Tom Friedman: “President Trump, Will You Save the Jews?”
I realize that nobody is interested in country clubs … except for Presidents, billionaires, and the people who advise billionaires and Presidents, like Tom Friedman, who may be the world’s richest reporter. From the NYT:
Thomas L. Friedman FEB. 15, 2017
Dear President Trump:
These are the moments that make or break a presidency.
First you were tested by a rival — Russia — and utterly failed to appreciate the corrosive impact on our democracy of your indulgence of Russia’s hacking our election. And on Wednesday you’re going to be tested by a friend — Israel — and its prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu. Can you appreciate the corrosive impact on Israel’s democracy of what it’s now doing in the West Bank? I ask because you may be the last man standing between Israel and a complete, self-inflicted disaster for the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
Let me explain it in terms you’ll appreciate: golf.
Did you happen to follow the story involving Barack Obama and Woodmont Country Club?
I’m sure Trump took zero interest in that story.
No, I’m kidding, of course he did.
Woodmont is the mostly Jewish golf club in Maryland, just outside D.C., where Obama played as a guest several times during his presidency. Near the end of his term it was rumored that Obama would seek membership there.
Then he clashed with Netanyahu over Obama’s refusal to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s relentless expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Shortly thereafter, The Washington Post reported that a Woodmont member, Faith Goldstein, had sent a private email to the club’s president declaring that Obama “is not welcome at Woodmont” because of his U.N. vote.
It was appalling to think that Jews, who for so many years were themselves excluded from joining certain country clubs
A.k.a., the Golfocaust.
Remember that we suffered having to play Hillcrest instead of L.A.C.C.
, would consider excluding our first black president, especially for his acting on the basis of what half of Israel believes — that continued expansion of Jewish settlements into Palestinian-populated zones of the West Bank will eventually make the separation of Israelis and Palestinians in a two-state solution impossible, and thereby threaten Israel’s character as a Jewish and democratic state.
Fortunately, in the end, the decent members of Woodmont prevailed. As The Washington Post reported, the club’s president, Barry Forman, invited the Obamas to join, declaring that “it is all the more important that Woodmont be a place where people of varying views and beliefs can enjoy fellowship.”
Why am I telling you this story?
Because you and Trump and Obama and Bill Clinton and the Bushes are very interested in country clubs, even though nobody else is.
The last President who wasn’t an obsessive golfer was Reagan, and he wound up retiring to a house on a mountain that the Bel Air Country Club tunnels under to get from one green to the next tee.
I probably more or less agree with Friedman about the 2-state solution and the West Bank settlements and all that, but I don’t pay that much attention to it because, (A) it’s not my country, and (B) lots of people in the American press do pay attention to it, so I don’t think I have that much more to contribute relative to a lot of other topics.