Social media is trending opinion writer Thomas Friedman of The New York Times seeming to offer more timely though mild criticism of Israel and its U.S. lobby as they drag America ever closer to disaster. For decades Friedman has run cleverly disguised cover stories for Israel from his top tier establishment media perch whenever an existential crisis emerged. Now, as always, Friedman diverts America’s attention away from the real story. His tactics include advancing evidence-free claims that Israel somehow benefits the U.S. and executing international and domestic pressure campaigns in concert with Israel lobby “experts” while ignoring uncomfortable historical facts that don’t support his narrative.
In a recent podcast with fellow 2003 Iraq invasion supporter Peter Beinart, Friedman fretted that “the prospect for a two-state solution has all but vanished” making that argument as if such a two-state prospect was ever anything more than a ruse designed to give Israel time to finish ethnically cleansing Palestinians and annexing their most desirable territories.
In a recent opinion piece Friedman urged President Biden to “save” Israel’s “democracy” from becoming an “illiberal bastion of zealotry” as if Israel has not inherently been such a bastion lording over millions of expulsed, disenfranchised and abused Palestinians.
Israel has never been a “bedrock of stability” for the U.S. as Friedman claims unless one defines proliferating nuclear weapons into the Middle East against the policy of JFK, constant war with neighbors and premeditated territorial acquisitions as “stability.” For Friedman, the West Bank and Golan heights are all territories Israel merely acquired through “war.” Unmentioned by Friedman is that Israel launched the first strikes of the 1967 Six-Day War and preplanned how to occupy the subsequently captured territories. The war was entirely avoidable.
Friedman’s most recent fretting over Israel is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is engaged in a judicial overhaul that would undermine the Israeli Supreme Court’s alleged deep protection of minority rights and opposition to annexing the West Bank. But near the end of his critique Friedman admits the underlying reason for the overhaul would be to give Netanyahu the ability to toss out the ongoing bribery, fraud and breach of trust cases brought against him by Israel’s attorney general. Friedman himself way back in 1985 helped initially cover up the significance of the origins of Netanyahu’s self-inflicted predicament—Netanyahu’s corrupt dealings with Hollywood movie producer and Israeli spy Arnon Milchan.
Friedman hand-wrings that U.S. support for Israel will be jeopardized. The idea that anything other than an abrupt cutoff of campaign contributions could have a serious impact on “bipartisan support” in Washington, especially among the likes of Senator Bob Menendez, is risible. As Abraham Feinberg, long-term fundraiser who organized President Truman’s “whistle stop” campaign disclosed long ago, his own and the Israel lobby’s “path to power” were large quantities of what all American politicians most need, “campaign money.”
While it is tempting to believe Friedman has had some kind of change of heart and is starting to drop his knee jerk Israel surrogacy in times of crisis, even Friedman’s recent writing reveals the deeply dishonest influencer ever trying to advance Israeli interests while diverting away from issues of primary concern to Americans.
One recent example is Friedman teaming up with “Israel’s lawyer” Dennis Ross to coerce Saudi Arabia into “Abraham Accord” diplomatic recognition and formalized economic ties with Israel shortly before Israel’s most recent elections.
Why the Saudis would want to make such major concessions to Israel (and risk billions more of its sovereign wealth to Israeli boondoggles such as WeWork or “Project Jonah“) and finally bury sensible “precursor to peace” demands for justice for Palestinians in the Saudi Arab peace plan were unexplored.
It is more worthwhile to review Friedman’s newly relevant 1985 New York Times piece absolving Netanyahu and his co-conspirator Hollywood movie producer Arnon Milchan of crimes against the U.S. The pair’s corrupt dealings went far beyond the champagne and cigars with which Israeli courts charge Milchan plied Netanyahu for favors detailed in Israeli corruption charges and breathlessly reported in the Israeli press.
In the 1970s and 1980s Arnon Milchan’s network of front companies, working with Israel’s Ministry of Defense, were caught red-handed by the U.S. illegally exporting high speed switches from California to Israel. Upon somehow hearing about secret grand jury deliberations over the lowest ranking member of the smuggling operation, Richard Kelly Smyth, Friedman quickly swung into action locating and interviewing Arnon Milchan who had quite suddenly decamped from the U.S.
It was not until the year 2012 that IRmep finally obtained and released FBI files about the Israeli operation called “Project Pinto” detailing Netanyahu’s direct involvement in the smuggling operation. The 810 krytons were shipped to Israel’s Ministry of Defense through Milchan’s “Heli Trading” company where Netanyahu was employed. The krytrons were obviously destined to upgrade Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons arsenal. It also later emerged that Arnon Milchan was a longtime spy for LAKAM, Israel’s covert espionage network tasked with stealing and smuggling sensitive military—especially nuclear weapons related—technology. Lakam was earlier involved in penetrating and stealing enough U.S. Navy weapons grade uranium from the NUMEC facility, a smuggling front company owned and operated by Zionist Organization of America operatives, for a dozen atomic weapons. There were never any criminal charges in the U.S. over the “NUMEC affair.”
In short, the krytrons were obviously not destined for heating a stew made of “beans, carrots, potatoes and beef” as Friedman so faithfully reported. Netanyahu in 2013-2014 successfully pressured the State Department, which knew all about the smuggling, to issue Milchan a 10-year visa to work and live in the U.S.
It is highly unlikely that Friedman has altered his primary function as a surrogate for Israel at America’s “newspaper of record.” Friedman’s admissions of obvious facts about the apartheid settler colonial nuclear state’s continued descent into darkness come too late, and have long been better and more credibly documented by far more reliable sources, albeit with far less reach.
The real story that Friedman is carefully steering around is that Israel and its lobby are dragging America down with increasing speed. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC’s recent massive direct (as opposed to indirect) interventions in U.S. elections replaced somewhat less compromised politicians with a new cadre of fellow surrogates willing to do almost anything for Israel.
As Americans become increasingly aware that AIPAC is a foreign influence operation set up by Israel and its cutout the Jewish Agency in the 1940s-60s, they are rightfully beginning to question the legitimacy of all the branches of government AIPAC unduly influences. The Congress, the White House and key government agencies. Their accelerating delegitimation through undue Israel lobby influence is a far bigger story than “two state solution” canards and the travails of a distant overseas “illiberal bastion of zealotry.” U.S. government illegitimacy is why there are so few warranted criminal prosecutions of ongoing Israel lobby crimes against America as politicians scramble ever more quickly for millions in Israel lobby campaign contributions while—like Friedman—working to divert public attention and quash accountability.