'NY Times' columnist Thomas Friedman 311 (R).
(photo credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)
New York Times
columnist and former Middle East correspondent Thomas Friedman wrote
Sunday that the current Israeli government, led by Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, is "the most diplomatically inept and strategically
incompetent" in Israel's history and has put the country in a "very
dangerous situation."The prime minister, Friedman writes, calls upon the US to "stop
Iran's nuclear program and help Israel out of every pickle, but make[s]
sure that [US President Barack] Obama can't ask for anything in return -
like halting Israeli settlements."
The latest in a number of columns critical
of Netanyahu's policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians published in the past
year, Friedman accuses the prime minister of having a "do nothing"
strategy in order to avoid going against right wing elements in his
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In addition, the former NY Times Jerusalem bureau chief echoes statements attributed to Robert Gates last week, in which the former US defense secretary said that Netanyahu is an "ungrateful ally" to the United States.
Netanyahu, he suggests, has
engaged in a mobilization of US Congressional Republicans and American
Jewish leadership to publicly "suggest that Obama is hostile to Israel,"
all-the-while getting the Israel lobby "to hammer anyone in the
administration or Congress" that is critical of the prime minister.
Engaging in internal American political battles, he writes, is Netanyahu's strategy.
expressing "great sympathy for Israel's strategic dilemma" and saying
he has no delusions about its enemies, Friedman says that Israel is not
helping its friends like Obama with any tools to help defend it.
should, he writes, make "a peace overture that fair-minded people would
recognize as serious, and thereby reduce its isolation."
In perhaps his strongest rebuke, however, Friedman concludes that Israel "does not have a leader" capable of making such moves.