Please Fire Thomas Friedman

Look at this hack job:

Ignoring the Tsunami by Ari Shavit

War, Timeout, War, Time … by Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman stole his whole column from Shavit. He read Shavit’s article, stole the content and the main rhetorical conceit, and then made it much much worse. Friedman manages to empty the stolen article of value by failing to read irony, flattening nuance, and mistaking a critique of politically-blind decadence as a celebration of Israeli prosperity.

Friedman also seems incapable of understanding that ‘Arabs’ are not a monolithic entity, as that would require thinking outside of simple binaries. This is demonstrated by his incredibly poor sketch of Israeli history. He claims:

The history of Israeli-Arab relations since 1948 can be summarized in one sentence: “War, timeout, war, timeout, war, timeout, war, timeout, war, timeout. …” What differentiates Israel from the Arabs and the Palestinians is how much more productive Israel has been during its timeouts.

This historical ‘analysis’ is the one point at which Friedman strays from his source text. Let us leave aside the fact that his “one sentence” is not a sentence at all and concentrate on his outrageously offensive claim about productivity. I find it hard to express how awful this line is. The implication is that if they were only more productive, the Palestinians would be living in similar conditions to the Israelis. Not even the staunchest supporter of the Israeli state can believe such a claim. It should be obvious, but apparently (or conveniently) Thomas Friedman doesn’t realize how difficult it is for the Palestinians to be as ‘productive’ as Israelis when they live under an embargo in an occupied territory with a decimated infrastructure and significantly less foreign aid than their counterparts.

I was going to end this with one more kick at Friedman for his blatant copy-stealing, but I’ve changed my mind. Given that his original thoughts tend towards oversimplification and victim-blaming crypto-racism, Thomas Friedman really ought to stick to plagiarism.


1 Response to “Please Fire Thomas Friedman”

  1. July 29, 2010 at 8:06 am

    we don’t realize how difficult it is for the Palestinians to be … every historicals are value to remember

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