Still Not There Yet…
by Gerald A. Honigman
New York Times syndicated columnist, Thomas L. Friedman, has gained some wisdom over the years.
For a journalist, he has achieved a level of knowledge on matters pertaining to the volatile Middle East that most others in his profession seldom achieve.
Having said that, what I have forgotten over the decades at professional and academic levels, Tom will never come to know--regardless of how many free trips his boss sends him on.
First, let’s look at the good side…
He’s correct when he states in a recent op-ed that America must end its oil addiction as it attempts to exit Iraq and presumably try to solve other issues in the region as well. And, in another recent article, he proclaimed that Iraq is so severely fractured, that it is beyond being the Arab Yugoslavia anymore.
I can agree with all of that and have written the same things much earlier in many of my own widely-published articles--including ones showcased by the Kurdish Regional Government itself in Iraq.
But Tommy fails to make necessary connections to what he himself writes.
While repeatedly expecting Jews to bare the necks of their kids in a return to the Auschwitz/armistice lines (which made Israel a mere 9-miles wide at its strategic waist)--not borders--of 1949 with an Arab enemy sworn to the destruction of Israel no matter who is at the helm of the Arabs’ proposed state # 22, here’s what he had to say to some 30 million truly stateless Kurds, who have been slaughtered and displaced by the hundreds of thousands over the last century by Arabs both in Syria and Iraq (and many more by others as well) in a March 26, 2003 op-ed. Friedman advised that the Kurds in Iraq should be told point blank:
"What part of ’no’ don’t you understand? ..You Kurds are not breaking away."
Just imagine if Israel was to say that under no circumstances would another state be permitted to be created for Arabs in “Palestine“ (Jordan having been carved out, in 1922, of some 80% of the original borders of Mandatory Palestine as Britain received it on April 25, 1920).
Tommy would have a bloomin’ fit.
Yet he told Kurds, who were repeated massacred by Arabs, that they were not entitled to even one of what he claims Arabs are entitled to some two dozen of--most created, by the way, by the conquest and forced Arabization of non-Arab peoples and their lands.
I guess, for Friedman, imperialism is only nasty when non-Arabs are engaged in it.
But I will give him his due. In another op-ed which appeared in my local Florida paper on March 12, 2006, he finally came around a bit and stated that we should now tell the Kurds, “You’ve behaved most responsibly…If Iraq falls apart, we will make sure you’re taken care of.”
Notice, however, he still doesn’t call for a roadmap for Kurdistan. That's still only reserved for his Arab buddies.
You know...such a Kurdish state would be "destabilizing" and all that stuff.
Of course, we all know that a murderous Fatah or Hamas-run state (makes no difference--despite what the Foggy Folks say), set up in Israel's very backyard after its forced return to its nine-mile wide existence, won't be destabilizing...
And would you also like to buy a bridge I'm selling?
Now, I’m sure Tommy knows that, besides the Jews, the Kurds are the one people in the region whom Foggy Bottom has shafted over and over again the most…with often bloody results. And since President Truman was correct regarding where the buck stops, that means American Presidents have gone along with this as well. Which brings us at least partly back to Friedman’s correct observation regarding petroleum politics.
While it’s well known that the very rebirth of the Jew of the Nations was opposed by the Foggy Folks, it perhaps is not as well known that British petroleum politics--in collusion with Arab nationalism--put the kiss of death on the one best chance Kurds ever had--before right now--at independence with the break up of the Ottoman Turkish Empire after World War I.
Kurds were indeed promised that independence, but after the Brits received a favorable decision from the League of Nations regarding Mosul and the oil around it in 1925, Kurdish hopes and dreams were aborted. A British-supported, united, and Arab-ruled Iraq emerged in all of the Mandate of Mesopotamia instead.
While the Brits’ other Mandate, the Mandate of Palestine (which was smaller than Mesopotamia) could undergo successive partitions and partition plans to address the needs of competing nationalism, the Kurds were told that their cause was not worthy. And it has remained this way for three quarters of a century now.
Where have Friedman’s op-eds been over the decades regarding this tragic issue?
After all, he likes to write from an alleged position of morality, ethics, and such.
He’s not afraid, for example, to demand that Jews return to those Auschwitz lines, while anyone truly familiar with the goings on after 1949 (after Israel survived a massive Arab attack on its miniscule rebirth) would realize that this just ain’t so.
A reading of the U. N.‘s Ralph Bunch’s ‘49 armistice dealings would help Tommy as would readings of Under Secretary of State Eugene Rostow, U. N. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg, Britain’s U. N. Ambassador, Lord Caradon, and other architects of U. N. Security Council Resolution # 242 after the Six Day War in ‘67. They all explained why Israel was not expected to return to the status quo ante and was entitled to secure and real borders--not indefensible armistice lines. Yet that’s what Tommy continues to chastise Israel for.
Here’s Lord Caradon, for example…
“ It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places where the soldiers of each side happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them.”
In Friedman’s most recent op-ed which appeared locally on December 26, among other things, his Rule #11 ( Mideast Rules For U.S. to Live By) proclaims that the Arabs have really “…been hurt by Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.” True, he also mentions the Arabs own faults here as well.
So, there’s Tommy’s continuing problem…despite some admitted improvements.
Forget the fact that most of his so-called “Palestinians” were newcomers themselves into the Mandate--to the point that the very word refugee had to be redefined by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) to accommodate all of the Arab newcomers…some only arriving a mere two years before the combined Arab assault on Israel.
But, just where does Friedman think those territorial rectifications (allowed by 242, etc.) of the travesty of Israel’s 1949 armistice line existence are to be made if not in Judea and Samaria---aka, only via British imperialism in the last century, now known as the “West Bank.” Israel has already totally withdrawn from Sinai and Gaza.
Again, Tommy needs to read Rostow & Co. very carefully. And if he has already done so, why does he act otherwise?
And why has he repeatedly championed the Arabs’ twenty second state and still has not come out for even one for tens of millions of victimized, stateless Kurds--who predate the Arabs in both Syria and Iraq by millennia?
I can understand--but not like--the real politik, use and abuse, games of the Foggy Folks and such.
But for a justice for poor Arabs (who now have “only” over six million square miles of territory under their rule) Friedman to take this hypocritical stance is beyond nauseating.
He perpetually worries about Jewish settlements in Judea (“land of the Jews“), but is mum about the majority of Arabs who were newcomers there themselves, i.e. Arab settlers setting up Arab settlements.
A look at the Records of the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission only tells part of this story. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence and solid documentation for this if one is truly interested.
And has Tommy read Ismet Cherif Vanly’s The Syrian (Arab) Mein Kampf Against the Kurds (Amsterdam, 1968), accounts of the Arabs’ ANFAL Campaign against Kurds in Iraq, the Arabs' decades' old genocide against black Africans, their continuing subjugation of Assyrians, Berbers, Copts, native kilab yahud “Jew dogs,” etc. and so forth in what Arabs proclaim as purely Arab patrimony?
While Mr. Morality complains about colonialism as well as settlements in his latest op-ed, why does he ignore all of the Arabs’ own victims mentioned above who were and are still subjected to the same thing--but only far worse--at the hands of his alleged Arab “victims” of injustice?
Where are Friedman's op-eds about them and their share of justice?
He’s written many articles--reaching millions of readers--taking Israel to task for not unilaterally caving in to Arab demands regarding disputed territories which he incorrectly calls “Palestinian.” Again, a reading of Rostow on this is a must.
Well, this article must now come to end (while there‘s still much more to write)--or my publishers will have a fit.
But I think you get my drift.
Tommy has improved…a dose of reality seems to have set in. But he still has much to learn.
One day he’ll arrive at being able to point the finger of blame in the right direction without trying to look politically correct by “balancing “ it with defaming the Jew of the Nations’ mere attempts at survival as well.
Few nations--if any--would show the restraint Israel is repeatedly expected to display to those who deliberately try to kill and maim its people and destroy its very national existence.
One day, perhaps…but as of December 26, 2006 Tommy obviously isn’t there yet.