"The Arab Spring presented Bibi with the opportunity to build new relations with Arabs across the region, founded not on alliances with dictators but on shared values of democracy and freedom. The starting point of such a recalibration [sic] of relations should have been found in Israel's policies toward the Palestinians."HAHAHA! Amazing. Yes, the world really does revolve around the Palestinians, doesn't it? I'm not sure if Ms. Friedman bothered to notice but the "Arab Spring" did not affect the Palestinians, the two terror groups remain in power just like they have been. In fact the one thing that the "Arab Spring" proved is that Israel and the Palestinians are not anywhere near as important as everyone thought they were. The Middle East has moved on from both of them, and it doesn't become Ms. Friedman to stay in denial about it.
Secondly, I'm curious what exactly Ms. Friedman expects Netanyahu to do. There still is no central government in Libya and Tunisia, and he has barely maintained the alliance with Egypt. And let's not forget that all these new governments are, you know, Islamist. But hey, who has time for reality when Netanyahu Derangement Syndrome takes over?
This obsession with Netanyahu and the Palestinians takes another form when she brings up Iran, which has been the subject of most of Bibi's attention since he has taken office:
"The Obama Administration has made preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons a top foreign policy priority. Bibi has undermined this goal by treating Iran less as a shared foreign policy challenge and more as a weapon to use to undermine Obama, as well as to marginalize the Palestinians and give cover to his own anti-peace policies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem."Yep, that's right. This whole Iran thing isn't really about nuclear weapons or the future of the Middle East. No way! It's all one big dog and pony show to distraction from (you guessed it!) the settlements yet again. I guess the UN and all the sanctions are also part of the big distraction? What evidence is there for any of this, do you ask? Well, Lara Friedman cares a lot about settlements so therefore they are the most important thing happening in Israel, all the time. Hilarious.
After a few more general attacks on Netanyahu, here is her big conclusion:
"The truth is, nobody can know to what extent things might be different today if Bibi had acted differently over the past three years."Yeah, nobody can. But let's blame Netanyahu for them anyway, right? After all, he's on the right and that means he is and always will be a villain in the eyes of Peace Now, even if he wasn't Israeli. And lest you think I am exaggerating:
"But, equally, nobody can seriously argue that Bibi's policies haven't been tremendously harmful to Israel and to the cause of peace. For this, it is absolutely right to blame Bibi, and to approach the possibility of a new Bibi-led government with serious concerns."Actually, I can seriously argue that quite easily. Unlike Olmert, Bibi hasn't led Israel into two major wars. Things have been peaceful and stable (as much as they ever are) during his reign. Sure, there have been diplomatic crises with us and Turkey, but they have remained diplomatic and haven't escalated into "the real world." Hamas and the West Bank have been quiet.
Ms. Friedman just wrote an entire article trying to explain what "tremendous harm" Netanyahu has caused Israel but it really hasn't worked. There is no "tremendous harm" there and saying so over and over again doesn't make it truth.
A more legitimate criticism of Netanyahu is that he hasn't done enough (or really anything) to make peace with the Palestinians, probably because he has been more focused on Iran. But saying "he hasn't done enough" doesn't sell mouse clicks on the Huffington Post. So why be measured and realistic when you can be shrill and angry? That's about what we expect from Peace Now.