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Thomas Friedman should not be lumped with the likes of Chomsky

Reader comment on item: Who Supports Israel[, Jews or Conservatives]?

Submitted by Matthew Rand (United States), Sep 3, 2003 at 12:31

I apolgize for the spelling-

I disagree with Dr. Pipes assertion that Thomas Friedman does not support the Israel and its government. It is true that Friedman is a critic of Sharon and opposes what he feels are ridiculous settlements in Gaza. However unlike the rest of this bunch that Pipes lumps Friedman into, Friedman is generally supportive of Israel's defensive posture, understands Jews and Judaism's deep connection and reluctance to cede Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) to the Arabs. He also recognizes the great achievements of the Zionist movement in the last 55 years of Israel's existance. That does not neccessarily temper his criticism for the Sharon government, and I think his criticism is much more helpful for policy makers than most critics, who do not neccessarily want the best for Israel. Friedman has also been a perceptive analyst of Islamic extremisim and the backlash against globalization. Read his work"The Lexus and the Olive Tree" his criticism of the Arab world is well recieved, not only because it is blunt and honest, something that much of Arab discourse lacks, but he gives the Arabs a sense that he cares about there future as well. This has given him greater flexibility in giving him an inside access to the Arab world a credential most journalists lack. Arabs are receptive to his views because he disarms there fears that he is wants to do them harm. At the same time for the most part he is uncomprimising about his critic of their society.

Matthew Rand
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