Starting a Column with a Lie?

Thomas Friedman in the New York Times: “Israeli friends have been asking me whether a re-elected President Obama will take revenge on Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu for the way he and Sheldon Adelson, his foolhardy financier, openly backed Mitt Romney. My answer to Israelis is this: You should be so lucky.”

I’m pretty sure it’s true that Netanyahu would rather have had Mitt Romney in office than Barack Obama. But “openly backed?” That’s just false. But note that Friedman cleverly gave himself plausible deniability for spreading this falsehood, by attributing it to his “Israeli friends.” And of course Friedman does want Obama to “take revenge” on Netanyahu, making the whole column an exercise in concern trolling. It’s too bad Israel can’t have a government that Friedman really admires, like China’s.