Thomas Friedman sure knows how to flip reality on its head. In his New York Times op-ed column today, Friedman hops on the bandwagon (FAIR blog, 6/10/10) of bashing Turkey for “joining the Hamas-Hezbollah-Iran resistance front against Israel.”
Friedman accuses Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan of no longer promoting democracy and instead being more focused on “praising Hamas instead of the more responsible Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, which is actually building the foundations of a Palestinian state.” Friedman says of Erdogan:
I’d love to see him be the most popular leader on the Arab street, but not by being more radical than the Arab radicals and by catering to Hamas, but by being more of a democracy advocate than the undemocratic Arab leaders and mediating in a balanced way between all Palestinians and Israel. That is not where Erdogan is at, though, and it’s troubling.
Siding with the Palestinian Authority against Hamas would be a peculiar way of advocating for democracy in the Middle East, though. In the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, Hamas categorically defeated Fatah in what former President Jimmy Carter called “free and fair” elections (CNN, 5/17/09). The U.S., EU and Israel rejected those results (New York Times, 6/8/06), and after Fatah’s U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Hamas in Gaza failed (Vanity Fair, 4/08), an “emergency government” composed of members of Fatah was installed (New York Times, 6/18/07). This “emergency government,” still in place to this day in the West Bank, was not democratically elected and consolidated its power illegally (Electronic Intifada, 6/18/07).
In Friedman’s alternate universe, the Turkish prime minister is not advocating for democracy because…he supports the democratically elected government in Palestine that Israel has been trying to overthrow by way of “economic warfare” (FAIR Blog, 6/14/10) instead of the unelected government approved by the United States.