Washington and Riyadh must not help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government drive Israel over a cliff by gifting it a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman urged in a piece he published on Tuesday.
“Do not let Netanyahu make you his useful idiots,” Friedman wrote in an appeal to US President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“You cannot have normalization with an Israeli government that is not normal. It will never be a stable US ally or Saudi partner. And right now, Israel’s government is not normal.”
He spoke amid heightened diplomatic activity to reach a security agreement between Riyadh and Washington that would include a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel in exchange for gestures to the Palestinians.
Netanyahu, Friedman wrote, is trying to “sweet talk” the United States into a deal by which he can both curtail Israel’s Supreme Court while becoming a “domestic hero” through a deal with Saudi Arabia that would only make cosmetic gestures to the Palestinians and allow Israel to continue to annex the West Bank.
To top it all off, Netanyahu through this deal would get “Saudi Arabia to pay for it and Joe Biden to bless it,” Friedman wrote.
Factions in Netanyahu's government 'are like the KKK'
He likened parties within Netanyahu’s government to the US hate group the Ku Klux Klan, warning that it sought to forge ties with far-right European parties with a history of antisemitism, but which also could support Israel’s application of sovereignty over West Bank settlements.
Netanyahu’s government “has to be stopped,” Friedman stated.
There are many in the United States, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in denial about the threat Netanyahu’s government poses, Friedman wrote.
“It is hard for US diplomats, the US military, US citizens and US Jewish organizations to grasp that their role now is to save Israel from an internal Israeli Jewish threat, manifested by the government itself,” Friedman wrote.