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February 5, 2015 5:53 pm

Why is Thomas Friedman Worrying About Antisemitism?

avatar by Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn

Email a copy of "Why is Thomas Friedman Worrying About Antisemitism?" to a friend

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman warned that if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Congress then "antisemites will claim Israel controls Washington." Photo: Charles Haynes.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who has repeatedly claimed that Israel controls Washington, is warning that if Israel’s prime minister addresses Congress next month, “antisemites will claim Israel controls Washington.”

Does Friedman really believe that? Or is he cynically using Jewish fears of antisemitism to stir opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?

In an emotion-laden Feb. 4 column, Friedman mustered every argument in his arsenal against the invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. It would be “churlish,” “reckless,” and even “dangerous,” Friedman thundered. He revealed that he has “polled many of [his] non-Jewish friends…and they don’t really like this.”

The notion that non-Jews dislike the invitation is one of the major arguments of Friedman’s column. He cites it again and again, most notably when he declares that if Israel’s prime minister goes ahead with the address, “antisemites, who claim Israel controls Washington, will have a field day.

Yet it is Friedman himself who has repeatedly given them that field.

Recall, for example, his New York Times column of Feb. 5, 2004, in which he wrote that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has “had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office…surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, by a vice president, Dick Cheney, who’s ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates…”

To make sure that nobody missed the implications of a Zionist conspiracy, Friedman added that Sharon, Jewish lobbyists, Cheney, and unnamed “political handlers” were “all conspiring to make sure the president does nothing [regarding Israel].”

Friedman raised the Jews-control-Washington canard again in his Dec. 13, 2011 column in the Times. Furious that Prime Minister Netanyahu received 29 standing ovations–from Democrats and Republicans alike–when he addressed Congress that year, Friedman wrote: “I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

In his Nov. 19, 2013 column in the Times, Friedman did it again. “[N]ever have I seen more lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — more willing to take Israel’s side against their own president’s,” Friedman declared. “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.”

So, let’s see: Friedman has America’s president “surrounded” by Zionist conspirators; Congress is “bought and paid for” by Jewish lobbyists; and “many” Members of Congress will “do whatever the Israel lobby asks them.”

Now Friedman warns that if Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses Congress again, that will cause antisemites to say that Israel controls Washington!

There are two possible explanations for this remarkable contradiction. The first is that Friedman has simply forgotten what he has written in the past on the subject. That’s implausible. Which leaves only the second explanation–Friedman knows full well what he has written in the past, but he assumes most readers won’t remember, so he can get away with contradicting himself.

But what is at stake is much more than the contradiction between Friedman’s past columns and this one. What he is doing is consciously, and very cynically, playing the Fear of Antisemitism card. He assumes many American Jews are so terrified of what antisemites might say, that he can use that fear to intimidate them into opposing the Netanyahu invitation.

Friedman’s assumption is an insult to American Jewry. Perhaps an earlier generation of immigrants or children of immigrants would have been so nervous about their status in America that they would have let such fears cloud their political judgment. But this is 2015. Today’s American Jewish community consists largely of those who marched proudly for Soviet Jewry, who are not ashamed to support Israel, and who are not embarrassed by their Jewish identity. Fear of what some antisemite somewhere will say is not going to determine what position they take on the issues of the day.

So who is doing more to foment antisemitism? Prime Minister Netanyahu and House Speaker John Boehner? Or New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman?

The authors are president and chairman, respectively, of the Religious Zionists of America, Philadelphia, and candidates on the Religious Zionist slate in the World Zionist Congress elections. This article was originally published by the news website.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • David

    With Jews like Shlomo HaMelech, who needs “Thomas Friedman”?

  • ..

    Bernhard Rosenberg Our so called leadership is afraid of their own shadows. There is a fear of loss of job and being attacked in the media. I can not blame most for being silent or just plain joining liberal causes so they can look good. My life has not been an easy one. I speak out and am often ridiculed. So be it. If only the Jewish leadership had not listened to Rabbi Wise, our relatives might still be alive.

  • Roz Shorenstein

    Correction to my post: it should read “nuclear Iran”(not nuclear-free Iran)

  • Roz Shorenstein

    Bret Stephens’ recent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal (“A Speech Netanyahu Must Give”, Feb. 3, 2015) gets it right and is the polar opposite of Friedman and other liberal appeasers. Ignoring anti-Semitism and the awful reality of a nuclear-free Iran will not make these nightmares go away. Do you ever wonder why European politicians appeased Hitler? Or that “assimilated” educated Jewish Germans weren’t more vocal about the erosion of their lives under fascism? Why did the New York Times during World War II suppress reports coming from Europe about the Nazi death camps? Sounds like a tradition for the New York Times to glorify Arabs and write biased “news” about Israel. Has fearing to speak/act against hatred and injustice ever accomplished anything? Maybe it’s time for Jewish grandmothers like me to unite against the idiocy of liberal men who write columns like Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen!

  • Wm. J.Levy

    Friedman is a Brandeis U. educated and no doubt has grown up with the share everything I have with my enemies so they’ll like me.

    He may be smart but he is a self-hating Jew.

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    Thomas FRiedman does not understand that Anti Semitism does not need a reason but rather an excuse. Mr. Friedman was one who boasted of the many friends he had among the Arab population, Perhaps he drank the anti semitic brew with his Arab friends. It would be nice if Friedman converted and attacked the JEws from the outside instead ofboring from within like a termite.

  • I do not understand why anybody still listens to this fraud, Friedman. As we have always been told, going back 65+ years, there is vast Jewish conspiracy, which is in control of the banks, show business, Wall Street, etc.

    this is the true import of Friedman’s gibberish. why pay attention to him?

  • Michael

    Thomas Friedman is spot-on right. Algemeiner crazies: get over it.

  • South Florida

    And what will anti-semites say if Netanyahu does not address Congress? Their repertoire doesn’t vary.

  • We do not need Thomas Friedman.Let him join the others on the top floor of the New York Times.

  • Richard

    Stop blaming the messenger. If you read the comments sections to the various New York times articles about the Netanyahu speech, you will see what he is talking about. One person after the next comments that there is Israeli or Jewish control of the U.S. government and/or wants to cut or reduce relations with Israel. I doubt that it is only New York Times readers who think that way.

    • Paul Leber

      Evidently, Richard, you are unaware that the validity and accuacy of an inference depends critically upon the representatives of the sample upon which it is based. In turn, the representativeness of a sample depends almost entirely upon the manner in which the sample is selected. The collection of leftist ideologs and anti-Semites offering comments endorsing the tendentious views of Tom Friedman, Roger Cohen and others who wirte for the NYT cannot in any way be deemed a representative sample of Americans. Furthermore, the views of those offering comments on the articles that appear in the NYT are highly unlikely to be representative of the views of its typical reader. In sum, Richard, what you’ve written makes no sense whatsoever!

      • Richard

        I regularly read New York Times comments sections and the comments I saw in regard to the Netanyahu – Obama flap were unsettling to say the least. I am aware of statistics, sampling, etc. and I am also aware that statistics can be manipulated or based on biased assumptions. I am not saying that the New York Times comments section is some kind of valid statistical sampling. All I can say is that based on what I read, I was taken aback. You can ignore all the comments if you like. I will not ignore the comments.

  • Julian Clovelley

    The big mistake always seems to me to imagine a massive Zionist conspiracy aimed at ruling the world. I don’t so much find the imagined conspiracy incredible as daft. You’d have to be half potty to believe in its existence.

    Zionism seems to me to have a far more limited agenda which it pursues with almost equally incredible stupidity and incompetence. Nothing to me more evidences the non existence of the major conspiracy than the incompetence of the minor agenda

    It is particularly unfortunate that Zionism relies of archaic religion and mythology as both motivation and justification – neither being particularly efficient tools for creating and preserving anything other than confusion. Even worse it adds to that a persecution mania that regards every scrap of opposition to their loonier ideas as “antisemitism”

    I would like to believe just one thing – that I might live long enough to see a saner world – one in which the prevalence of mental illness everywhere received top priority and proper treatment

    Till then the imagined and real conspiring will continue with the untreated paranoids and psychopaths and those living in GaGa land wrecking the planet for those of us who just want to get on with life – sharing the prosperity and beauty the world has to offer.

    Who wants people to be poor anyway, or persecuted, or vilified? I think it is better to be friends. I am saddened by ideologies that say we can’t be – and religions that say we shouldn’t Meshugana the lot of them


  • Pierre Elie Mamou

    great text: reminding the words of a man without memory is the best way to reveal his stupidity

  • Ilbert Phillips

    The New York Times and Thomas Friedman are pathetic. They have an anti-Israel agenda and will do anything to promote it. They are simply said. Does he really care what anti-Semites think? He is clearly stuck in stupid.

  • Boris Kapilevich

    Thomas Friedman can hide his preconceived opinion, but anyone can
    feel and understand his despicable and cynical attack causing damage to Jews and our only country-Israel. He is very well paid for his immoral work by” “New York Times”.

  • What is always fascinating but at the same time very disturbing is anti-Jewishness coming from a Jew.

    The six Jewish Congress people lambasting the Israeli Ambassodor to the United States Mr. Dermer regarding the Prime Minister’s visit in March to address a joint session of Congress about a nuclear Iran.

    Unfortunately, there are Jews who have much more faith and “hope” in their Progressive ideology then they do for their religion.

  • Paul

    Is there really doubt in ANYBODY’s mind that anti-semites WILL have a field day if Netanyahu addresses Congress in direct confrontation with the President and the Democrats ?
    Even about half the Israeli public are against this.
    Is anybody who objects to this reckless and dangerous ploy automatically an anti-semite or anti-zionist ? (Or, to read the comments, an ass, an idiot, a self-hating jew ? Is anyone who sees things differently than the right-wing automatically a non-person ?)

    Is it dangerous for Israel ? Certainly it is. There have been military situations in the past where only the good will of the US President helped us out of very difficult situations.
    If us Israelis are as clever as we would like to think ourselves, I am sure BIBI could find a way (IF he wanted to) to present Israel’s legitimate concerns WITHOUT doing so by creating a DIRECT CONFRONTATION with the President, and creating a new rift in Israeli relations with the President AND half the Congress. Israel has always had bi-partisan support in Congress. BIBI may destroy that by his present actions.

  • Elmo Glick

    He’s the New York Times’ resident anti-semite. Jewish anti-semites are the most dangerous kind, because they legitimize the hate for everyone else who might be deterred from engaging in bigoted behavior for fear of being labeled anti-semitic. People like Friedman make it all easier for other haters to hate.

  • I declared my self a Zionist over 50 years ago whe religious Zionism was interested in peacee and social justice not every inch of land. I have some 16 years of Jewish education from Yeshiva Ketana Through YU and Bar Ilan. I have no repect any longer for the blood thirsty positions of so many Orthodox Jews wo have no idea who harmful their positions are to Eretz Hakodesh and Am Yisrael. I still consider myself a Zionist and have risk my life a number of times from the Six Day War onward in the defense of the Jewish State.

    Not withstanding I agree with nearly everything ascribe to Thomas Friedman in this article.

    What a waste of Smeicha. Has he not heard of mitzvot bein ada l’chavero or doesn’t he thinks it applies to Jews who love Israel enough to be mochiach tochiach b shearim umb’rabim.

    To Jews who call others with the stupid and childish term “Self Hating Jew” if their is such a Jew it usually is the the one who is calling another Jew with the term.

    Let me reply to that immature and childish indivifual with another childish poem: I am rubbber you are glue, what you say to me bounces off me and sticks to you. Does it make you feel bad. I bet he is chareidi and so is the so called rabbi who calls another Jew ass and thinks that he is bringing upon himswlf kavod rather then zilzul. I would even be willing to bet tzvantzik tuller that both are Chabad.

    Do you realy think that it makes an impression on or hurts the feelings of the person you are calling with childish name calling. Grow up!

    As for the Jewish Press which for many years I and my parents zichronam livracha use to subscribe to. It has simply become a propaganda sheet for those who love holy dreirt more than redefas shalom and ahavas chayim. So sad that this is Orthodox Judaism today. What disrespect for our Torah or is it just misunderstanding. I am sure they probably stiill shlug kaporas. You do need kaporas but first you need charata.

  • racy

    Someone tell Thomas Friedman that I, too, polled non Jews on the upcoming address of Netanyahu to Congress and they can’t wait for him to come. Netanyahu is the Churchill of our time and many, many

    Congressional leaders, including prominent Democrats are awaiting his
    speech. Friedman is, has always been, and will always be a blatant anti Semite. I think, it would be wise for him to become a Muslim . He won’t be criticized for being the self hating, neurotic Jew that he is. I wonder what went wrong in his family structure

  • In class once I said,If a radio preacher in Canada morally judges homosexuality he and all his money will end up in court. My student said that he would have the right to speak, except that if he did the “crazies” out there would start talking about “killing the fags.” My student in effect transferred his own resistance to that message into the hypothetical “crazies” who might dangerously enforce it. Friedman transfers his own dislike of the Jewish state into a hypothetical threat from anti-semites. He argues for the prohibition, but shifts the blame from self to others.

  • steven L

    The NYT is more and more an image of itself: ANTISEMITIC!

  • steven L

    Obama will pass but TF is already “Passe” (French)means he is history! with an accent on the e.

  • BuckDePublick

    Miserable KAPO!

  • Sonia Willats

    Why is BHO so opposed to this lecture by Bibi at Congress and stirring up Democrat Congressmen to boycott the event? Because it underscores his over-riding Congress and sanctions?

    Is Bibi’s etiquette so lacking? I watched Channel 2 (Mako) yesterday and Herzog proudly announced that he has frequent discussions with the President of America on the red phone. Is that etiquette?

    I gather BHO has sent an advocacy group names ?V15 or something similar to assist in the “anyone except Bibi campaign.” Is that diplomatic etiquette?

    And, whilst we are on the subject: Is the Hertzog-Livni camp, that are claiming the title the “Zionist Camp” actually the Zionist camp, OR ARE THEY THE HELLENIST CAMP? By Herzog’s proud admission (and I heard a similar undermining comment from Lapid once) the left is THE HELLENIST CAMP.

  • Allan Fritz

    I thought Friedman was Jewish. I resent his liberal view of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Positions. He is as Conservative as I am. His brother died in the attack on Entebee. I think Israeli’s know a bit more about fighting than the liberal press!!

  • Uriel

    Is this man Jewish? With a name like that he probably is. If so, he is a self-hating lickspittle. If not, he is a damned antisemite. In either case he is despicable.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    With Jews like Friedman, who needs anti-Semites?

  • Efram

    Friedman, of course. Perhaps, seeing the tsunami of Antisemitism erupting in Europe and, to a lesser extent in the US, he is actually afraid? Maybe, finally, he realizes that his own self hatred would not have stopped Hitler from gassing him as well, and deep down inside realizes that it COULD happen again, and he would be such a victim.

    Self-hating Jews. Are there lower people on G-d’s earth?

  • Mickey Oberman

    Of course it controls Washington.
    It whispers orders into Obama’s big floppy ears and tells him how to destroy Israel and how to behave like a professional boor.
    It also writes his speeches and tells him what a wonderful golfer he is.
    It instructs him to place Muslims in all government institutions and all schools and even the US military.
    It is his driving force.

  • judithg

    tom friedman is too craven and cowardly and timid to be a Jew. mr. friedman would do us all a favor, himself included, if he would convert to something else. anything else. and, change your name, friedman, so you won’t be taken for Jewish. in every other regard, tom friedman, is a lump of flesh that stinks badly. please rot faster, sir.

  • Mr Friedman has lost the most important and crucial quality a journalist must have, Integrity. The New York Times and Mr Friedman are apologists for the Obama administration. This attempt to prove that Pres Obama is correct in denying a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu due to the upcoming Israeli election is bogus. However, if there are antisemitic protests Obamas’ decision can be looked at as reasonable and thus give the President some wiggle room. Of course there will be protests, antisemitic or otherwise. They have already heard the clarion call from NYT and Mr Tom. Remember When Israel built their fence, Tom Friedman said it was a terrible idea, meanwhile Israeli lives have more protection.

  • Algemeiner,
    The RZA really has Tom Freidman figured out well.
    The alarm Tom sounds is not the one of truth and reason.

    Rather it is the whimper of self degradation and insecurity!

    How can a sophisticated journalist be so self delusional?
    How may a good writer with so much experience twist and bend the logic of clear thinking?

    The answer is “follow the money” the self interest of self preservation has made Tom’s writing
    tragicly off the mark and completely erroneous.

    I suppose the term “self – delusional”
    is best utilized on Tom .

    What a shame of wasted talent and op/Ed space.

  • Thomas Friedman is no more antisemitic than Gertrude Stein.

    • Benny Zable

      It is a real shame Friedman, is so out of touch with reality!! Who gives a damn what certain people are saying
      He should try an see what is going on, gee some of his non Jewish friends are concerned about PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU TALKING TO the american congress!!! THANK GOD .
      Israel has every moral right to destroy there enemies once and for all

  • david freilich

    Friedman is the poster child example of a self hating Jew…..

  • Jewish right to live in peace throughout Israel must be enforced

    Why as a Jew does the world think it has a right to torture me? Israel was created to prevent this. Yet on my home soil someone thinks that he has a right to torture me because I am a Jew. Israel of all places in the world should be my sanctuary especially because its the Jewish official state for all Jews. Is it because I am a Jew that I deserve missiles to be thrown upon me? Is it because I am a Jew that another Jew has the right to prevent me from praying to my God on the Temple Mount?

    Many Jewish souls died in the Diaspora and continue to die including in Israel for the sole reason that they are Jews. Their fate was in the hand of their leaders. They deserved so much more then being murdered just because they were Jewish. We do not want to repeat the Holocaust again. Nor the expulsion of over a million Jews from Arab countries.

    Israel must learn to secure the safety of every citizen under its roof. Enough of trying to be the advocate for the these extremists evil people within the Arab-Palestinians. Israel is the home of the Jewish people. It is written in all of the holy books, the bible and history books, including archeological excavations in Israel, International treaties and laws.

    Enough of trying to accommodate the Arab-Palestinian people that thrive on hate and destruction towards me as a Jew. Israel must be strong and extremely strict in enforcing its laws and sovereignty. Hamas should have been destroyed, just like any other enemy of Israel who wants to destroy her. Order must be restored in the Gaza.

    The Arab-Palestinians in the west bank (Judea and Samaria) thinks they can torture me because I am a Jew. They commit daily terror and violence in Israel in the name of Islam. Enough is enough. The time is not for revenge but for law and order with a clear message to Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen, and his P.A. that these terror and violence acts are his responsibility. If he cannot stop it, Israel will have no alternative, but to take appropriate action to stop terror and violence. Moreover, Hamas the terrorist organization must be eradicated once and for all.

    I am a Jew and I deserve to live in peace in my own country without threat and intimidation. I expect the respect and protection that is due to me especially by my Jewish leaders. All Jews must learn to respect each other no matter their religious practice or opinion. A unified Israel is a strong Israel.

    Among others, I blame the government of Israel for not taking a far, far stronger stand. There is no alternative but denial of citizenship, and deportation, of everyone who is an avowed enemy of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. People will say this is extreme. I say, the situation is extreme. Living with one million plus potential and actual murderers of our men, women and children is extreme.

    How do we know who is an enemy of the State? Anyone who has participated in any act of aggression against Israeli Jews (stone throwing, rioting, vandalizing Jewish cemeteries and holy places, attacks on Jews) is an enemy of the State. Furthermore, the families of these enemies of the State; the schools that teach hate and the destruction of Israel; and anyone who engages in anti-Israel hatred and violence in words or acts, must be treated as enemies of the State.

    I also blame, of course, the anti-Semitism of the rest of the world, including the US government (President, staff, and the State Dept), and certainly the EU and the UN, whose extremely biased condemnation and pressures have stopped Israel from taking the necessary steps to protect itself. Steps which any other State of the world would be obligated to take and has taken without criticism and condemnation.

    The never ending and continuance of violence against Israel and its’ citizens must come to an end. How many more of our beautiful people, young and old, must be sacrificed on the altar of the world’s anti-Semitism and our own fear of appearing too self-interested?
    If ever there was a time for self-interest, it is now.

    The Israeli government needs to learn from previous mistakes that ingratiating to the biased international media and to the Arabs only strengthens the Arab resolve and brings more bloodshed and bullying. No one has said a word about Egypt bombing Gazan houses and building a wall because Egypt doesn’t give a damn and everyone knows it. Israel needs to have the same attitude and do what is good for its’ people for a change. This will garner more respect, not less. Bullies prey on the weak.

    As for Gaza it will now become solely Israel’s problem and the government will probably be dumb enough to accept the problem as their own. Israel created the Arab-Palestinian people and an idea of an Arab-Palestinian state and now they will probably take responsibility for the people of Gaza to please the world. Makes you sick, does it not!
    The Arabs keep demanding the West Bank – Judea and Samaria as their new State. They also fail to inform the world, that the Arab states expelled over a million Jews from their countries, confiscated all their assets, businesses, homes and Real estate (120,000 sq. km. 5-6 times the size of Israel, valued in the trillions of dollars) most Jewish refugees from Arab countries were resettled in Greater Israel.

    The Arab-Palestinians have a state, it is called Jordan, which about 75% of its citizens are Arab-Palestinians Jordanian citizens and possess a Jordanian citizenship. While the British as trustee for the Jewish people managed the Mandate for Palestine, the British violated the trust and created The State of Jordan for the Arabs in the early 1920’s. The British took about 80% of Jewish allocated land which included most of the east Bank of the Jordan river under the San Remo Treaty of 1920 which adopted the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and gave it to the Arabs, in violation of the treaty.

    The Arab-Palestinians do not want a state, they have to date and are only interested in the destruction of Israel. Their Charters, Schooling and Media (brainwash) educates and promotes hate, terror and violence towards the Jewish State. An Arab-Palestinian State would have to act responsibly and abide by world criteria of a responsible state, which they cannot adhere to.

    YJ Draiman


    How many holidays do the Arabs celebrate due to historical events in the land of ancient Israel. The Jewish people celebrate most of their holidays and fast days in memory of and the goal and aspiration to return to Israel and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem – where it was before it was destroyed and desecrated by the enemies of the Jews. Many of the Jewish prayers for thousands of years recite the love of Israel and the Jewish aspirations to return to their ancestral land and bring back its glory and holiness.

    • Finally, a person speaking sense! I totally agree with Dreiman, and wish to thank him/her for expressing, intelligently, that which I believe to be the truth. word.

  • Bernard Ross

    Friedmann and the NYT are obama/soros lapdogs. I long to read in the news that he is suffering from a very painful disease.

  • Abraham

    Sadly, Thomas Friedman is a self hating Jew.He has done much to create an atmosphere of contention with those whose world view is different.He care very little for the state of Israel.

  • Rabbi Yakov Lazaros

    Thomas Friedman is an ass.

    • Okey

      I would use the word abomination.

      • He is a true disgrace; but why should we be surprised? he writes for the N.Y. Slimes.