Published On: Mon, Dec 19th, 2016

Trump’s Israel Ambassador Designate David Friedman Slammed On All Sides

David Friedman, Donald trump’s pick to be America’s next ambassador to Israel, does not seem to be very popular. He is being hit on all sides from American politicians and Jews alike.

The 55 year old Orthodox Jewish bankruptcy lawyer from Long Island is a controversial pick because he has been an opponent of the two state solution — whereby the Palestinians would eventually have an independent State in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — and a supporter of the more right wing elements in Israeli politics. Some argue that whoever assumes the position of U.S. ambassador to Israel must take a neutral position on theses issues. But many Israel supporters argue the opposite; the American ambassador is not supposed to be the ambassador to both Israel and the Palestinians.

But David Friedman took the extreme step of comparing the members of J Street to Kapos in the concentration camps during the Holocaust. J Street is a lobbying group in Washington which has taken a left-wing position on the Israeli settlements and the issue of a final settlement with the Palestinians. The Kapos were Jewish concentration camp inmates who became trustees and who were known to be crueler to their fellow Jews than even the SS guards in some cases.

Now two Jewish Congressman, both Democrats, have come out in opposition to David Friedman’s appointment. U.S. Rep Jerrold Nadler released a statement saying, “The nomination of David Friedman as the new U.S. Ambassador to Israel underscores, yet again, the extremist agenda of Donald Trump and his administration.”

“This is an appointment with dangerous consequences for both the United States and Israel, ” added Nadler. “Not only with respect to the prospect of an eventual negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but also with respect to the relationship between our two countries, and more generally, to regional stability.”

And Congressman Nadler also said that diverting from the U.S. position of more than two decades now on the Middle East conflict “undermines the longstanding diplomatic alignment between our two countries, and magnifies the risk to Israel’s long-term safety and security by increasing dangerous regional instability.”

Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth made similar comments on Facebook over the weekend.

“Donald Trump’s appointment of David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel is totally out of step with longstanding, bipartisan US foreign policy, ” he said. “At a challenging and precarious time in the Middle East, catering to right-wing inflammatory views that will unnecessarily strain our relationships in the region is extremely dangerous. We should be working toward a two-state solution, with both Jews and Palestinians living alongside each other in peace and security.”

Most Donald Trump supporters, however, would be dismissive of any criticisms of his appointments which come from Democrats.

Both David Friedman and his supporters certainly have a point when it comes to criticisms of previous American ambassadors to Israel, especially since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. They have behaved more like a generic Mid-East envoy who needs to be equally responsive to the needs of the Palestinians as to the Israelis. The U.S. ambassador to Israel does not really need to be popular with Israel’s enemies.

On the other hand, David Friedman’s past comments attacking Israel’s Left and their supporters in America went too far. As ambassador to Israel he will need to acknowledge that about half of the population believes not only in the two state solution, but in the dismantling of settlements as well and it will not be his place to interfere in Israeli domestic politics.

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