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Mel Atlas and Zita Rosenthal

Tom Friedman Urges Arabs
To Enter The Modern World

By Nina and Tim Boxer

URA HERZOG, wife of the late President Chaim Herzog, presided over a dinner of the America-Israel Environmental Council at New York’s Harmonie Club where New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman pleaded his case for a speedy resolution of the Israel-Palestinian quagmire.

The solution, in his view, is the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank.

September 11, he said, was the start of World War III, the totalitarian challenge to the open society.

First there was communism with rule of the proletariat. Then came Nazism, rule of the perfect race. The third challenge is Islam, which seeks to rule by the perfect faith.

Friedman urged Moslem countries to take a step into the modern world. “Waiting for an Arab leader to bring them to modernity is a fool’s errand,” he said. “It will not come from the top down.”

He pointed to India as an example of nurturing a smart society. There, the second biggest Islamic country, people can run for government, they can adjudicate without bribing a judge with a donkey, and consequently they’re not interested in blowing up the world.

“There are no Indians in al Qaeda,” he said.

He holds out hope for Iran. The young people have seen democracy and want more. They were chanting “Death to dictatorship.”

“I’ve been to Iran twice,” he said, “and I’ve been banned for life both times.”

Mel Atlas and Zita Rosenthal served as dinner chairpersons.

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