New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was met with open hostility as he addressed students at Yale last week. The Pulitzer Prize winning author delivered a talk entitled 'how America fell behind' where he discussed his new book on foreign policy, co-authored by Michael Mandelbaum.
During the talk, Chabad Rabbi Shmully Hecht of the Yale Eliezer society produced a large banner reading, "With friends like Chomsky, Soros, Mearsheimer and Thomas Friedman, does Israel need enemies?"
U.S. linguist and professor Noam Chomsky, financier and philanthropist George Soros are known for supporting liberal causes and views. Professor John Mearsheimer co-authored the book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy."
Mr. Friedman responded curtly, saying, "That's stupid."
Shortly afterward the banner was reversed to display a second message to Mr. Friedman,"Jews don't need solutions from your 11,000 square foot Ivory tower."
Asked what promoted his protest, Rabbi Hecht told the Algemeiner that he has been angered by Friedman's positions on Israel, saying, "The road to peace may look straight from Thomas Friedman's very privileged worldview in his mansion on his huge estate, but for Israelis everywhere, especially Judea and Samaria, every decision is one that literally tilts the State and her citizens towards either life or death. In the real world, Jews don't need 'solutions,' Jews need safety and security in their historic homeland and reborn refuge."
Michael Knowles, a history student at Yale who attended the lecture said that the atmosphere in the room was "intense," "the cameras in the room turned towards Rabbi Hecht and the sign. Many fans of Thomas Friedman were in the audience, and they applauded when Mr. Friedman dismissed the sign," he said.
"The way that he dismissed Rabbi Hecht was surprising, I would be interested to see him respond to the issues" he concluded.
At the time of publication, Mr. Friedman could not be reached for comment.