My Favorite Bit From Tom Friedman's Most Recent Column

This is the last graf (and a short note that followed) of Tom Friedman's column decrying efforts to delegitimize Israel:

How about everybody take a deep breath, pop a copy of "Precious Life" into your DVD players, watch this documentary about the real Middle East, and if you still want to be a critic (as I do), be a constructive one. A lot more Israelis and Palestinians will listen to you.

Nicholas D. Kristof is off today.

Read Friedman's column carefully; it seems to me he's talking directly to Kristof, whose writing on the Middle East has become a bit comically one-sided. In his recent columns, Kristof discusses the occupation as if it came about through Israeli avarice and greed alone. He manages to write about the situation in Gaza with hardly a reference to the rocket attacks that led to the Israeli blockade; he writes about the security barrier as if it wasn't built to stop a flood of suicide bombers from the West Bank. Kristof is a smart columnist but he undermines himself by refusing to acknowledge what Friedman understands, that the Middle East is maddeningly complicated, and that what appears to be easy-to-understand often isn't.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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