NYT’s Tom Friedman Wants to Bring Tahrir Square to Jerusalem
by Prof. Phyllis Chesler
This week, Tom Friedman more than earned his keep at The New York Times by essentially calling for the “non-violent” destruction of the Jewish State. I am not exaggerating. Wait until you read exactly what he’s written in his column: “Lessons From Tahrir Square.”
First, Friedman calls for a “Tahrir Square alternative” in terms of the ‘Israel-Palestine’” impasse.
Tahrir Square? Did the man sleep through journalist Lara Logan’s gang rape there? Does he view such a mob as “peaceful” or “non-violent?” Does he not understand that the young Egyptian Wael Gonim has, perhaps unintentionally, paved the way for the far more organized Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists to assume power? Does Friedman actually believe that the Islamist factions at war with each other and with their overlords, chieftains, and dictators, are all engaged in “non-violent” social change?
Friedman does not focus on Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi or Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa —all of whom have been shooting down their own people in cold blood in the streets. He does not call for people of good will to “nonviolently” go and face these evil men down. No. Instead, listen to Friedman’s clarion call. He suggests that we should:
Announce that every Friday from today forward will be ‘Peace Day,’ and have thousands of West Bank Palestinians march nonviolently to Jerusalem, carrying two things — an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other. The sign should say: ‘Two states for two peoples. We, the Palestinian people, offer the Jewish people a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders — with mutually agreed adjustments — including Jerusalem, where the Arabs will control their neighborhoods and the Jews theirs.”
If Palestinians peacefully march to Jerusalem by the thousands every Friday with a clear peace message, it would become a global news event. Every network in the world would be there. Trust me, it would stimulate a real peace debate within Israel — especially if Palestinians invited youth delegations from around the Arab world to join the marches, carrying the Saudi peace initiative in Hebrew and Arabic. Israeli Jews and Arabs should be invited to march as well. Together, the marchers could draw up their own peace maps and upload them onto YouTube as a way of telling their leaders what Egyptian youth said to President Hosni Mubarak: “We’re not going to let you waste another day of our lives with your tired mantras and maneuvering.”
Alright, the man’s a regular Gandhi, hand him his dhoti (loincloth). However, why doesn’t Friedman also call for an international delegation to march to Sderot to serve as human shields against Hamas rockets? Why did he never call for thousands of peaceniks to “nonviolently” board Israeli buses during the heart of the Second Intifada — a new group of Freedom Riders to give innocent Israelis freedom from savage, bloody death?
Why doesn’t Friedman call for Western supporters of the Arab Spring to swarm over Syria’s or Libya’s borders holding signs calling for Assad’s and Qaddafi’s ouster? Thomas Friedman and Hosni Mubarak both came to power in 1981(Friedman joined the Times that year).
Mubarak is now on trial for murder. Friedman should be on trial for murdering the truth. Alas, we live in America and in times in which the Big Lie is granted every academic and free speech right and the truth goes begging.
No one is less qualified to speak in support of the “Arab Spring” than Friedman who, on September 9, 2009, argued that America’s “one-party democracy” is worse than China’s “one-party autocracy.” As Martin Peretz has recently described him: “He wishes America were China, almost the way some native fascists like Charles Lindbergh wanted America to be like Germany and the way ignorant but ‘idealistic’ oodles of American intellectuals and radical Jewish immigrants wanted the country to be like Soviet Russia.”
Friedman views Israel as having “all the leverage,” as somehow capable of turning the tsunami of global Jew hatred right around. He scorns Netanyahu for refusing to use the “leverage” he now presumably has to strike a peace deal with the Palestinians. Has Friedman talked to Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, lately, or, for that matter, to his paymaster, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Has Friedman found them trustworthy, flexible, “non-violent?”
I find it chilling that Friedman calls for these “non-violent” marchers to do so “every Friday.” Is he unaware that violent jihad is often waged right after Friday Muslim religious services? Equally troubling is Friedman’s failure to understand how vulnerable Israel is geographically. Does the man even own a map of the region? Israel is vulnerable in the north (Lebanon, Hezbollah/Iran and Syria/Iran); Israel is vulnerable in the south (Gaza/Hamas/Iran and a potentially Islamist Egypt); Israel is vulnerable in the east given the “Palestinian” launching of suicide bombers from the West Bank. If, in addition, Jordan turns hostile, Israel is rendered further vulnerable and absolutely must command the Jordan Valley in order to protect Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion International airport.
What is Friedman really doing? Like Tony Kushner and many other Jews, Friedman also wants to be ahead of the curve when they come for the Jews. He wants to be the Jew who is spared because he is known for having condemned “Israeli apartheid” and the “Jewish apartheid state.” The burden of defending Israel merely by telling the truth is simply too much for the Friedmans and the Kushners to bear.
They refuse to condemn real apartheid—as it is practiced among Muslims and in Arab lands. It is far safer to condemn the Jewish State and to call for activists to “nonviolently” march against it. These marchers can be certain that Jewish soldiers will not shoot them down like dogs. They can be sure that the world and the wind will be at their backs. Were they to surge into Syria or Libya, they would be dead.
This way, they hope to avoid being beheaded, and in fact, decorated as heroes. They are not self-hating Jews. They are rank opportunists, mere conformists, extreme cowards.