Once again, a Trump pick has proven to be the worst possible choice. David Friedman has been chosen as ambassador to Israel, and he’s considered to hold scarily far right views, even among the far right. I’m sure he has a “good brain” though, and that will make the specter of no peace whatsoever okay.
President-elect Donald Trump named David M. Friedman as ambassador to Israel on Thursday — proving that the Israel-Palestinian peace process is basically screwed for the next four years.
Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer and previously a Trump campaign adviser on Jewish world issues, has zero diplomatic experience and holds far right views on Israel — even among the far right in Israel. Friedman opposes a two-state solution because he believes that the number of Palestinians in modern-day Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza — currently over 6 million and expected to equal the number of Israeli Jews by the end of 2017 — is exaggerated.
“There are always creative ways to allow people to live in peace,” Friedman told Haaretz in June. “It is not always about the land. We don’t accept the idea it is only about land. Nobody really knows how many Palestinians actually live there.” He also told the publication that Trump doesn’t see a Palestinian state as “an American imperative at all.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that Friedman doesn’t believe Israeli settlements on Palestinian land — which are considered illegal under international law — are an obstacle to peace. In fact, he is president of the American Friends of Bet El; the Bet El settlement was build on private Palestinian land without approval, but Friedman’s group has sent it millions of dollars over the past few years. (Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has donated at least $20,000 to the organization.)
Friedman has also called for the United States to “veto any United Nations votes that unfairly single out Israel,” labelled the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement as anti-Semitic, and called Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands a “false notion.”
The appointment of Friedman falls in line with Trump’s own views on Israel and Palestine. The president-elect has shown remarkably little interest in helping the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Instead, he has said the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank should “keep moving forward,” promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and pointed to the illegal wall separating Israel and the West Bank — referred to as the “Apartheid Wall” or “Berlin Wall” by Palestinians — as inspiration for what the United States should do on the U.S.-Mexico border.