[NOTE: Tom Friedman interrupts his New York Times column today, which is about Ukraine & Israel, to quote a jibe he’s hearing often these days]:
Hey, Friedman, all you seem to write about these days is Ukraine and Israel. Don’t you have anything else to say?
It’s not an accident. I believe that if Ukraine were to fall to Vladimir Putin and Israel were to become a phony democracy like Hungary, the whole world would tip the wrong way.
Israel is the only real democracy with an independent judiciary in the Middle East. Ukraine is defending the European Union, a giant engine of the rule of law, free markets, human rights and democratic norms, even if not every E.U. country has fully embraced all of them. If democracy is undermined in the E.U. and Israel, democracy everywhere will be more endangered.
[COMMENT: I blog often about Ukraine, occasionally about Israel (almost never on the E. U.), but more about numerous other topics, especially Quakers; that’s my jam. But when I read this column, I found myself nodding: this Jewish friend speaks my mind. There are many things about Ukraine & Israel to critique and object to. (Some people have even critiqued Friedman as well . . . .) Yet nations don’t have to be perfect to be important. And columnists need not be flawless to be right.
So from my faraway armchair, I applaud the mass nonviolent protesters in Israel, pushing back against the current government’s court-stripping scheme. I also commend the anti-corruption actions of the Ukrainian government. Both are in doubt; but like Friedman, I hope both succeed.]