When I hear some Americans talk about Palestine and Israel, I marvel at how effective the campaign to project a fictional image of that region is, even on liberals, progressives, and leftists. Then, if I must, I read Tom Friedman’s articles on the matter and despair at how many people think there is even a hint of reality in them.
But on Tuesday, Friedman outdid himself, topping even his fantasy fluff piece on Mohammed bin Salman in 2017. Friedman painted the past year in Israel—the first Netanyahu-free year since 2008—as an icon of democracy, where Israeli Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel danced together under the blue and white flag, in harmony and happiness.
It is a contemptible piece of fiction which erases apartheid, blames Palestinians for their own ongoing oppression, and praises those who would abandon their cousins under occupation. On top of all that, even if not quite as egregious, Friedman displays a comical ignorance of Israeli politics, a bit of knowledge you would think would be a basic qualification for the New York Times’ leading Israel apologist.
Friedman wastes no time by launching a flawed analogy between Donald Trump’s coup attempt and Benjamin Netanyahu’s various machinations to remain in office. He warns that the “win at any cost mentality” could tear apart democracy in both the United States and Israel.