February 14, 2017
Jewish Dems Opposed to Trump Pick for Amb. to Israel David Friedman
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s pick to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, will have his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. If confirmed, Friedman will be, without question, the most inexperienced U.S. Ambassador to Israel in history. He is also unabashedly pro-settlement and in opposition to a two-state solution. These positions conflict with long-standing U.S. policy, and, seemingly, Trump’s most recent public positions. The National Jewish Democratic Council issued a statement requesting that the Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee ask the following questions, in order to clarify Friedman’s qualifications for U.S. Ambassador to Israel:
“We were concerned when news broke in December that President Trump picked Friedman to be U.S. Ambassador to Israel. The position is extremely serious. It is usually only given to career diplomats or individuals with decades of experience either in the government or the Foreign Service. Friedman, on the other hand, has spent his life acting as Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer, while bashing liberal Jewish groups and funding right-wing settlements in Israel. Based on his (lack of) qualifications alone, we are opposed to his nomination, and we believe all Senators – Democrats and Republicans – should raise the following issues while questioning Friedman on Thursday.”
Last fall, Friedman opined that, “There has never been a ‘two-state solution’ – only a ‘two-state narrative.’” In his article, he explains that he believes the two-state solution was simply a “shakedown” by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas – a ploy by the Palestinian government in order to extort money from the U.S. State Department. He claims the Palestinians were never sincere about their desire for statehood. This is deeply troubling because a two-state solution is the only option if there is to be peace between Israelis and Palestinians. There is a reason why it is such a long-standing U.S. policy. The Foreign Relations Committee should be sure to ask Friedman about this.
In May 2016, Friedman wrote an article in Arutz Sheva he said that a sizable segment of liberal Jews are, “far worse than the kapos,” Nazi concentration camp prisoners who collaborated with their captors at the expense of other prisoners. Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee should clarify this despicable comment, especially since, if confirmed, Friedman should be representing and working with Jews from all corners of the United States, notwithstanding his pledge not to meet with such professed Israel supporters.
On two different occasions, Friedman has accused President Obama of being anti-Semitic. Not only is this offensive to those of us who believe Obama had a very good relationship with the Jewish community, it also makes us question if Friedman has the diplomatic temperament that would be required of a U.S. Ambassador to Israel. This is something the Foreign Relations Committee should absolutely address in their questioning.