Straight from the New York Times to an IDF office near you

I’ve written before about New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and his constant swallowing of IDF and Israeli government propaganda over the Middle East.

So this news (via Helena Cobban) makes perfect sense:

    Friedman gave a lecture last week to a number of members of the IDF General Staff. He spoke to them about his impressions of his recent visits to Arab countries. Friedman visited Israel and the territories last week and published a two-part column on the situation in the territories after most IDF checkpoints were removed and Palestinian security forces moved in.

    Friedman met personally with IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi during his visit, and spoke to the deputy chief of staff, the head of Military Intelligence, the head of the Home Front Command and the head of the planning branch.

Someone tell me why anyone should consider this guy a “neutral observer” of matters Middle Eastern?

Someone tell me whether him behaving like this is quite okay by the New York Times– sort of par for the course for the way they expect their very handsomely columnists to behave?

Someone tell me why anyone in the rest of the Middle East would even agree to meet with this guy, given that he sees his role as being a snoop for the Israeli generals?

(Also, just as a point of fact, I think [Haaretz journalist] Pfeffer is quite incorrect to write that “most” IDF checkpoints have been removed from the occupied territories– just as he/she is incorrect to leave out the term “occupied” in that designation.)

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