Wow. Is Even Thomas Friedman Tiptoeing Away From Israel?

I did something unusual today.  I actually read an entire Thomas Friedman Op-Ed piece.    Even more unusually, he was writing about Israel.  I have pretty much given up on Friedman saying anything substantial in general and about Israel in particular.  But there was a whiff of reality and an undertone of despair to the piece.  (link  Another sign of Israel-fatigue per my recent post on John Kerry’s walk-away here.

The last two paragraphs of Friedman’s piece are, to my eye, “new” news.  There is a new tone of despair/resignation/foreboding.

“The truth is Kerry’s mission is less an act of strategy and more an act of deep friendship. It is America trying to save Israel from trends that will inevitably undermine it as a Jewish and democratic state. But Kerry is the last of an old guard. Those in the Obama administration who think he is on a suicide mission reflect the new U.S. attitude toward the region. And those in Israel who denounce him as a nuisance reflect the new Israel.  Kerry, in my view, is doing the Lord’s work. But the weight of time and all the changes it has wrought on the ground may just be too heavy for such an act of friendship. If he folds his tent, though, Israelis and Palestinians will deeply regret it, and soon.”

Friedman has/had clung to the increasingly threadbare belief in the existence of a realistic sensible-middle-ground outcome in the Israel/Palestinian peace process.  This was predicated on the existence of realistic, sensible, middle-of-the-road actors in positions of actual power.  Which is a little like believing in unicorns.*

The “news” here isn’t that there seems to be not path to a realistic peace (with both  Palestinians and Israelis united in preserving a progressively more toxic status quo).  That has been clear for a while.  The news is that “establishment” Americans are increasingly willing to acknowledge that in public.  We live in interesting times…

*  Another example of Unicorn-spotting is his Times colleague David Brook’s positing the existence of a sensible, middle-of-the-road Republicanism.  I wish there was one, but as the Russian folk-saying goes “If wishes were cucumbers, your mount wouldn’t be a mouth it would be a vegetable garden.”  Or something like that…

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