and Personal Opinions of Joel Block
I wrote this after reading Tom Friedman's column in yesterday's
NY Times. It made my blood boil.
From Where I Sit
The Views and Personal Opinions of Joel Block
In his New York Times Column of Sunday, May 16, 2004 (Tyranny of
the Minorities) Thomas Friedman tries to make a point that may or
may not be valid (The center must make itself heard in Israel
& Iraq), depending on your point of view. However, in
my opinion he chooses to present his argument in a way that totally
invalidates anything he has to say. Mr. Friedman starts his piece
with a question: What do the Shiite extremist leader Moktada
al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army have in common with the extremist
Jewish settlers in Israel? He, of course, is ready with the
answer: More than youd think. Both movements combine
religious messianism, and a willingness to sacrifice their followers
and others for absolutist visions, along with a certain disdain
for man-made laws, as opposed to those from God.
Im sorry, but Mr. Friedman uses a sick moral equivalence
to make his point. Jihadis and Jewish settlers on the same level?
Not just any settlers either, but extremist Jewish settlers! Did
it ever occur to Thomas Friedman that not all settlers are extremists?
Even if they are, the worst of them do not and cannot even begin
to compare with the Jihadi followers of Moktada al-Sadr and his
ilk? How would he feel if I were to compare his column with columns
that used to appear in the Volkischer Beobachter, the newspaper
of the Nazi Party? After all, his comparison demonizes Jews no less
than any given article or column in that newspaper.
Later in the column, Mr. Friedman quotes Ari Shavit, an essayist
for the well-known left-wing Israeli newspaper HaAretz, who was
referring to the blowing up of an APC in Gaza last Tuesday, in which
6 soldiers of the Givati Brigade tragically lost their lives: The
current war has been redefined since the events of May 2. On that
day, the current war ceased to be a war on terror. It ceased to
be a war for Israels existence. May 2, 2004, the war became
a war of not-a-single-settlement [is to be given up].
What nonsense! One APC is blown up in Gaza, costing six of Israels
finest their lives, and this redefines the war? Let us get something
straight here. The operation in which those boys were involved had
nothing to do with settlements or settlers, but everything to do
with the valid military goal of going after those who would kill
Israelis and destroy the State of Israel if they could. Israeli
military operations will have to continue in Gaza as long as there
are those there that wish to kill Israelis and do away with the
Jewish State. It has nothing to do with settlements; thats
just the latest version of the Big Lie. Remember, there were no
settlements before 1967, and yet Israel was under constant threat
of terror attacks. What was the excuse then?
Whether he means to or not, Thomas Friedman, in columns of the
sort that he wrote yesterday, is perpetuating the principle of Big
Lie; a principle developed and used against the Jews to such devastating
effect by Josef Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda. Does
he really want to be in that kind of company?
© Joel Block, 2004
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Joel Block is a long-time friend of Rabbi Cassorla and has lived
in Israel since 1968