Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eydar - Thomas Friedman revisited

Dror Eydar..
Israel Hayom..
24 May '12..

We live in a region rife with "celebrations" and "springs." Many around the world were excited to see 50 million Egyptians go to the polls to cast their votes in the presidential election, "the first vote since the time of the pharaohs."

An esteemed expert on the Middle East told me: Yes, this is the first democratic election, but it could also be the last. Egypt could end up with an Islamist parliament, government and president who root out the democratic process, or the military may choose to intervene and stage a coup.

In any case, as far is Israel is concerned the forecast isn't looking good: The peace treaty with Egypt is dissipating, its embassy in Cairo is barely functional and a vast majority of the Egyptian public supports nullifying the peace agreement and even favors war.

It's amusing to watch the media try to mitigate the catastrophe by searching for the Egyptian candidate who is the lesser evil for Israel. Some have pinned their hopes on the"secular" and "Western-oriented" Amr Moussa, as opposed to the unenlightened religious candidates. It's amazing how quickly things can change: The person responsible for some of the most venomous campaigns against Israel has suddenly become the great hope of the West. It's not unlikely that Moussa, too, could turn out to be serious trouble.

In light of the democratic festivities, I was reminded of an analysis about the Arab Spring by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who is venerated across the globe as well as by Israel's Army Radio. More than a year ago, Friedman wandered around Tahrir Square, intoxicated with joy, and dispatched articles to his newspaper that were more akin to Beatles' songs — something like "make love not war."

Writing with colonialist condescension customarily reserved for the natives, Friedman showered the Israeli government with fire and brimstone for not being excited about the Tahrir chaos. He compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pharaoh and Egyptians to the people of Israel seeking freedom from bondage to the original pharaoh: Hosni Mubarak.

"Indeed, what makes the uprising here so impressive — and in that sense so dangerous to other autocracies in the region — is precisely the fact that it is not owned by, and was not inspired by, the Muslim Brotherhood," Friedman wrote in February 2011. Amazing, but this is what the "most important" journalist in the world concluded back then. Now he is advising Netanyahu "to make history" — or, in other words, to compel Israel to commit diplomatic suicide once again, following in the footsteps of the delusional Oslo and disengagement dreamers.

Look at Egypt, look at its list of candidates for president and parliament. Consider how the barrier that Egypt placed in Iran's path in its effort to infiltrate the heart of the Arab world has collapsed — and then read Friedman's unfounded articles. His other advice should be approached this way as well.


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