Thursday, December 22, 2011


Dear Tom:

Since you like to write letters to leaders you think need your counsel, I thought I would write one to you because you are sorely in need of some good advice.  Here goes:

Stop digging! 

There is one thing worse than a politician who refuses to outright admit he was wrong and apologize and instead tries to explain his way out of a terrible mistake, thus making himself look like a big weasel.  And that is a journalist trying to do the same thing.

You now say that you regret charging that the U.S. Congress gave Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a standing ovation because the "Israel lobby" "bought and paid for" the Congress.  You now say that you wished you had said the "Israel lobby" "engineered" it.

Somehow that change in words seems to make a difference to you?

How exactly did the "Israel lobby" "engineer" the standing ovation?  Did the lobby pull some kind of strings so that every member of Congress stood up and started to applaud at the same time?  Is the lobby full of puppeteers and are the members of Congress mere puppets? 

Did the lobby somehow use I-phones or some other electronic device to command the members of Congress to all rise and applaud at the same time?  Did the lobby put out a memo directing everyone to respond in this fashion?

If, indeed, some Israel supporters suggested that the Congress give a hearty welcome to the Prime Minister, and Congressional members decided that they wanted to do that, is there something conspiratorial or threatening to our democracy in them doing so?  Is this manipulation and engineering? 

Do you actually think that changing the words from "bought and paid for" to "engineered" makes a difference to the nefarious implications of what you wrote?

Tom, you went onto say that you stand 100 percent behind the basic point of your op-ed.  Help me.  What exactly was the point?  That Jews control and engineer the Congress?  That citizens of the U.S. expressing their point of view and members of Congress responding positively is some kind of a danger?

Are you upset that the American people and the Congress do not agree with your point of view?  Do you feel that their must be something underhanded or unclean because your views have not prevailed?

Are you angry at Prime Minister Netanyahu because he is doing what the people who elected him want him to do rather than what you think he should do?  Do you think he is fooling and manipulating the people who elected him? 

Do you think you know better what is good for them than the Israelis who gave up Gaza, pulled out of Lebanon, gave up control of most Palestinians prior to the second Intifada, and made generous offers at Camp David, and Taba?  Do you feel comfortable lecturing the people who have sustained years of rockets and sirens in the south of Israel?

Tom, you say that an increasing number of American Jews are becoming detached from and disaffected with Israel.  On the other hand, you paint this picture of some omnipresent group so powerful that they can engineer the behavior of the entire U.S. Congress.  So I have to ask, who actually makes up the "Israel Lobby?"

Here is some advice any campaign or media consultant and any politician who has been through this sort of experience would have given you:  either come completely clean, say you made a dumb mistake, and apologize from the bottom of your heart, or just shut up.  But for your own sake and everyone else's, stop digging!



  1. well done for not mincing your words!!!!

  2. Alan i hope you sent this to Thomas Friedman. He needs to hear it!