My Favorite Bit From Tom Friedman's Most Recent Column

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/08/my-favorite-bit-from-tom-friedmans-most-recent-column/61193/