Nov 3, 2011
Rabbi Heckles Tom Friedman

Yale Rabbi Shmuly Hecht was not going to let New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's lecture in the university go smoothly.

By Algemeiner and COLlive reporters

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.


Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
(11/3/2011 7:41:39 PM)
a try ,,,
making a scene in a galus public forum..where the goyim mostly understand we are a laag a waste of what The Holy Reb Shmully can really do to bring light into thi world of hellum
(11/3/2011 7:45:38 PM)
Hecht with all due respect
U wish to protest .. u have every right. U didn't protest his words, you protested his wealth. You lost the conversation. It was stupid.

You could have shown a quote of his that you disliked, and said "Oh Really"? "Or wish to debate this openly"?

Being brash isn't always smart!
(11/3/2011 7:58:39 PM)
(11/3/2011 8:21:51 PM)
Former classmate of Tom Friedman's
Bravo, Rabbi Hecht! You did what needed to be done. I went to Brandeis with Tom -- a nice guy who always had unshakeable opinions and terrible political views. The Rebbe says that as people pass through various stages of their lives, their opinions change. May Tom have a middle-age awakening immediately to see the folly of his ways. Better yet, may we have the hisgalus of Moshiach immediately!
(11/3/2011 8:25:08 PM)
Yasher Koach!!
you are great!!!
(11/3/2011 8:32:22 PM)
very silly for doing this
(11/3/2011 8:39:38 PM)
I think the rabbi did look stupid.

What was the point, and what did he gain by going into a room full off Friedman supporters and trying to protest a lost cause.

Having a class with 20 students about Judaism, is far more productive.
(11/3/2011 9:36:48 PM)
not impressed
never been the way of chabad or the rebbe to snub other yidden like that. chabad does not belong in politics. our role is to be mekarev yidden, not diss them in public.
(11/3/2011 9:51:41 PM)
can someone explaine?
for those of us who know know the references or what these ppl stand for
(11/3/2011 9:52:55 PM)
Yankel Borenstein
Good for you Shmueli! We need more people to say it like it is! Ko hakovod!
(11/3/2011 9:54:15 PM)
I love it !!!!
(11/3/2011 9:57:45 PM)
u have guts
i love u rabbi hecht!!!
(11/3/2011 10:08:54 PM)
this was not the Rebbe's way
Rabbi Hecht should find more creative ways to support Israel. What did he or Israel gain from this?
(11/3/2011 10:18:17 PM)
not a kiddush chabad
not dealt with very smartly!
(11/3/2011 10:19:02 PM)
also a campus shliach
was that a kiddush Hashem? to be laughed at and ridiculed?
(11/3/2011 10:23:37 PM)
dont understand
since when did this become the role of a shaliach to protest?is rabbi shmully a shaliach or from some eliezer institute.i wish him well but i dont understand why this is his role?
(11/3/2011 10:42:06 PM)
is kinday stupid.
dont you have better things to do?
(11/3/2011 10:50:02 PM)
It's obvious from the video that the only outcome of the protest sign was that it left a very sour taste in everybody's mouth for the shliach.

Not exactly the definition of kiruv.
(11/3/2011 10:55:07 PM)
new style
does every story now get its own private video?how do i join the rabbi shmulei fan club?is this the new face of shlichus???
(11/3/2011 11:07:45 PM)
intellectual debate
is making fun of a speaker s personal wealth new standards for shluchim?how does this help bring moshiach?is this what the intellectual debate at yale been reduced to?do people think this behaviour should be encouraged.
(11/3/2011 11:10:50 PM)
t efilin
wouldnt it be better to ask tod friedman to put on tefillin rather than comment on his wealth?
(11/3/2011 11:21:13 PM)
Mearsheimer, Chomsky and Soros are out and out terror supporters. Friedman is a fool, but he is not in their category. Hecht made a very big fool of himself instead of politely sitting through the lecture and then challenging Friedman on contact. If he couldn't do it himself, he should have brought students who support his (our) views on EY. That banner is kindergarten or "Occupy" stuff.
(11/3/2011 11:25:20 PM)
Wonder what Mr.Friedman thinks about suicide bombers and jihad mouse .
Follow the Soros and Saudi financial relationship.
One world Socialism and Islamism need to be exposed for what it is...anti human,anti Jew and anti G-d.
I think you have to do what the Rebbe said to Netanyahu vis a vis the UN: "Bring the light of truth to that dark place."
-Dovid Benveniste,Tsfat
(11/3/2011 11:47:59 PM)
The Real Joe
Rabbi Hect DID the right thing which is to protest plain and simply anyone who has a problem with the way he did well we have an obligation to protest so come up with your own way, and to the people who say this is not the Chabad way well I have had heard those words before during 2005 disengagement and its proven wrong
(11/3/2011 11:49:06 PM)
Rabbi JJ Hecht would not have supported such behaviour, nor would the Rebbe, he cane across as the real clown.

If he were to wait for the question and answer series and ask a tough question, that would be exceptible, or to have a sign that read that he's having a right wing speaker to come say the truth would still have bin better.
(11/4/2011 12:10:48 AM)
the Way you present the truth
Stick to the issues you were right but gave him an excuse to make you look foolish by calling him Tommy and asking him to take a picture. with your sign. you were right but you have to do it smooth, with class, no insults.Recently , BB didnt insult anyone just said the facts, he even said how the Rebbe told him to present his case.
(11/4/2011 1:15:52 AM)
Q- you call yourself a shliach of the Rebbe?? Very wrong!! this is way out of the boundaries the Rebbe EXPECTED from his Shluchim!! Its a shame for the rest of Chabad that you would have to be so childish and look so foolish in front of other yidden. Jews who you couldve possibly had a positive effect on... had you not done something so pathetic.
(11/4/2011 1:37:21 AM)
I feel like the shliach is sending out the message that it is okay to treat whomever you want, the way he did- so long as you don't agree with there opinion, So wrong. A jew is a jew. And I don't think the rebbe would support this approach.
(11/4/2011 2:03:43 AM)
Debate -
U did well, - as they will know they have address ur issues seriously next time - did u get a Question in as well?...
(11/4/2011 2:16:55 AM)
Personal Attack???
All do respect? Whenever you make a personal attack, no one listens to you. You went after his Mansion? Therefore his views are bad?

You should have brought one sentance of his crazy views, and say just after "Want to Debate this?" or "Such a View Places Israel in Danger."

You would have made people think/question Friedmans wisdom/views. Now, they looked at you as a crazy wild hair shliach! You lost! Your video asked for opinions. I agree it the woman.

Please go back to shliachs, and give up Politics.
(11/4/2011 2:30:55 AM)
Good for you. As a student at a major university, I did my best to combat the lack of moral clarity regarding Israel. Thomas Friedman is no fool, but his writings on Israel have OFTEN irked me. Being "ridiculed" shouldn't stop a person from saying the truth. If you say anything against the "norm" supporting Israel you'll be ridiculed at college, especially "prestigious" ones. And don't worry everyone, Rabbi Shua Rosenstein is shliach at Yale
(11/4/2011 2:46:14 AM)
good on you
and by the way i found it quite funny
(11/4/2011 2:55:38 AM)
This is reminiscent of the muslim students that interrupt pro Israel speeches in universities. I cannot believe that the Rebbe's shliach acted like an immature, tactless college student. This was a big chillul Lubavitch and nothing positive was accomplished by this foolish act. You are legitimizing the secular Jewish opinion that frum yidden are radical fundamentalists. How does this fall in line with shlichus and mivtzaim by casting Lubavitch in a negative light?
(11/4/2011 3:40:11 AM)
So sad that you left an angry impression in such a public forum (especially taking into consideration the present political climate of Occupy WallStreet). We're not a bunch of rabble rousers or hecklers. With Truth on our side we have the power of intelligent conversation to educate the ill- informed. Maybe next time you will pick a more appropriate venue to get your (OUR!) point across. I was embarrassed which is usually a sign to me that something was "off." What do you honestly think was accomplished? I certainly hope you didn't push away some Frie Yidden in the process.
(11/4/2011 3:42:32 AM)
have to agree with #9
Chabad and politics have never mixed.
(11/4/2011 4:19:32 AM)
more than stupid
Rabbi Hecht should be ashamed of himself. The war of dialogue is winning by miles, and for Rabbi Hecht to be blind to that and make such a Chillul Hashem shows how stupid this is!!
(11/4/2011 6:18:20 AM)
i agree with the lady
i often read thomas friedman and if you agree with him or not he is incredibly gifted and convincing.I believe that this incident is a shanda because if a man like this was exposed to real yiddishkeit so much good can be achieved.The Rebbe wasnt into winning debates but rather helping jews,i.e. the famous story of Velvel Green.Can anyone in Lubavitch please engage friedman in real dialogue and do the real shlichus of bringing moshiach?
(11/4/2011 7:01:10 AM)
missed opportunity
mr friedman has lubavitch family and he never attacked the Rebbe and has alot of respect for chabad.I think an apology should be made because nothing was achieved by merely attacking him.I understand that people do things differently but can anyone please explain what good has come out of this sad incident. In Hayom YOm it says you know if something is good by the result caused,how has this incident helped to bring Moshiach?.It pains my heart.
(11/4/2011 7:08:01 AM)
The Rebbe Rashab said we are here to ignite neshomas not to fight .Rabbi Hecht , as a shliach needs to address this and somehow find a way to make something,anything positive out of this.This is a serious issue and I would like to know what his Head shaliach thinks of this?Why are campus Rabbis not supervised enough and they are often too young to know what to do.Can Merkos please do something about setting policy to help these young ,sincere shluchim who need direction.Maybe this is the light that can come out of this story ????
(11/4/2011 7:17:19 AM)
eliezer is eved avrohom
Rabbi Hecht is somehow associated with eliezer.The original Eliezer did everything his master told him.Is this the case here?once something has occurred how can a shlichus be rectified to make a kiddush Hashem ?Will this be discussed at the kinus ?eLIEZER was from chom and didnt dare deviate from Avrohoms words,we must all learn from this!!!Especially when we are shluchim
(11/4/2011 7:24:32 AM)
my favourite chabad website
Everything is by Hashgocha Protis.Something good needs to come out of this unfortunate incident.If collive has the courage to speak about Lubavitch Lite (and as a result people did grow in yiras shamayim)then i think this should be used as a springboard to discuss Shlichus Lite,and how shluchim can grow to understand how sacred their position is.Even if business is done on the side shouldnt we all strive for a pure shlichus the way it used to be when shluchim went to these events to put tefillin on with yidden.If we address these issues sincerely more precious kinderlach will want to become shluchim.I salute collive for bringing a forum where people can as Rabbi Hecht brilliantly said have a respectful dialogue and not a monologue.All I know is that our Rebbe is painfully waiting for all of us to do our shlichus and be real eliezers and do what the Mashalach requested and is nebach still waiting.Rebbe we need you.
(11/4/2011 8:01:21 AM)
finally someone with a little guts!!!!
Shmully, I never met you personally, but now I think you're awesome!
(11/4/2011 8:01:53 AM)
rabbi hecht has courage and a big zechus!!!
Rabbi Hecht didnt only report on this event,he actually prepared a video explaining his actions.Obviously he believes in what he did and that this should be the role of a shliach to have mesirus nefesh to stand and be completely humiliated for israel issues.I would like to use this as a positive forum to discuss if this is what our Rebbe wants from shluchim.Is this the new level of spreading Chassidus in a public forum?Maybe students will be able to connect with americas Rabbi who can relate to them through israel issues ?I thank col for allowing these issues to be respectfully discussed and Rabbi Hecht has a big zechus that he allowed this to be spoken about and learnt from.If one person grows from this DIALOGUE ,NOT MONOLOGUE then maybe standing with a poster and being screamed at and called a shanda was worth it.The real and only releavant question is ,is this what our Rebbe wants from campus shluchim?Eliezer didnt care about himself he didnt need a video to explain himself but maybe this is what shluchim should be doing?
(11/4/2011 9:02:21 AM)
Bad Idea
One can totally disagree—and should—with Mr. Friedman's views, but this is not the way to go about it. Whatever positive perception Mr. Friedman may have had of Chabad through his family (one of his relatives is a Lubavitcher) was completely undone by this spectacle. Attacking for having wealth? What's that all about?
(11/4/2011 9:07:23 AM)
clean up your act
Somebody needs a good haircut. If youre going to present yourself publicly at least try not to look like a shlump
(11/4/2011 9:44:28 AM)
Go shmulie hecht
(11/4/2011 10:06:00 AM)
but what you did rabbi was stupid!
You might not like his view but he is richer and smarter then you!
And to prove it … you’re the 1 holding a banner and he’s the 1 asked to speak
When he holds up a banner at your speech ill agree with you
(11/4/2011 10:11:15 AM)
I saw it and felt embarrassed by the low-class action of this hecht dude. In a statement that strikes to me the same as those unemployed leeches protesting in Wall Street, this rabbi made a fool of himself in front of cameras and people.

I don't understand how a seemingly smart person would even imagine that such a move would garner anything but smirks.

Tom Friedman said "That's Stupid". If I would be there I would say "You Are Stupid".
(11/4/2011 10:15:17 AM)
How exactly
Does this qualify as shlichus?
(11/4/2011 10:24:54 AM)
The right's answer to Left wing Radicalisim! Go Shmuley!!
(11/4/2011 10:44:26 AM)
whats going on?
Rabbi hecht is a master of one linners,perhaps next time he can kindly use the Rebbes line,Can we PLEASE put on tefillin.Isnt that what shluchim are supposed to do,or is that old fahioned?
(11/4/2011 11:12:32 AM)
deep concern
This is a very serious issue because Chabad has to decide what is really the shlichus agenda,to bring Moshiach or get caught up in childish behaviour.?Todays young shluchim will be setting the agenda in the future if chasveshalom ,shameful behavior like this doesnt stop Moshiach from coming.Rabbi Hecht I wish you well but please make a chesbon hanefesh and speak to your mashpia .
(11/4/2011 12:18:50 PM)
a clossal chilul Hashem occurred and its so painful because Rabbi Hecht is proud of it and made his own video promoting it.Can his head shaliach please turn this into a learning experience for all shluchim now and IRH to come.Where are the boundaries on shlichus can anyone start doing whatever they want wherever they want.Hashem please help us.We are suppossed to make the world better this is too painful and just out of control
(11/4/2011 1:42:08 PM)
Not the way a Shliach should act!
What happened to not embarrassing someone in public? If you represent Lubavitch, you should apologize, I'm sure the Rebbe would not be happy with this!
(11/4/2011 2:58:16 PM)
Did he ask a Rov a Shailah?
Hamalbin Penai Chavero Barabim applies to all Jews, even those who disagree with Torah. Next time let him either ask a question or raise a banner with a statement which is positive about Shlaimus Haretz. I congradulate the wellintended Rabbi for going but I wonder if he asked a Rov a Shailah if it's Mutar? At least Rabbi S.H. cared enough to do something but we must always do whats right regardless of how wrong someone else is.
(11/4/2011 3:13:52 PM)
Great Job!
I think Friedman's written long enough without having to answer for his ridiculous ideas and arrogant attitude. Just like the rest of the NYTimes staff, he just states false statements and never backs them up with any credible evidence.
I couldn't finish reading "From Beirut to Jerusalem" because I realized this guy either has Stockholm syndrom or he's just a self-hating Jew.

Right on, Rabbi Hecht!
(11/4/2011 3:16:46 PM)
To the guy saying this is a Chabad matter...
Please don't get all righteous and start acting like the entire Chabad community has to be "smeared" by whatever Rabbi Hecht does. When you do something dumb do you think about how that stupidity might smear the entire Jewish world? Give me a break and grow out of you Shtetl mentality already.

Rabbi Hecht can also think on his own and I happen to agree with what he's doing.

Right on Rabbi Hecht!
(11/4/2011 3:21:02 PM)
When Avrohom Avinu smashed the idol's, not only did old Yente's scream "Shaande" at him, but they actually threw him into the furnace, mind you, When the "Frierdiger" Rebbe (Rayat"z) went to visit the office of one Mr. Krebs (a maskil) in Russia and grabbed the professor's folder which contained his report (to the Czar's govt.) against orthodox Jewry of Russia, which took him many months to prepare, and the Frierdiger Rebbe went on to tear it to shreds, the liberal Jew went wild and slapped the Rebbe across his holy face, did this negative reaction, ever stop a Yid with a caring heart from continuing to jump into fire in order to help the Jewish cause? if anyone has a better idea, please "stand up and be heard" not on these columns of comment & opinions , but in the so called "real world" but until we hear from you, Hecht is the best and only voice.
(this also reminds me of a Sicha of the Rebbe, something to this effect, "I don't get frightened when people call me bad names, as I grew up in my fathers home who happened to be the Rov of a very large city, and when he didn't find favor in someones eyes, they would use name calling, so i'm used to it.")

Thanx to Hecht and his likes for trying to wake us up.
Moshiach Now !!!
(11/4/2011 5:05:36 PM)
comment 59 is absurd
Because you refuse to see the Rebbes agenda clearly you have the absolute audacity to say-HECHT IS THE BEST AND ONLY VOICE- how can someone be so blinded and refuse to acknowledge that a massive chilul Hashem occurred ,even bigger than hechts ego.
This comment has not helped Rabbi Hecht but merely helped him justify his shameful behavior.Where is his head shaliach?
How dare anyone manipulate and misquote our holy Rebbe to rationalise disgraceful behavor.
(11/5/2011 8:23:48 PM)
A Jew who is silent is held responsible

It is obvious that one should not wonder when a Jew states an opinion regarding issues in Eretz Yisroel - though he owns just an “Amah Al Amah” there, Not only is he entitled to express an opinion, – even if his opinion is not regarded. But on the contrary, if he is silent- he bears responsibility for all that transpires there!
(Sicha of Purim 5730)
(11/8/2011 6:56:50 PM)
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