President-elect Donald Trump has chosen his own bankruptcy lawyer, David Friedman, to be the American ambassador to Israel. Friedman's shocking beliefs about Israel and Palestine, however, should disqualify him as a potential ambassador and could lead to devastating consequences.
Peace between Palestine and Israel has always been tenuous, but there are three beliefs that America stands firm on in its foreign policy with Israel in order to promote peace.
We support a two-state solution that honors Arabs and Jews living in the region.
We do not acknowledge Israel's growing settlements as legitimate.
Friedman's beliefs and aims fly in the face of all of these crucial policy precedents.
When Trump announced that he had chosen Friedman for the appointment, Friedman said that the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem, Israel's "eternal capital."
Friedman is outspokenly against the two-state solution, comparing Jews who support it to Nazi collaborators or "kapos," who turned their fellow Jews into the authorities during Hitler's reign of terror.
Friedman attacked J Street, a notable Jewish organization which supports the two-state solution, saying, "They are far worse than kapos — Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps. The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty and who knows what any of us would have done under those circumstances to save a loved one? But J Street? They are just smug advocates of Israel’s destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas – it’s hard to imagine anyone worse."
The idea that advocating for the human rights of Palestinians is supporting the "destruction" of Israel is not one that any ambassador should be permitted to bring to international diplomacy.
Right-wing Israelis have heralded Trump's election as the end of "the era of the Palestinian state." Friedman claims that Trump would support Israel annexing the West Bank, making a lasting peace agreement a practical impossibility.
Friedman's appointment must still be approved by the Senate before it is made official, but it is deeply troubling that Trump wishes to appoint him to this important role.
J Street issued a statement on the proposed appointment, saying "Friedman should be beyond the pale for Senators considering who should represent the United States in Israel. This nomination is reckless, putting America’s reputation in the region and credibility around the world at risk."
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