Obama’s pro-Israel critics are talking “pure crap,” said New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on PBS host Charlie Rose's show Tuesday night. Rose was hosting a roundtable of Times columnists. Along with Friedman there was David Brooks, neo-liberal economics columnist David Leonhardt, and Roger Cohen, foreign policy columnist and once a stout defender of the authoritarian regime in Iran.
As the “conservative," Brooks mostly agreed with the three liberals, calling himself “an admirer of Barack Obama” while offering mild criticism of the president’s “passivity.”
Meanwhile, fellow columnist Thomas Friedman got physically agitated during a sarcastic, self-righteous rant on global warming skeptics like Rush Limbaugh. Friedman also confessed to having voted for Obama (a bit of a no-no under Times' guidelines) and later employed a blunt word to describe Obama’s pro-Israel critics. Here’s his impassioned, physical soliloquy on climate change, about eight minutes into the program:
Tom Friedman: My own sense is that, you know, we’re not supposed to say who we voted for as columnists for the New York Times, so, don’t tell anybody this, OK? But the reason I’m suspected to have voted for Barack Obama--
--I voted for Obama for one reason. Because I thought he could change the polls and not read the polls. I thought he was someone, because of his oratorical skills and because of his unique background, who would actually use the presidency to educate us, in the way that all my colleagues have talked here, to actually change the polls. And my biggest disappointment is I really see a guy reading the polls as closely as ever. Roger referred to energy. Let’s look at the last year, Charlie, you and I’ve talked about this before -- "climate change." Those two words, climate change, became a four-letter word in American politics under Barack Obama’s watch. Not only do Republicans--it’s against the law in the Republican Party....at least Romney, Mitt Romney was just so courageous! He actually said he believes in science, oh my God! And Rush Limbaugh said you’re out of the party, pal, OK! That goes as courage now.”
Rose: He suggested that he thought that man contributed to global warming.
Friedman: That’s right, exactly. So what is so disturbing is that, that we don’t, we’re not having an adult conversation about what are the real problems.
Forty-one minutes in, during a discussion of Israel:
Friedman: You really have, you know, one party, the Palestinians, who are too divided now between Hamas and Fatah to make a big decision. And you have the Israelis who are just too uninterested. I mean, Israel today, I’m sorry, it has the most inbred, unimaginative government I think it’s ever had, you know. And you know, I think, look, we talked about this so many times, there are real issues Israel faces, security, legitimation, whatnot. But there’s one simple thing--you can say what you want and all these American Jews criticizing Obama, he’s anti-Israel--it’s all crap, OK? Can I say that on your show? It is pure crap, all right? The guy is trying to do the right thing.