OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Thomas Friedman’s fantasy

Israel relinquishes its biblical homeland to be sandwiched between two Arab states, one of which just demonstrated its determination to slaughter civilians.

“New York Times” columnist Thomas L. Friedman on ABC News. Source: Screenshot.
“New York Times” columnist Thomas L. Friedman on ABC News. Source: Screenshot.
Jerold S. Auerbach
Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of 12 books, including Print to Fit: The New York Times, Zionism and Israel (1896-2016) and Israel 1896-2016, selected for Mosaic by Ruth Wisse and Martin Kramer as a “Best Book for 2019.”

Long ago, during his undergraduate years at Brandeis University, Thomas L. Friedman joined a left-wing Jewish advocacy group that favored a two-state (Israel and Palestine) peace solution along pre-1967 Six-Day War lines. That would deprive Israel of its biblical homeland in Judea and Samaria (commonly identified as Jordan’s West Bank). Ever since, as New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief and columnist, he has risen to prominence as an unrelenting critic of Israel.

Friedman’s recent full-page Opinion column on Nov. 15, calling for a “Biden Mideast Peace Plan,” exemplifies his unrelenting castigation of Israel for its failure to embrace his solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

His preference, predictably, is “a Biden administration plan to create two states for two indigenous peoples living in the areas of Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.”

In translation, Israel would relinquish its biblical homeland and be sandwiched between two Arab states, one of which (the Gaza Strip) has recently demonstrated its determination to slaughter Israelis, even when they are enjoying themselves dancing and singing within their recognized border.

Friedman, to be sure, recognizes the Hamas “atrocities” that resulted in the murder of more than 1,000 Israelis. But he cannot resist lacerating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his “in-your-face rebuke” of the recent suggestion by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Gaza be unified with the West Bank under the rule of the Palestinian Authority. Israel would then be sandwiched between two Arab states—one of which (Gaza) has now horrifically demonstrated its determination to massacre innocent Jews. Friedman, not surprisingly, enthusiastically approves the Blinken solution.

Friedman’s laceration of Netanyahu is unrelenting. He reprimands the Israeli leader for his dependance on “Jewish supremacists and settlers” to prevent Palestinians from “legitimate, independent representation in Gaza or the West Bank.” Without supporting evidence, he castigates Netanyahu for “campaigning in the middle of this war” to stifle Palestinian Authority attempts to assert control over this territory. (The “West Bank,” to be sure, comprises biblical Judea and Samaria.)

It is, for Friedman, time for Biden to make clear that the United States will not become Netanyahu’s “useful idiot.”

The writer anticipates that once the war ends, the Biden administration will “lay down the principles of a fair peace plan.” For Friedman, “fair” means support for “moderate Palestinians” who, it might be noticed, have yet to appear in Gaza. He imagines the time—how far into the future he does not say—when Gaza will be governed by “a legitimate Palestinian authority committed to the principle of two states for two peoples.” Friedman is unlikely to hold his breath until then.

In his familiar role as self-appointed pontificator about what is best for Israel, Friedman advises Biden to inform Israel that in return for American support, it must accept “a peace framework based on two states for two indigenous peoples in Gaza, the West Bank and pre-1967 Israel.” In translation, Israel must relinquish its biblical homeland.

In yet another Friedman delusion, Israel—aided by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain—would collaborate in a plan to “overhaul the Palestinian Authority, purge its education system of anti-Israel material” and “upgrade its forces that work daily with Israel security teams in the West Bank.” Israelis are not likely to embrace that dream.

Friedman also envisions collaboration between the United States and assorted Arab allies whereby the Palestinian Authority would remove anti-Israel material from its education program. As fantasies go, this might be at the top of the list.

Thomas Friedman, to be sure, is free to hallucinate a Palestinian-Hamas-Israeli embrace leading to a two-state solution. But his replacement of reality with delusion is, to say the least, absurd.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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