an Arab-Palestinian state, it already exists, it is Jordan which has taken 80% of Jewish allocated land.

    We are tired of stupid post-colonialist rhetoric. We are not ‘colonists’ and Arabs do not have the right to murder us in the name of ‘resistance’ or beheading Jewish Rabbi’s in Jerusalem’s Har Nof Synagogue. Talking this way reveals you as moral imbeciles. They train their children to be suicide bombers.

    You can not recognize a state and people that never existed and that has no borders, no single government, and no economy. They are not trusted by Arab states either.

    We know we can not depend on any kind of security guarantee from anyone except the Israel Defense Forces. So stop being insulted because we do not trust you. And do not ask us to give up any nuclear weapons we might or might not have or any other method and technology that could help protect us.

    We know that the left-wing parties in Israel are bankrupt of ideas. We are not going to vote for them, no matter how much you would like us to. So do not bother trying to influence our election. We will only vote for a government that protects its people and cares about the Jewish heritage, more than it cares for world opinion.

    Don’t believe what you read in Ha’aretz newspaper, they represent a minority that has no allegiance to the Jewish heritage.
    Jerusalem, undivided, is the capital of the state of Israel. Get used to it, because you can’t change it, the Jewish temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem.
    Ordinary Israelis who care about their heritage.
    Posted by: YJ Draiman

  • Jossef

    Tom Friedman, it is time you stop lecturing Israel about its “predicament”. The only reason why an American Jew like you can pretend that Israel has a true partner for peace is that your family lives comfortably and securely in New York and will never be in danger from a Palestinian attack.

  • sander

    Freedman failed to mention that the Israeli officials’ remarks were in reply to the ant-Jewish statements made by Secretary of State John Kerry and other Obama government officials.Why would Friedman support Obama’s policy that will bring about the destruction of the Jewish State?Could it be he is another self-hating Jew?

  • Wm. J. Levy

    Tom Friedman is a Brandeis U. liberal educated hater of Israel and embarrassed to be a Jew.

    That’s it in a nutshell.

    It’s the same with Wolf Blitzer who had to go out of his way to inform the US public that Tekowitz was the real name of that basketball owner who was forced to sell his team.

    Where are the strong Jews?

  • P. Nile Schwartz

    Friedman is a lickspittle for the US State Department, so very sad that one of the leading *conservative* synagogues in Atlanta is about to have this gasbag speak at their shul.

  • Yenta Press

    If the likes of Friedman were conducting their private life
    in the spirit of their “advises” to Israel, they would
    have been dead or homeless long time ago.
    As they are not, one can smell more than a hint of
    hypocrisy And stupidity coming from these people.

  • Dov meir

    Peace with the “Palestinians” is not the only one way to solve the conflict.
    Any way the balance of Israel with it’s 300 M immediat enemies is 1:50 The balance of the last 2 terrors attacks was 3:2 Deads and 24:0 wounded.
    This balance should be changed dramaticaly!!

  • mike schuman

    The “worlds leading expert” on the middle east has no idea of Palestinian intentions Instead he said that Israel is an existential threat to the Palestinian
    . How is that possible? I guess the Palest s have been attacked multiply by Israeli suicide bombers.

    • tomm

      Far from being a threat, Judean Palestinian control of the west bank of the Jordan, Judea, Samaria, produced better educated, better fed and longer lived arab palestinians.
      It would be a kindness for Israel to fulfill its obligation under the Mandate For Palestine and return Religious Tolerance and Civil Liberties to these indentured minorities.

      Israel = God Rules

  • Alan Moskowitz

    Well, Mr. Friedman,

    Israel should “….test,test,test, and test again.”

    Israel gave up Palestinian terrorists, and gave up Gaza, just to name a few that Israel gave up. And what did Israel get?

    Should Israel keep testing until its entire population is eliminated?

    Should Israel turn the cheek like Ghandi or go like sheep in front of Nazis again?

  • It is JUIs like Paul and Myra Vero who are the willing dupes of fifth-columners like Tom Friedman, NYT’s Goebbels in
    lamb’s clothing. The vile screeds that Friedman has been
    writing these past 30 years have fueled Jew hatred to an
    extreme that I think he should be brought to task for it.
    The recent murder of three-month-old Chaya, I lay at his
    desk, at his pen, the cause, conveyed via “all the news that’s UNFIT to print.” When, at last, Friedman as primary mouthpiece for that Jew-hating toilet paper, is finally shut up with it, closed, lock stock and barrel, it will be a new Jewish holiday.

  • Paul

    If there were any justice in this world, 10 years from now, Tom Friedman and the New York Times would be doing officially what they do so well now–making litter for bird cages.

  • One thing Friedman the time you spend during your College yrs are the key to your future.8or 9 yrs from now those students will need jobs.Will then see how they spent their time.Also when your in University you see things one way when your out in the real world you see things differently.That will happen to the vast majority of these anti Israel students despite Tom Friedman’s fondest hopes.
    I am happy to have had the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Military and now have a fulfilling very well paid job.

  • Lynne T

    Friedman may not have a clue, but retired Lebanese journalist Bassim Tawil does, and he doesn’t mince words.

    This is the final five paragraph summation of his recent Gatestone Institute op-ed regarding the denigration of Netanyahu by Jeff Goldberg’s unnamed source:

    “Mashaal was echoed by Mahmoud Abbas at the 14th Fatah conference. Abbas said that under no condition were Jews to be allowed into Al-Aqsa mosque or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, because any Jewish presence would defile them. On whose authority did he take possession of the Christian holy sites? A short time earlier, Abbas had even claimed that he had no intention of inciting a third intifada against Israel.

    Somehow, John Kerry has managed to link to Israel the Shi’ite-Sunni civil wars, radical Islam’s Muslim Brotherhood-inspired global plot and the creation of ISIS. Then he linked the failure of the Palestinian issue to have been resolved to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The unpopular and inconvenient truth is: if there is to be peace, Hamas has to be disarmed, the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip have to be demilitarized, Mahmoud Abbas has to recognize the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jews, and Netanyahu has to recognize the Palestinians state. Israel will then compensate the Palestinians with land in return for the land on which the three large blocks of settlements stand, as has already been agreed.

    It is not Israel but the Palestinians who are trying to avoid negotiating a final agreement. They see themselves, with the backing of the UN and Secretary Kerry — and in a final breakdown of any trust in future international agreements — as able to achieve their desired result without having to make any concessions.

    People who repeat infamies, as Kerry has done, not only encourage radicalism, they are just delaying the establishment of a Palestinian state. We do want a Palestinian state, but please only one that will provide responsible governance.”

    The whole piece is very much worth a read:

  • Rachel

    So Friedman is saying that the US increasingly cares little about the Middle East because it’s not so reliant on its oil and therefore Israel has to obey when the US says ‘Put your head on the Islamist chopping block but trust the US to make sure the axe doesn’t come down’. Not very convincing, I’m afraid, especially in view of the US’s recent record in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria. It’s better to lose a crucial ally than end up dead.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Friedman, the reincarnation of Rip van Winkle must have been asleep for many years.

    Mickey Oberman

  • Haile Stressor

    Fatuous Friedman is pontificating again: As usual he’s dead wrong.

    Now, from his comfortable desk he insists that Israel should ignore the evidence and pretend that Abbas or even Hamas is a potential peace partner: Just sweeten the offer enough and they might come around. And if they don’t? Well, Jews are used to being the target of double standards, blind hatred and genocidal assaults, so what are a few more or a few hundred thousand more Jewish deaths in the grand scheme of things? Now that his hero Obama is cozying up to Iran, he doubtless views Israel’s attitude as paranoia.

  • The Consequences of Appeasement

    The decisions made by the government of Israel since The six day war of 1967 leading up to Gaza war with Hamas July 2014, as well as those of the first ten months or so after the turnover of Gaza in 2004 began, have dumbfounded historians ever since.
    The appeasement of Israel to the Arabs-Palestinians, in particular, has been so often held up as an example of how not to deal with a rising terrorism that it has become a stereotype.
    Had Israel stood its ground and responded to terrorism or any violence with utmost force. Israel would not be facing today’s crisis.
    As many have said – appeasement, concessions and lack of proper response to terrorism is detrimental to Israel its people and the Jewish people worldwide.
    Israel under International Law has the right to build and live in Judea and Samaria, As decried by the San Remo agreement of which terms are survived in perpetuity. Any deviation or prohibition is outright discrimination against the Jewish people. As past history has proven, concession by Israel have only increase violence and terrorism.
    Israel is an independent democratic country and it must operate and run the country without being dictated how to run the country and outside interference, just like the U.S. and other countries.
    What the Arabs could not win in a war they won in playing the peace game, all the while building up arsenals and educating their children to hate and to destroy Israel. While enriching their own pockets with the billions contributed by the world to help the impoverished Arab-Palestinian.
    What a scheme – and the gullible world is buying it hook line and sinker.
    When will the World learn that the Arabs cannot be trusted, I hope before the Arabs take over Europe and than the United States and Canada.
    No one is questioning the 21 Arab States established after WWI, including Jordan’s sovereignty, a country that never existed in history before WWI and which was established on land originally allocated to the Jewish people in 1920. If you question Israel’s rights and territory you might as well question the sovereignty and territory of the other 21 Arab States set up at the same time by the same powers that set up the Jewish State.
    YJ Draiman

  • steven L

    NYT ME guru claims that his crystal ball is working no more. anymore. Probably too much sands stock on it all around.
    The Pal were/are the proxy for the Arab League who still stands for NO, NO and NO.
    What part of NO does the West not understand?
    In math, 1 + 1 + 1 = 3. Only in politics NO + NO + NO = NO.
    As long as Muslims do not get their brain free from fanatical and religious genocide, ignorance and poverty, there is NO, NO and NO hopes.

  • Mr. friedman fancies himself as the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge about Israel and the Palestinians. He has for a long time been arguing that Israel should make more concessions to gain peace. By choosing to ignore the realities of the Palestinian rejectionism he tries to make the Israelis look bad.

    Ask him how he squares the radicalization of Gaza after Israel withdrew from it and Hamas gobbled it up. Ask the dead and wounded PA members whom Hamas shot up when it came down to who would run Gaza.

    And today, the myth that there is an “entity’ with both Fatah and Hamas in it with whom Israel might negotiate is skipped by Friedman

  • Murray zedeck

    Tom Friedman is a Jew By birth and tradition but his religion is socialism as is Obama’s.

  • myra vero

    netanyahu should listen to friedman.


      Friedman is the same leftist as he was when I 1st met him as a very smug, outspoken, left-wing ideologue at Brandeis.
      He is (along with the New York Times, responsible for hostile reception of Israel on college campuses. His misreading of the Arab spring is legendary.

    • Scott Adler

      And do what, precisely?

      Considering that he works for the NYT, he has no lessons to teach.

  • Ed Clark

    I’m surprised & disappointed that The Algemeiner has stooped low enough to publish Tom “Lard-Ass” Friedman’s anti-Israel & self-hating anti-Semitic views.

    The prizes he’s won don’t impresses me as I know he’s no more than a venal deadbeat opportunist, who discovered a niche market of moronic Jews & other anti-Semites who enjoy the outrageous garbage he vomits in the press & public fora.

    Of course Lard-Ass’s views on the Middle East are compatible with those of Obama, Kerry & the rest of DC’s racist anti-Semitic scum.

    Finally, Lard-Ass Friedman’s awards for journalism are a good analogy for Obama’s ignominious Nobel Peace Prize: totally unmerited & bestowed by idiots upon other idiots whose attributes include flagrant anti-Semitism.

  • Tess

    Friedmans reasoning is since the world hates you, you owe it to them to lay down and die.

    • Paul

      Perhaps it is actually, if the world hates you, you need to try harder to succeed, rather than lay down and die

  • mika.

    Tom Friedman is a CIA propagandist. And yes, the CIA’s anti-Israel propaganda campaign on Americans college campuses has not gone unnoticed. We know exactly who is funding and sponsoring the Nazis on the campuses and elsewhere. It’s the US gov mafia. The CIA and State Department, along with their “NGOs” (what a joke that is).

    This is going to bite them in the @$$. The NYT and the rest of CIA propaganda outlets are already dead. They have ZERO credibility, and soon ZERO audience. The same will be with the NAZI/CIA college campuses and the other gov mafia institutions they support.

  • Friedman is the chief dhimmi for the New York Times
    Abbas denies the Holocaust and celebrates every time a Muslim murders a Jew. Further he reveres the sociopath Muhammad who personally decapitated 600 – 900 unarmed Jews. A peace partner? He has an orgasm every time a Muslim murders a Jew. Friedman cares as much about the Jewish people as Gertrude Stein!

    • Paul

      Maybe you are right. So, who do you suggest we make peace with ? Do you have a better candidate in mind ? Or, perhaps, you think we do not really need peace ?
      Are you part of a solution, or part of the problem ?

  • art

    This is the man who said Israel should take the “high road” abandon South Lebanon. Then Hezbouleh would have no reason to exist and would wither away. Barak listened and we know the results. Freidman advocated withdrawal from gaza. Freidman was the messenger and publicist for the saudi plan and has pushed it. He has spent 30+ yrs demanding Israeli retreat and criticizing Israel. Even now NO pressure on the pa.

  • Barry

    “What is crazy to me, and is increasingly crazy to so many American friends of Israel, is why Israel would go out of its way to expand settlements into areas where it is not going to be part of a two-state solution – and making it impossible for Israel’s friends around the world to defend it – that’s flat out crazy,” Friedman contended.

    Let me answer that for you Mr. Friedman. Israel is building on Jewish land according to the San Remo Resolutions of 1920. There has been no new laws since that override San Remo.

    The fact that the International Community feels differently may be worth noting, but let’s go back to the original documents outlining what was given the Jewish people by those who had the power of disposition at the time, and let’s talk real International Law, not the “opinions” of some and especially, to be polite, the “naive” views of your American government.

    One would hope that you don’t object to Jews building homes on Jewish land. And by the way, given that you oppose illegal building in Jerusalem, would you kindly write a column about all the estimated 40,000 illegal Palestinian dwellings in the very same area.

    Much obliged Tom.

  • Kerry Berger

    Friedman’s comments are spot on the mark.

  • rick K

    Friedman has no credibility when it comes to his opinion on Israel.
    He is completely biased, why bother to quote him, we all know what he said and will say.

    He is part of the problem and can’t see that, which makes it even worse.
    Instead of trying to find a solution, Friedman fuels the situation.

  • NCS

    This is particularly repulsive. Does the United States have three Israel’s to partner with in the Middle East? Are we so confident we can partner with terrorist countries that hate us as much as Israel? It is in the best interest of the United States to under stand and accommodate the needs of our only true ally in the Mid-East, Israel. If The U.S. turns its back on Israel, the U.S. loses. That would be very foolish no matter who wins the mid-tern elections, we must stand by Israel.

  • judithg

    there is no reason to interview this notorious nytimes azlicker. he is a faux Jew and truly nauseating,knowing that any paymaster regardless of how anti-semitic and foul can pay this puppetmouth to spout anti-Israeli crp on demand.
    my great uncles escaped czarist russia to make their way to palestine where they helped build the eventual state of Israel by draining swamps and planting forests in the sand to make the desert bloom. and defending themselves against the muslim arabs. which they did quite well without the united states or obola’s state department.
    can you imagine tom friedman, this spineless doughy slob doing that. of course not. let him keep his bad breath to himself. he’s a stench we don’t need.

  • Boo

    “‘And one day, you’ll wake up 10 years from now, and you’ll discover that your prime minister cannot speak at the University of Wisconsin,’ Friedman concluded.”

    That would say much more about the University of Wisconsin than it says about the hypothetical prime minister.

    Besides, given the long list of distinguished people who don’t seem to be welcome as campus speakers these days, the prime minister would be in excellent company.

    • True!

    • Paul

      Will it console you, if you lose all American support, that you were right ? Or, that you THOUGHT you were right? Maybe it would be better to RETAIN American support ?
      They say there was an inscription on a tombstone – “But he had the right of way”.
      This man Friedman is telling us we have a problem that we need to solve if we want to survive. And all you can do is respond, that he is saying nasty things.
      These nasty things are not a threat, they are a warning, a wake-up call.