How Tom Friedman knows that rocks aren't peaceful
Michael Widlanski comes up with a Tom Friedman story
I had not heard before this week.
Friedman knows very well that rocks are not a peaceful means to a peaceful end. He was attacked by Palestinian Arab rock throwers who stoned his car on Jerusalem's Salahadin Street in 1988, just before leaving his job as the Jerusalem-based bureau chief of the Times. Friedman did not think of rocks then as peaceful protest.
"If I had a gun I would have blasted the faces of all those sons of bitches,” Friedman reportedly yelled, returning from the Arab side of town to the Times office, then at Rivlin Street in the mostly Jewish downtown center. Apparently, he never mentioned the incident—or his strong reaction to it—in his many books or columns.
After Friedman's rocky ride, Yoram Ettinger, then-head of Israel's government press office, told Friedman his experience ought to make him a bit more sympathetic to Israelis who Friedman called "trigger-happy” and who often get stoned (and killed) by Arab rocks, but generally do not kill all the Arabs in the area at the time.
It is perfectly understandable why Friedman was upset at the time. Getting stoned is no laughing matter, and women are sometimes still stoned to death for alleged indiscretions in certain Muslim countries. In the Mid-East, rocks are not a tool for peace, but are usually seen as a form of punishment, even capital punishment.
So Friedman was right to be upset. He was hypocritical not to report it then and is hypocritical to treat Arab rocks as a natural part of "bargaining,” where Arab attacks in 1967 are repaid by the Arabs getting all the land back they used to attack Israel.
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Labels: stone throwers, Tom Friedman