'NYT's Columnist Friedman slams Israel's stance on Egypt

But, citing 'Jerusalem Post' interview, says Sharansky is the one Israeli who got it right, calls cabinet "out-of-touch, in-bred, unimaginative."

February 14, 2011 10:20
2 minute read.
Thomas L. Friedman

Thomas Friedman NYT. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


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New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (pictured) criticized Israel’s lack of support for the Egyptian people in an op-ed article Sunday, saying “the children of Egypt were having their liberation moment and the children of Israel decided to side with Pharaoh – right to the very end.”

Friedman stated that he was worried about Israel’s future because in a time when the Middle East is beginning a period of great change, “Israel today has the most out-of-touch, inbred, unimaginative and cliché-driven cabinet it has ever had.”

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He said that during the crisis the Israeli approach was to attempt to convince the Obama administration to support Hosni Mubarak against the protesters calling for his ouster as Egyptian president, and to say “Look at us! Look at us! We told you so! We are the only stable country in the region, because we are the only democracy.”

Friedman slammed the government for, on the one hand, saying Israel is Washington’s only reliable ally because it is a democracy but contradicting this by saying “whatever you do, don’t abandon Mubarak and open the way there for democracy.”


The journalist said that Jerusalem’s concerns about the peace treaty with Egypt being upheld are valid and understandable but that their behavior concerning the upheaval in Egypt is not benefiting Israel.

“The ferocity and popularity of Mubarak’s ouster should have told Israelis that they need to get to work immediately on building a relationship with the dynamic new popular trend here, not to be trying to cling to a dictator who was totally out of touch with his people.

“And, as we sit here today, the popular trend is not with the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, what makes the uprising here so impressive – and in that sense so dangerous to other autocracies in the region – is precisely the fact that it is not owned by, and was not inspired by, the Muslim Brotherhood,” Friedman wrote.

Friedman said that the only Israeli politician who “totally got it right” was Natan Sharansky who, in a Jerusalem Post interview with Editorin- Chief David Horovitz stated “that partnerships with dictatorships are unsustainable – that people cannot permanently be repressed, that they will push for freedom the moment they sense weakness in their tyrannical leaderships.”

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