I was reading an excellent article Tom Friedman vs. Israel by David Gerstman aka Soccer Dad. David went a long way to cover the Israel-related body of work (or is it a body of fallacies?) created by Friedman over the years. I cannot add anything to David's analysis of the facts, nor is there any need to, just read the whole piece. I have an additional angle in Friedman's writings that has been of some interest to me: Friedman's enormous ego.
I still remember being surprised by the ponderous and self-important style when reading my first Friedman's pieces some years ago. The initial surprise has since became a permanent and self-sustaining allergy, some of it expressed in that Thomas L. Friedman reader. Take, for example, this (quoted from David's article):
“Israel doesn’t have to worry about me,” Friedman had stressed early in the interview. “At the end of the day, Israel will have my support — it had me at hello.”WTF? was my response when reading it first some time ago, after reading the quote several times. Does TLF really think about himself as some kind of a factor in the Middle East jungle politics? Or as a force that will be called upon to prop up Israel in its time of need?
Or, as another example, TLF dispensing advice to the scientists on the subject of global warming. I can hardly recall a scientist of the largest possible caliber talking this self-importantly, bombastically and ponderously, even about a subject in which this scientist is an expert. And here is TLF teaching scientists how to do their job... incredible.
But back to TLF's frustration with Israel. For years, as David shows in his article, Friedman has been offering his simplistic dictum to various rulers (including those of Israel) of the Middle East. Being simplistic and unable to contribute anything of value to the impossible tangle of local problems, TLF's preaching was promptly ignored - of course. But to TLF it looks like a deliberate act of disregard, thus taken personally.
I submit that Friedman is sincere in his belief that he supports Israel and, coupled with his equally sincere belief in his superior all-encompassing intellect and vision, Israel's disregard of his uninterrupted supply of new ideas makes him mad. And this, in turn, raises the pitch of his displeasure, as witnessed by that latest eruption about "That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby." The hostility David describes is definitely there, but its source is, I suggest, in childish histrionics caused by his belief in own infallibility on one hand and Israel's rejection of his dictate on the other.
Well, it's only a guess. But a pretty educated one, methinks. As they say about some people, the easiest way to suicide for them is to jump from their own ego. I am afraid that this wouldn't work for TLF, whose ego has already took him out of the Earth's gravity pull.