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Response to Tom Friedman's column "People vs. Dinosaurs"

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich


The decline of The New York Times is evident not only in the selection of neoconservative William Kristol, a cheerleader for the illegal Iraq war, but the inaccurate and decidedly biased column of Tom Friedman (June 8, 2008) presented to the American public written from Tefen Industrial Park, Israel.  


Echoing Tel-Aviv and Washington, and betraying his profession as a journalist who owes the public the truth, he writes: "Hezbollah, a key part of Iran's holding company, attacked Israel in July 2006".   Mr. Friedman must be reminded that Israel repeatedly violated Lebanese airspace.  The kidnap of 3 Israeli soldiers was called an "act of war" and the response was the destruction of Lebanon.  Thousands of Palestinian women and children were 'kidnapped" and held in Israeli jails years prior to 2006.  Israel declared war long before the Second Lebanon War.


Further, Mr. Friedman lacks the basics of a journalist - accuracy.  Hezbollah is an independent organization with legitimate representation in the Lebanese government.  Should Mr. Friedman's logic prevail, we must also accept that the U.S. is a key part of Israel's holding company.


Mr. Friedman claims that Israel is hard-wired to compete in a 'flat world'.  Israel survives through extortion.  Der Spiegel reports that Germany has paid out 63.2billion Euros since 1969.  America seems to increase its aid to Israel every time it assaults a neighboring country so that Israel can be secure.    


Mr. Friedman writes from Israel boasting that industrialists from the Czech Republic, the "New Europe", came to learn skills from Israel, skills Iran does not have, according to him.  Surely Mr. Friedman's ignorance is a source of comfort to him.  If the Times had the inclination to inform its readers, it would report that when Burton Richter, an American Nobel laureate in physics visited the prestigious Sharif University in Tehran, he was awed.   Iran has made science a part of its revolution.  If it is not able to develop its peaceful nuclear technology, it is because the U.S., one of Israel' key holding companies has imposed sanctions and other holding companies such as Britain, France, and Germany have followed suit.  Further, Israel has threatened Iran with genocide, as has the U.S.    Is it any wonder that there is no rush of foreign investment given that the U.S. has shown it has no qualms about using an atomic bomb to massacre innocent civilians and Israel destroys cities and towns as a matter of course?


Mr. Friedman would have his readers believe that Israel's military is dependent on its people and intelligence; what falsehood - it is dependent on American money -  Money doled out at the expense of depriving families from having insurance, education and housing.  Mr. Friedman optimistically sees himself in Israel 20 years from now.  Realistically, can America, on the verge of bankruptcy afford to support Israel's ambitions for another 20 years and beyond?


It is sad to see The Times auction its integrity to increase its circulation.  As for Mr. Friedman, he should refrain from writing from Israel - it seems the locality of it makes his arguments 'flat'.


Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Public Diplomacy Program

USC Annenberg for Communication and USC School of International Relations

... Payvand News - 06/14/08 ... --

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