For decades New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has used newspapers to indoctrinate his readers in his personal idea of what are moral and just policies towards the Middle East and Israel.
But it is Friedman’s morality that should be in question: he is accepting an honor from a college that just provided hater Louis Farrakhan a large forum.
On April 2 notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan addressed an audience of 1,500 at Howard University. Howard is one of the most prominent schools among the 47 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S. The speech was overflowing with vicious invective against Jews and the Zionist movement.
Let’s be clear here, Friedman has skin in the game, on April 11 Howard announced that he’ll receive an honorary doctorate from Howard at their commencement on May 14.
While a student at Brandeis University Friedman was a member the Steering Committee of the Mideast Peace Group and he signed an open letter entitled "Another Bad Omen," published in The Brandeis Justice on November 12, 1974. The letter attacked anti-Arafat protest plans and endorsed a statement from Breira, a forerunner of J Street. (See the January 1990 letters to the editor in Commentary for more on Friedman’s time at Brandeis and my article on Breira and J Street).
Friedman has not chastised Howard for providing a forum for Farrakhan. As always, Friedman saves his criticism for Israel.
To say that Farrakhan’s speech was very offensive is an understatement. What was far worse, though, was Howard’s portrayal of the event. It amounted to nothing less than a cover-up.
The campus newspaper, The Hilltop, in their coverage of the event left out much of the central message of the Farrakhan speech. Staff writer Michael Tomlin-Crutchfield failed to mention anything about Israel, Zionism or Jews in his article published on Sunday, April 3, 2011. (See: http://www.thehilltoponline.com/news/farrakhan-challenges-students-to-think-1.2530392.)
The official Nation Of Islam newspaper The Final Call proudly detailed Farrakhan’s statements about Jews and Zionism:
“I want you to hear what I've got to say unfiltered through the wicked corporate controlled, Jewish controlled Zionist controlled media of the United States of America.”
“Have you noticed that the Republicans and Democrats can't agree on anything, except when it comes to Israel?”
“Is that a strange picture that you can't agree on the welfare of the American people but you can agree on the best interests of the people of Israel?”
What’s more, Final Call highlighted another fact that The Hilltop left out:
“At the close of his message, Minister Farrakhan gave copies of The Secret Relationship Between Black and Jews Volumes One and Two as well as a copy of the message he had just delivered on DVD free to all the conference participants.”
Similar to President Obama’s attempts to offer excuses for his “old uncle who says things I don't always agree with”, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Howard University is willing to ignore the anti-Semitism that is a central component of the Farrakhan message because of the other ideas conveyed along with the hate.
Will Tom Friedman ignore the hate too?
The moral and just thing for Friedman to do would be to decline the honor. There is nothing moral about accepting honors from an institution that helps haters spread their message.