The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and U.S.-based Jewish groups have done the “bidding” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and used their “power and influence” to stop successive administrations from adopting tougher policies toward Israel, according to New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.
“The people I’m most angry with and have written about is [sic] AIPAC and the American Jewish organizations who have done Bibi’s bidding over the years,” Friedman said in an online discussion last month with fellow writer Peter Beinart, using Netanyahu’s popular nickname. “If the reason the administrations are where they are right now, Peter, is because people like the American Jewish Committee and AIPAC at every turn used their power and influence to still the hand of any administration wanting to have a more serious and energetic and vigorous policy.”
“And for that,” Friedman continued, “They will have to answer to history.”
Friedman’s comments came in response to a question from Beinart, who claimed Netanyahu is a “racist” who doesn’t believe “Palestinians are really human.” Beinart then argued the Biden administration has talked about human right but done nothing to stop Israel from practicing “apartheid,” before asking Friedman about what he described as the administration’s lack of holding Israel accountable.
Apartheid is a governing system of racial segregation and discrimination. In Israel, the world’s lone Jewish state, Arabs comprise about 21% of the population, serve in the Israeli government, and have the same legal rights as other Israeli citizens. In the Palestinian territories, it’s illegal to sell land to Jews or Israelis, with punishments ranging from hard labor to prison to execution.
Friedman went on to quote a past column of his arguing Netanyahu was able to address Congress in the past because he was “bought and paid for by AIPAC.” The exact wording of the 2011 article was that the standing ovation the prime minister got in Congress was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby” — a statement for which he received significant backlash.
Friedman’s remarks seem to echo those of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who in 2019 came under fire for…