Monday, November 09, 2009

Friedman: Call White House, Ask for Barack.

It's surprising that Tom Friedman - of all bloody people - would go here, and yet he does:

Let’s just get out of the picture. Let all these leaders stand in front of their own people and tell them the truth: “My fellow citizens: Nothing is happening; nothing is going to happen. It’s just you and me and the problem we own.”

Indeed, it’s time for us to dust off James Baker’s line: “When you’re serious, give us a call: 202-456-1414. Ask for Barack. Otherwise, stay out of our lives. We have our own country to fix.”

If the status quo is this tolerable for the parties, then I say, let them enjoy it. I just don’t want to subsidize it or anesthetize it anymore. We need to fix America. If and when they get serious, they’ll find us.
He's talking about the Israel/Palestine issue. That's astonishing, until one thinks about it for a minute, and realises that what he is stating is actually Netanyahu's wet dream. Netanyahu wants the pressure on him (to concede to peace talks) to recede, and - bang on cue - up pops Friedman to argue that Israel and Palestine should be left to their own devices.

I have been arguing on here for weeks that Obama needs to increase the pressure on Israel, and up pops Friedman to argue that it should be lessened. Indeed, that the US should actually disengage. It sounds reasonable, especially in the light of recent Palestinian threats to disengage from the peace process, but what is Friedman actually saying?

He is saying that the Israelis should be left to do whatever they want to do against their unarmed neighbours and that the US should stand aside.

That argument would be feasible were it not for the fact that the US is Israel's main financier.

If Friedman really wants the US to step out of this war, then he needs to argue for a cessation of US funding of the Israelis. And for the US to stop automatically vetoing any resolution at the UN which is critical of Israel.

But he's never going to argue that.

Instead, he's going to pretend that he's being even handed, whilst arguing for exactly what Natanyahu's government wants.

Because it's silly to argue that the US should step out of a conflict when we all know that it is arming one side of that conflict. What Friedman is actually saying is that Obama should leave Israel alone. He's just saying that whilst trying to appear even handed.

Click here for Friedman's article.

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