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Monday, March 29, 2021

NYT's expert on Middle East smacked down

The Algemeiner, a Jewish publication in New York, smacked Tom Friedman so hard, his face was swiveling like Daffy Duck's bill.

Friedman is the New York Times's triple-Pulitzer winner who presents himself as an expert on the Middle East. He is invariably wrong.

He talks a lot about the Arab Street (which is always angry about some U.S, policy or another). His reaction to 9/11 was to have everyone stop driving their cars so we would not buy Middle East oil.

Last week, the Algemeiner published, "An Open Letter to Tom Friedman From the UAE," written by Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie. He is the senior rabbi of the Jewish Council of the Emirates and the rabbi of the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities.

The rabbi took on Friedman's childish and self-serving column, "Jumping Jehoshaphat! Have You Seen How Many Israelis Just Visited the U.A.E.?"

He now is surprised by something that any expert on the Middle East foresaw months ago. Heck, I could see peace breaking out from my backyard in Poca, West Virginia. 

Earth to Friedman: The Arabs could not care less about Israel or the Palestinians. Only Iran cares, and it is not an Arabian country.

Friedman wrote, "I believed from the start that the openings between Israel and the U.A.E., Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan — forged by Jared Kushner and Donald Trump — could be game-changing. We are still in the early phase, though, and having lived through the shotgun marriage and divorce of Israelis and Lebanese Christians in the 1980s, I will wait a bit before sending wedding gifts."

From the start?

From the finish.

He linked a column he wrote in August, "A Geopolitical Earthquake Just Hit the Mideast."

The peace process began in 2005 when Donald Trump tried to build Trump International Hotel and Tower in Dubai. It never happened. But something greater happened. A future president actually met and talked to Arabs, got to know them, and learned that all the he had read in the newspapers was wrong. The people in UAE did not hate Israelis or love Palestinians.

By the way, if the guy is supposed to be so Islamophobic, why was Donald Trump in U.A.E. working with Muslims?

President Trump's first visit as head of state was not to someplace safe like Canada or Mexico. He went to Saudi Arabia. Then he did something no one had ever done before. He flew directly to Israel from Riyadh. Then he went to the Vatican.

It was a Triple Crown trip as he went to the seats of Islam, Judaism, and the Roman Catholic church. These are the Abrahamic religions that trace their history back to Abraham.

7 months later, President Trump officially announced our embassy would move to Jerusalem.

Friedman clutched his pearls. 

He wrote, "every Israeli government since its founding has craved United States recognition of Jerusalem as its capital. And every United States government has refrained from doing that, arguing that such a recognition should come only in the wake of an agreed final status peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians — until now.

"Today, Trump just gave it away — for free. Such a deal! Why in the world would you just give this away for free and not even use it as a lever to advance the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian deal?"

The answer is in Paragraph 7 of this post: The Arabs could not care less about Israel or the Palestinians.

If the Arabs don't care about the Palestinians, why should we? 

Friedman wrote that President Trump should have leaned on Bibi to cut a deal with the Palestinians, as if he could. Yassar Arafat made it clear to Bill Clinton that he would never cut a deal with Israel, and his successor also will not budge.

Friedman wrote, "Trump also could have said, as the former United States ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk suggested..."

Who cares what Indyk suggested? He was Clinton's ambassador. Obama made him a special envoy to the Middle East. We achieved zero peace in Indyk's tenure.

I contend that moving the embassy to Jerusalem was a clear sign to the world that the USA was moving on from trying to deal with the Palestinians. The Abraham Accords are proof that the move worked.

Suddenly, 3 years after condemning the move to Jerusalem, Friedman sees hope -- maybe.

Rabbi Abadie took Friedman behind the woodshed and thrashed him mercilessly.

Abadie wrote, "Here’s some real news: There is a new Middle East that has passed you by and demonstrated to you and the rest of the western world that fresh thinking is what was necessary to break the mold and the old narrative. Clearly, that has eluded you.

"Your infatuation with multiparty democracy is utterly misplaced and out of sync with the reality of democratic governments and countries. In 1947, Winston Churchill told the British House of Commons that 'democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.'

"I have lived in several democratic countries, including the United States, and have seen the rampant corruption of democratically elected political leaders, their self-interest placed above the interest of the electorate, their broken promises and their egotistical selfishness; what’s good for the electorate is not good for them.

"What we have in the United Arab Emirates is a very benevolent monarchy and an elected assembly, the Federal National Council. The needs of the population are taken into account, and change of laws and regulations is as swift as the need of the populace demanding it. Unlike in democratically elected governments, in the UAE we don’t have lobbyists, interest-driven advocates, money exchanging hands, worries about the political leaders’ ability to be elected by making promises that they know very well they will never fulfill.

"As the senior rabbi of the Jewish Council of the Emirates and the rabbi of the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities—and living in the Gulf region for the past four months—I have personally experienced how welcomed the Abraham Accords are by the UAE population." 

That is not the Arab Street talking, because the Arab Street consists of the mid-level bureaucrats who talk to the press. 

That is a rabbi in a Muslim country testifying.

And he ended it by throwing a match, and walking away while the house of Friedman exploded.

Abadie wrote, "Practically nothing of what you have advised and predicted for the Middle East in the last 30 years has ever happened. You have always written the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

"You call it the Abraham Accords Washing. The only thing that needs washing is your old-fashioned narrative. Thanks to the accords, there is a warm, new light in the Middle East for all its people."

22 comments:

  1. The only thing Friedman was ever good at was feathering his own nest.

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    Replies
    1. What's depressing right now is the huge number of self-proclaimed "experts" (sic) who are in fact braindead, insular morons.

      Having an overinflated opinion of yourself is not a qualification...

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    2. Thomas Friedman: ANOTHER confused Jew.

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    3. We call them "self-hating" Jews.

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  2. I have just one question. How many billions did Suha Arafat end up with while she lives in Paris and ignores the suffering of her people? Arafat and his trusted lieutenants all ended up very wealthy.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly. Kinda' like our retired and current politicians. I mean, has the suffering of Americans, who have lost most of their freedom and have their money stolen, ever mattered to anyone in the DC swamp? No, it has not. So, yeah, how Arafat's wife and friends are living is 100% familiar to Americans.

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  3. One relatively minor correction. The Gulf Arabs do care about Israel because it is the region's technological and scientific powerhouse, with a strong currency and a potent military. The match between Israel's high-tech economy and the UAE's financial eminence is a major boost to the region. And the IDF extending its protective umbrella against Iran to the region is the icing on the cake. For more than 50 years, Western diplomats kept regurgitating the same old formulas while expecting different results every time, the very definition of insanity. Thanks to President Trump and the Abraham Accords, those good old days are gone forever even if it hasn't sunk in to the likes of Friedman.

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  4. Thomas Friedman is an avatar of the conventional wisdom.

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    Replies
    1. Thomas Friedman is a member of a worn out elite, a credentialed, spoiled, corrupt, sociopathic, nepotistic bunch of failed experts. Their implosion will cause a lot of damage, get ready.

      Delete
  5. Might be the best you have ever written

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  6. The Palis are like the little kid who sits down and whines, "Everybody hates me, nobody loves me, I'm gonna go eat worms." Or, Dammit, nobody will help us, and WE surely can't/won't help ourselves."

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  7. That was an excellent article and no one deserves a smackdown as much as Friedman. He is too pompous and full of himself to realize the pounding he took in Thai article.

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  8. Building a southern wall - impossible. Bringing jobs back home - impossible. Making America energy independent - impossible. Reducing petty government regulations - impossible. Record employment for Hispanics and blacks - impossible. And the crowning achievement: creating peace in the Middle East - absolutely impossible. Next chance you get, ask a Trump hater exactly why they hate Trump. Are they against all of these things? If so, then they'll be doing backflips over $7 gasoline and a crashed economy.

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  9. Tom Friedman has a unique ability to state the obvious while simultaneously missing the obvious.

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  10. I have been to UAE and Rabbi Abadie is correct. Additionally there is little, if any , street crime, no threat of terrorism, no Jihadism or Communism, Free Market works well there. The monarchs are smart and concerned. Only 15% of the population are Emirates, the others are "ex pats" who come to UAE to work and prosper and they do.. Rabbi Abadie is succinct. "What we have in the United Arab Emirates is a very benevolent monarchy and an elected assembly, the Federal National Council. The needs of the population are taken into account, and change of laws and regulations is as swift as the need of the populace demanding it. Unlike in democratically elected governments, in the UAE we don’t have lobbyists, interest-driven advocates, money exchanging hands, worries about the political leaders’ ability to be elected by making promises that they know very well they will never fulfill.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Don Surber's columns energize me. even embolden me. I live in West Palm Beach and it is becoming epicenter of Trumpism.

    ReplyDelete
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  13. President Trump did a lot of good without much or any credit. TDS was/is so strong that most refuse to see anything positive. Voters are going to get it good and hard from Mr. Biden and whoever is running the show. By then, I am not sure what will be left to salvage.

    ReplyDelete
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