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Thomas Friedman Beats Israel Black and Blue over Red Lines

Thomas Friedman takes aim at his favorite whipping boys, Israel and Netanyahu, whom he accused of not accepting the “Green Line.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/23/2012, 12:41 PM

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman took aim on Sunday at his favorite whipping boys, Israel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whom he accused of not accepting the “Green Line." referring to the 1949 temporary Armistice Lines.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly demanded that President Barack Obama draw clear red lines for Iran to know that the United States is serious about exercising the “military option” to carry out its pledge that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon, which it presumably would aim at Israel.

President Obama has rejected Israel’s demands, and Friedman, as he routinely does when it comes to Israel, went to bat for the president.

The columnist, who once wrote that Israeli “settlers” are the Jewish state’s version of terrorists, put the Palestinian Authority-Israeli conflict on the same scale as the prospect of a nuclear Iran that could not only blow up the Middle East but also could attack American bases.

“Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel has been loudly demanding that America publicly draw a ‘red line’ in respect to Iran’s nuclear program that would delineate exactly when the U.S. would launch a strike against Tehran,” he wrote Sunday.

“Bibi is Winston Churchill when it comes to demanding that the U.S. draw red lines, but he is a local party boss when America asks him to draw a ‘green line’ delineating where Jewish settlements in the West Bank will stop and a Palestinian state might start,” he continued.
“Oh, no! Can’t do that, Bibi tells American officials. ‘I would lose my coalition.’ So America is supposed to risk a war with Iran, but Bibi won’t risk anything to advance a deal with the Palestinians that might create a little more global legitimacy and sympathy for Israel, and America, in the event of a war with Iran. Thanks a lot.”

Friedman began his column with a quote from Myanmar’s democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has stated, “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

He then weighed in on several world leaders, including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi, Republican House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Netanyahu.