Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Oh my! Unpleasant news for Thomas Friedman - by Stephen M. Flatow

Does the level of the Kinneret have anything to do with the prospects for peace in the Middle East? He’d like you to think that it does.

Stephen M. Flatow..
07 September '20..

When I’m not in Israel, I don’t usually pay much attention to its weather. But an item last week about rainfall in the Holy Land caught my eye. It deserves the attention not only of geologists and meteorologists, but those who are concerned about Israel’s political and diplomatic situation as well.

The Israel Water Authority announced that there has been so much rainfall during 2020 that the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is now at its highest level for this time of the year in nearly three decades. The last time it was this high at the end of August was 1993. “Another surprising phenomenon,” the Authority reported, “is a steady flow in the Dan spring, which has increased slightly.” The Kinneret and the Dan River are two of Israel’s most important sources of water.

Does the level of the Kinneret have anything to do with the prospects for peace in the Middle East? Thomas Friedman would like you to think that it does.

Friedman has been the foreign affairs op-ed columnist for The New York Times since 1995. That means that for the past 25 years, he has enjoyed one of the most prominent and influential platforms in public discourse. Not only are his columns read by movers and shakers around the world, but he is also frequently interviewed on national television and radio shows, and invited to speak at major public forums and events hosted by Jewish organizations that should know better.

I say “that should know better” because in his writings about Israel, Friedman sometimes crosses the line in ways that would earn other pundits pariah status in the Jewish world. In 2004, he wrote that Israel “had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office.” In 2011, Friedman claimed that the standing ovations Israel’s prime minister received in Congress were “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.” In 2013, he asserted that “many American lawmakers [will] do whatever the Israel lobby asks them to do in order to garner Jewish votes and campaign donations.”

Despite those Pat Buchanan-like sentiments, Friedman has managed to maintain his status as a prominent opinion-shaper.

(Continue to Full Column)

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