But Israelis never wanted that "Israel we thought we knew": An indirect reply to Thomas Friedman
I love Daniel Gordis! As an American-born Israeli Jew, I love the way he articulates our side, with such moderation, rationality, knowledge of history, and love of Judaism. I have the last three, but could never muster the moderation that enables Daniel to respect his opponents and speak to them, rather than shout at them. I voted differently than Daniel, but in essence he represents me. Is there any way to get Thomas Friedman to read this article?
Thank you for your nuanced yet strong and convincing pushback regarding Mr. Friedman’s predictable and ahistorical NYT column.
I too am a big fan of Dr. Gordis, and I thought his rebuttal was as spot on as it was intelligent and thoughtful. I have two thoughts still rattling around in my brain. The first is not subject to argument, as it is something I believe: Diaspora Jews that condemned Israel in the "readers' comments" section of Friedman's article, and the rest of the Diaspora (including me) have no right to sit in judgment of Israel. If we want to express an opinion, we can make aliyah. The second is an inability to comprehend if the source of the worldwide double standard put upon Israel is simply the latest manifestation of antisemitism, ignorance, modern stupidity, woke ideology run amuck, Israel being lousy at telling its story, or some weighted combination of it all. Personally, I have run out of patience with it and simply intend to increase my Judaic practice in response.
Thanks for this nuanced and non-alarmist perspective. Friedman misses one obvious issue common to voters in both countries this election: crime. Friedman doesn’t get that in Israel, the crime issue is largely Palestinian political terrorism, which like in the US, there is a large uptick. Far right politicians in both countries run on this fear of crime.
My impression has long been that Bibi never gave Friedman the respect Friedman thought he deserved. So Friedman writes that column, knowing full well the trouble it will cause. It’s personal.
Great column. If I was as incompetent at my job as Friedman (and as Kerry) I would have been fired long ago.
One of the great enigmas of the universe is how come Tom Friedman commands so much attention... His opinions are as disengaged from reality as his moustache is from fashion trends.
Love you Dan Gordis. Always on top of reality! Thank you!
Just because you are a Catholic doesn't mean you can criticise the Italian government. The same applies to American Jews. If they want a say in the way Israeli is or behaves, they'd better go there and be a responsible citizen.
Excellent. I only wish that more people, especially those within Thomas Friedman's audience could read this.
"Israel’s Right-Wing Coalition Gets the Cold Shoulder From Biden: Many on the left warn that democracy is in peril, just because the government they back isn’t in power. "By Eugene Kontorovich Nov. 7, 2022
"The victory of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition has many on the left bemoaning the end of democracy in Israel. Even before voting began, Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) threatened harm to bilateral relations should Israelis vote to the right. The State Department has said it would boycott some right-wing ministers, and President Biden waited almost a week before calling to congratulate Mr. Netanyahu. Yet Secretary of State Antony Blinken apparently had time Friday to phone Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who last stood for election (to a four-year term) in 2005.
"What has degraded Israeli democracy, according to critics, is the electoral success of Itamar Ben-Gvir’s party. Mr. Ben-Gvir’s critics cite his past in the far-right Kahanist movement. For all the consternation, one would think he was the future prime minister, rather than the head of a second-tier party, with seven of 120 seats in the Knesset. ...
"Other countries that recently elected right-wing governments, such as Italy or Sweden, haven’t seen their leaders get the silent treatment from Washington. The alarm over Israel’s new government amounts to saying that Israel will be in America’s good graces only when it elects left-leaning governments. That is a challenge to democratic values.
"Mr. Kontorovich is a professor at George Mason University’s Scalia Law School and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem."
Very interesting, thank you!
Further information and comparison of the Israeli political spectrum as compared to US would help clarify the political terms. Is not politics in Israel really Center Left and Center Right? The party differences in most cases are not so different as they appear to be in the US, where the validity of an election is denied without merit. For example, there is no desire to dismantle social programs in Israel as in US. The GOP here still wants to eliminate Obama Care and many of their followers advocate Christian Nationalism.
Excellent! So much of the 'punditry' turns out wrong ... worthwhile to plumb the very few actual data points.
Masterful lesson. Tks