Somehow I have both a hard and a soft cover copy of Tom Friedman’s “From Beirut to Jerusalem”, and was impressed by a talk I heard him give 20 or so years ago. But a lot has since happened in both Beirut and Jerusalem, and Friedman’s pomposity, arrogance and all-knowing attitude that it’s Israel’s sole responsibility to right all wrongs has become quite tedious.
It iwas not surprising to read that the New York times columnist Friedman is on Pres Obama’s list of people to consult.
Barry Rubin has written an excellent column about Friedman here; we have also linked over on the right to “the Rubin report” – the blog of this prolific and important commentator. In his article, Rubin writes “But there’s one point that is overwhelming in Friedman’s piece, so symptomatic of everything wrong with the Western vision of Israel. Friedman is telling us that a good public relations’ image is more important than material security. Israel will survive an infinite number of nasty articles or sneering professors without great difficulty. It would not survive concessions that make Israel weak and vulnerable, more than ever at a time when – let’s face it – American and European guarantees are worthless. Golda Meir already dealt with Friedman’s idea decades ago: “Better a bad press than a good epitaph””
Another good article by Rubin here discusses the dismaying trend in the U.S. discussions to discount evidence in favour of point of view. Rubin suggests some ways to escape this descent away from reality.