Thomas Friedman is here to scare us into believing how critical these elections are for Israel. Now, every other Israeli election was also critical, but this Israeli election is criticaler, and maybe the criticalest, in Israel’s history. Until its next election.
And why, you may ask? Because Bibi, who used to be Israel’s worst choice, has become just a security hawk and a free marketer. Now we have Bennett, a West Bank settler [who lives in tony Raanana] and religious Zionist zealot [whaaat?]. I would think Bennett is a free marketer too, but let’s not confuse the issue with his personal and political record.
Nor has Bennett advocated annexing the West Bank. As I know Friedman knows, Bennett’s tentative interim plan is to annex Area C, which is almost exclusively Jewish and would be largely included in any final peace treaty. Also, Bennett would offer Arabs of Area C full Israeli citizenship and full equality.
But pay that no mind. By Friedman interpreting fabrications presumed to be well-known facts, he gets to fearmonger: when Bennett does these terrible things everybody will hate Israel, even Europe! More fear-mongering from Friedman:
“At the same time, the neighborhood Israel lives in has never been so full of threats. If the Israeli center-left and center-right want to avoid the South African future that the Israeli far right is offering them, then they have to create a coalition that can persuade the Israeli silent majority that they understand, and can blunt, those threats — and allow Israel to securely withdraw from most of the West Bank, either in a negotiated deal with the Palestinians or unilaterally.”
Wow. Where to begin? 1) the far-right – Bennett? – is offering Israel apartheid? What’s been happening till now? 2) there’s a silent majority that thinks Israel can withdraw from most of the WB while retaining the ability to neutralize Arab genocidal intentions? Why does Friedman think the center has had such a difficult time persuading ‘the silent majority’ until now? The implications in Friedman’s writing is shockingly manipulative.
But don’t worry, Friedman knows what to do. On the advice of top-level Israeli security officer Amos Yadlin, Friedman tells us Israel has to follow the mission of Ben-Gurion, no less: that Israel should be a Jewish democratic country which is both secure and moral. Yep. That’s it.
Now even Friedman tells us that Yadlin doesn’t know if Israel has a partner for peace, in which case Israel should unilaterally withdraw to secure borders. On this point I am confident Israel knows how to do that, as it has experience. Just look at what happened in Gaza.