Top NY Times Columnist to Biden: Don’t be Netanyahu’s ‘useful idiot’

New York Times columnist says Netanyahu government is ‘not normal,’ urges Saudi Arabia and US to reject peace deal that doesn’t topple Israeli government.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In his newest anti-Israel op-ed Tuesday, influential New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman begged U.S. President Joe Biden not to support any Saudi Arabian-Israeli normalization agreement which receives the backing the current Israeli government.

Calling Israel’s democratically elected government “not normal,” and charging that it is “led by far-right Jewish supremacists,” the columnist gave the dire warning that “four years of such an Israeli coalition in power and you can kiss goodbye the notion that Israel will ever again be a reliable U.S. ally.”

Thus, he wrote that the only deal “that is in American interests” is one “on terms that would almost certainly cause the breakup of the current Israeli ruling coalition.”

Friedman referred to suggestions that a possible deal between Riyadh and Jerusalem would include Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in exchange for normalization with Saudi Arabia.

Friedman accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of not wanting to give “anything of significance” to the Palestinians and appealed to both Saudi and American leaders not to let Israel’s leader “make you his useful idiots” by agreeing to any sleight-of-hand.

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As a firm supporter of the “two-state solution,” Friedman instead suggested that the White House should demand that “in return for normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Israel must freeze all settlement building in the West Bank in the areas earmarked for a Palestinian state, if it can one day be negotiated; not legalize any more illegal wildcat Israeli settlements; and, most important, insist that Israel transfer territory from Area C in the West Bank, as defined by the Oslo accords, to Areas B and A under more Palestinian control.”

Since one of this coalition’s stated goals is the opposite, to “apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria,” he argued, it is an outright rejection of the partition of the country that has always been official U.S. policy and “America cannot let that happen.”

“Netanyahu has been unilaterally changing tenets of our relationship and testing us,” he continued. “It’s time for the United States to test his government with a clear choice: annexation or normalization.”

If this “explodes” the coalition, that would be a very good outcome, he added, as it “has to be stopped” and the country brought back to “sanity.”

Friedman made no mention of the thousands of terrorist attacks each year that Israel has suffered with the full support of the PA since giving up territorial control of the Gaza Strip and Areas A and B after signing of the Accords.

This is one of the main arguments of the Israeli right against additional concessions, along with the fact that the Jews are legally entitled to the entire country according to Article 80 of the UN charter.

Friedman’s description of the shakiness of the Israel-U.S. bond was similar to other gloomy assessments he made in July, when he wrote that a breakdown in the relationship was “inevitable” due to the “unprecedented radical behavior — under the cloak of judicial ‘reform’ — that is undermining our shared interests with Israel, our shared values.”