Does the Times' Tom Friedman understand anything about religion?

Reading today's op-ed by Tom Friedman in the Times - "The Virtual Mosque" - he appears to act as a reductionist to equate the political and social power of the Mosque in Iran with that of twitter and facebook.

And yes he also literally asks about what is happening in Iran, "...is any of this good for the Jews..."

The first point is ludicrous. Religion through its leadership and via the mosques holds sway over peoples lives with authentic political power. Twitter and facebook are merely means of communication and publication. Yikes.

The second point is more ludicrous. When we say amongst ourselves, "Is it good for the Jews?" it is often in a self mocking tone, implying, let's get petty about world events.

Friedman may be breezy in his style but ordinarily he is not jocular in his column. So if he is serious, what is the deal?

We don't think Tom is losing it. Or is he?

Here's the conclusion of his op-ed on Iran as he turns to the "good for the Jews" part of his thoughts.
And that brings me to Netanyahu. Israel was taken by surprise by events in Lebanon and Iran. And Israeli officials have been saying they would much prefer that Ahmadinejad still wins in Iran — not because Israelis really prefer him but because they believe his thuggish, anti-Semitic behavior reflects the true and immutable character of the Iranian regime. And Israelis fear that if a moderate were to take over, it would not herald any real change in Iran, or its nuclear ambitions, but simply disguise it better.

But there are signals — still weak — that another trend may be stirring in the region. The Iranian regime appears to be splitting at the top. This could challenge Netanyahu’s security framework. Israel needs to be neither seduced by these signals nor indifferent to them. It has to be open to them and must understand that how it relates to Palestinians and settlements can help these trends — at the margins. But a lot starts at the margins.

“The rise of these moderate forces, if it is real and sustained, would be the most significant long-term contribution to Israeli national security,” argued Gidi Grinstein, the president of the Reut Institute, a think tank. “If some of these moderate forces started to converge, then the overall status of Israeli security would improve radically.” It is still way too early to know, he said, “but Israel needs to be alive to this process and not simply rely on its old framework.”

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