Thursday, January 15, 2009

NY Times' Friedman is Wrong

by bpb
FAIR blog
January 14, 2009

There is no evidence for Thomas Friedman's contention that after Israel's 2006 war with Hizballah, "Lebanese civilians, in anguish, said to Hezbollah: 'What were you thinking? Look what destruction you have visited on your own community! For what? or whom?'" In fact, in the month following the war, a public opinion poll conducted in Lebanon confirmed the opposite: that Lebanese public opinion strongly favored Hizballah.

According to a poll conducted by Information International from Aug. 22 to Aug. 27, 2006, 57% of respondents "supported" Hizballah's kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, which initiated the conflict. According to the same poll, 79% of respondents rated the performance of Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah as "good/great." These numbers are noteworthy not only because they disprove Friedman's claim, but because they also represent a relative uniformity of opinion across Lebanon's notoriously divided populace.

Furthermore, even in mid-October 2006, months after the war's end, a poll conducted in Lebanon by the Center for Strategic Studies found that 78% of respondents believed that Israel would have attacked Lebanon "whether Hizbollah captured the Israeli soldiers or not," thus signifying that a large majority of Lebanese were unwilling to place blame on Hizballah.

Based on these numbers, it is easy to see that Thomas Friedman is rewriting history in order to justify his current support of Israel's war on Palestinian civilians. It is remarkable that he seems to have assumed that his claims could not be fact-checked in this age of ubiquitous polling.

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