And I simply see no evidence that -- outside of the one phrase that seems far more significant to you than me -- he wouldn't have written the column you've talked about without W&M.
Here is evidence. Use of that particular phrase engendered the anti-Semitism charge and evinced the names of W&M at the "Commentary" website. How much more evidence do you need? Now, Friedman is far from a careful writer. Nevertheless, I believe that the phrase "bought and paid for by the Israel lobby" had to have been intended to be provocative and to demonstrate that Friedman was explicitly siding with W&M in some way. Frankly, I am astounded that you refuse to see this. But this is similar to a debate in literary interpretation. I won't convince you. But, I must say, you are being tone-deaf, in my opinion. If you can show me a quote from "From Beirut to Jerusalem" or from anything else in the published opus (or even from a public speaking transcript) of Friedman that approaches this rhetoric in tone and substance and that antedates W&M, I will be quite surprised, and I might well agree that your blase attitude to the column, and to the response to it on the "Commentary" website, is justified.
On the issue of the gentiles with whom you grew up, the Jewish Israel lobby influenced them by influencing the way in which the Israel-Palestine question is framed in the media and in American politics generally. Of course, there are cultural and historical reasons that explain why American Christians might be receptive to this framing, that's obvious, and I'm not denying it. This is all part of my Jewish Lobby as necessary but insufficient condition argument. But the framing is very different in Europe, not that I am at all knowledgeable about this. I did read a sort of overview article in "Le Monde Diplomatique" a few weeks ago, and the whole slant was unlike anything in mainstream American journalism. You would have to go to Z-Net or "Counterpunch" to find its counterpart in America. In Norway, every "right-thinking" person is "pro-Palestinian," so I am reliably informed. If it were not for Holocaust guilt, I am reasonably confident that a vast majority of Germans with college degrees would be "pro-Palestinian." The point is, Israel and the US are basically alone on a diplomatic island. Even the disgraced poodle Tony Blair wanted to move the US off its dime on the Israel-Palestine question.