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.

Chabad Rabbi Protests Thomas Friedman at Yale

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, 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?” 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.


  • Good Move!

    I applaud to a courage and move that RSH had taken. I am sick and tired of these communist “intellectual” patsies like Mr. Friedman. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Chavies Mr. Friedman and other communists are real threat to the World of Freedom.

  • Canadian Dave

    You know you could have asked him a question without putting him on the defensive like that…. I disagree with just about everything Friedman has to say but I will concede that it was impossible to have an intelligent conversation

  • There is a Shaliach at Yale ..

    THere is a Shaliach on Yale ..Does the esteemed R Hecht confer with him ..THere were many Jewish students there..Will this alientae them ..No we are not afraid of speaking the truth yet anyone with a bit of intellegence wonders what was accomplished here..

  • dont understand

    is this shmully hecht or shmully boteach?When did shluchim change their job description?

  • america new rabbi

    is this rabbi shmully ready to become americas new rabbi?he did a great job pure hecht talent and now we have a spokesman with chutzpa longer than his hair.

  • rebbes agenda

    why is it courage to be rude and brazen.wouldnt it be corageous to ask tommy to put on tefilin.Isnt that what our Rebbe would want???How do we teach our children what shlichus really is?Someone please help me know what the Rebbe would say

  • bad move

    yale is suppossed to be a place of intellect not fast one linners.If rabbi shmully from eliezer something or other would of asked mr friedman to do a mitzva the old lady would of been impressed.thats unfortunately a lost opportunity

  • Jason Lewis

    Although I disagree strongly with most of Mr. Friedman’s opinions about the Middle East in general and Israel in paticular, I find Rabbi Shmully’s comment on the banner relating to Mr. Friedman’s 10,000 sq. ft. Ivory Tower irrelevant and even hypocritical.
    Last time I checked Rabbi Shmully’s homestead is quite impressive down town New Haven. Focus on the issues Rabbi Shmully, not on the trimmings.

  • shliach is where?

    where was the shliach at yale when this happened.Why is there only a eliezer representative ??

  • wrong title

    it should of been called how chabad fell behind,not america.Since when is this a shliachs mission of bringing moshiach ?why is this behavior glorified by this excellent website with an introductory video.Is this what our children need to appreciate about shlichus?

  • new minhag

    does every story now get a introductory video if we do somethingexciting.why is this news and what is eliezer society ?

  • Milhouse

    The headline should be changed. The Eliezer Society is not a Chabad organization, and R Hecht, at least when he acts as its head, does not represent the Rebbe. That’s a good thing, because I agree 100% with what he did in this case, but it would have been very wrong for an official shliach to do it. Lubavitch cannot be involved in political activism. The Frierdiker Rebbe declared an official policy that Lubavitch is nonpartisan, and the Rebbe only broke that once, and made it clear that it was a unique exception that would not be repeated. For a shliach to participate in this sort of demonstration would drag the Rebbe’s name into it, and that would be against the Rebbe’s will. Since Rabbi Hecht was acting in his capacity as the head of a non-Lubavitch society he was free to do this, and in my opinion he deserves a big yasher koach. But change the headline, please. Take out the word “Chabad”.

  • not my style

    i respect the passion i not sold that this was the rebbe’s way.

    i would be closer in tone to the shliach at yale who seems to be
    less confrontational.

  • Hard to take seriously.

    I think people would take Rabbi Hecht more seriously if he cut his hair shorter.

  • yungerman

    I like what he did as long as not in the name of Chabad. Friedman is a real lowlife and he needs to be confronted. Glad the Shliach Rabbi Rosenstein wasn’t there.

  • real dialogue or debate needed

    This is an excellent website and this is an opportunity as Rabbi Hecht so eloquently expressed for dialogue not monologue.Can Rabbi hecht please explain to everyone how this is shlichus and if young shluchim should emulate this behaviour.While things like this are being done our Rebbe is waiting for us to do more mitzvos and finish our shlichus.Where is Rabbi Hechts Head Shalich to madrich him? It was obviously very important to him as he prepared his own introductory video,perhaps he is crying out for some direction?He is very talented and just needs a chassidisher mashpia.Someone please help

  • applauding courage

    please read the comments for and against this episode and you will be able to see who has intellegence and who isnt thinking properly.It is so painful that this is what ‘shlichus” HAS BECOME.

  • great positive challenge

    Rabbi Hecht is a great guy and I challenge him to come back next week with a brand new video of him putting on tefillin with fellow Jews.That will give him alot of positive encouragement and show everyone how truly talented he is.If it can be done for something negative how much more so for something positive,

  • lets be positive

    Rabbi Hecht needs to find positive ways to get attention.I agree with number 18.He is very good at making videos,he actually made one about famous jews at yale.If we all give Rabbi Hecht alot of positive encouragement and much praise he will use his energies for good things.Can people please post alot of nice things about Rabbi Hecht so it will help his self esteem and thus klal yisroel.Maybe Rabbi hecht can give us a weekly dvar tora or something else nice and positive on his own homemade video

  • Dovid Eliezrie

    As someone who knows Tom Friedman and has argued with time and again about Israeli policy I am deeply disturbed by this protest. Tom is no way comparable to Chomsky and Soros who undermine the very idea of Jews unique connection to Eretz Yisroel. Tom is a deeply passionate Jew, whose ideas are to the left. He has broad influence due to his column in the NY Times. I deeply disagree with him, and think that if Israel adopted his policies it would undermine its security. I have found him respectful and open to vibrant debate with those who do not share his perspective. However I would never equate him to self hating Jews like Chomsky etc.

    Shmuly Hecht should have seized the moment to challenge him on his ideas in a respectful intellectual fashion. Such a dialogue would have had value.
    Tom has been in Yechidus, has very close relatives who are Lubavitchers he treats them with great dignity and respect. Even though they do not share his views on Israel or other issues in Yiddiskiet.

    The way of Chabad is Darchie Shalom, this protest did not reflect those values. We were always taught to act with Ahavas Yisroel to every Jew. Loving them while respectfully disagreeing with them. Sadly this protest was not representative of those ideals that we taught by the Rebbe to exemplify.

  • lets all help please

    I agree with 23 and 24 if we give rabbi Hecht nice positive compliments then he wont have to embarace Chabad and our Rebbe in public.Rabbi Hecht will see that doing good things gets good attentionLets all please praise Rabbi Hecht with only nice words.

  • please connect our rabbi hecht with

    Rabbi Hecht you are a great guy and I think you should take rabbi Eliezrie as a mashpia.Notice he didnt attack you personally and he gave you alot of positive attention and much encouragement.

  • rabbi eliezrie for mashpia

    Rabbi Hecht you are a great guy and did you notice how Rabbi Eliezrie didnt attack you personally and gave you alot of p[ositive attention.You should take him as a mashpia.I know you will grow greatly from this experience but you need a mashpia.

  • real mandelbaum plse stand up

    I know the answer to all the problems Rabbi Hecht thought Reb Dovid Mandelbaum was the real co author and was upset that they didnt ask him for a quote.This is a limud zechus.Remember we have to all be positive and give rabbi Hecht only positive attention.

  • Shmuley & Shmuley

    Between Shmuley Hecht and Shmuley Boteach, Is this only what Chabad can produce?

  • distraught Lubavitcher

    I have to agree with Friedman – Mr Hecht, will all due respect, holding up a sign is NOT dialogue, but a monologue. And, if you were better educated and well read, you would not compare Chomsky or Mearsheimer to Friedman. Friedman is a proud Jew , unlike Chomsky. How can you drag the name of Lubavitch in the mud by being so provocative. This is NOT the way of Chabad – maybe you should’ve asked him to put on Tefilin after the talk, and used that opportunity to engage in dialogue, as you profess. What a chillul Hashem and chillul Lubavitch.

  • Chanie

    Mr Hecht, maybe you should do some reading – you won’t equate Friedman to the likes of Mearsheimer and Chomsky. Educate yourself.


    While all of this is happening young Jews at yale are searching for Yiddishkeit looking to connect to Hashem and somehow fancy banners are being made,double sided in case of emergency,fancy prelimenery videos where the maker waxes so poeticly and NEBACH jews who need help are being ignored.

    Is this the new face of shlicas and Lubavitch?iT IS TOO PAINFUL TO CONTINUE

  • Chabad

    Sometimes drastic measures need to be taken to be heard. As he was not acting as an official Chabad representative (nor did he look like one…) I think that the message was conveyed in the most effective way possible.

    Well done Shmully!

  • please answer rabbi Hecht

    Rabbi Hecht finished his grand video to the world of Lubavitch wanting to know our thoughts“Im curious to hear what you think?”Perhaps in his quest,lifelong committment to dialogue other peoples opinions actually count.
    Rabbi Hecht what are you going to do to fix this Chilul Hashem?Why do Friedman and the old ladys feelings dont count.Why dont you debate Rabbi Eliezrie?Why do you look like Bozo the clown and dont get a haircut?

  • i support you

    i support you rabbi shmuli 100% he is fighting against israels enemies that try to delegitimize it

  • ohev shalom

    Did Rabbi Shmully ever try engage Mr Friedman in a dialogue . ? if yes and he and his ideas were thrown out ,then he had a right to make his video and protest! If not then he needs to look deeply and question his motives for this demonstration… . maybe he is needy of attention .