Thomas Friedman: PM leads Israel's most inept gov't ever

'NY Times' columnist pens another rebuke of Netanyahu, says he's incapable of conducting proper diplomacy; has "do nothing" strategy.

September 18, 2011 11:48
1 minute read.
'NY Times' columnist Thomas Friedman

'NY Times' columnist Thomas Friedman 311 (R). (photo credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)


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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 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 coalition.

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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.

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."

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.

Although 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.

Israel 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.

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