Friedmometer: Bibi’s Opportunity
Friedman calls on prime minister to put his new coalition to work on peace
The Friedmometer tracks left-of-center conventional wisdom about the state of peace in the land between the river and the sea through the eyes of Thomas Friedman.
Today, Friedman marvels at Prime Minister Netanyahu’s formidable new coalition—clever: “There are Arab dictators who didn’t have majorities that big after rigged elections”—makes the well-told (and persuasive) case that it is in Israel’s long-term interests to strike a real deal with the Palestinians, notes that Netanyahu would seem to have the political backing to make such a deal, and then tells Bibi it’s up to him to do it (he suggests Ami Ayalon’s “constructive unilateralism”).
The Friedmometer should, therefore, be way over on the left: the ball is squarely in Bibi’s court, and he’s not returning it, right? Well, what Friedman ignores, elides, or just maybe actually gets is that Netanyahu has that massive coalition in part because he hasn’t made significant moves toward peace. And if most of Friedman’s op-ed is a plea for action, its beefy third paragraph is an explanation of why there has been none:
I’m keeping an open mind, but the temptation for Bibi to do nothing will be enormous. The Palestinians are divided between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and both populations are tired. Moreover, economic conditions have improved in the West Bank in recent years, and the Palestinian Authority’s security forces are keeping a tight rein on anti-Israeli violence. Aid from the U.S., Europe and the Arabs pays a lot of the authority’s budget. Israel’s security wall keeps Palestinian suicide bombers out. The U.S. election silences any criticism coming from Washington about Israeli settlements. The Israeli peace camp is dead, and the Arab awakening has most Arab states enfeebled or preoccupied. So Israel gets to build settlements, while the Arabs, Americans, Europeans and Palestinians fund and sustain a lot of the occupation.
Friedman just described, accurately, a “temptation” which, I’m sad to say, excepting literally George Washington almost every politician would fall for.
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.