Josh Marshall says that David Friedman is about as far right on the spectrum of Israeli politics as one can imagine, calling him the ‘worst of the worst’.
Friedman represents the extremes of the most vicious and destructive elements of rightist Zionism and the indeed the most radical elements of American Jewry.
Chemi Shalev captures the essence here.
By Israeli standards, Donald Trump’s designated Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is an extreme right-winger. He might find a place in the settler movement or with Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi Party, but only on its right-wing fringes. He makes Benjamin Netanyahu seem like a left-wing defeatist. From where Friedman stands, most Israelis, never mind most American Jews, are more or less traitors.
Friedman has repeatedly attacked J Street, the pro-Israel, pro-Peace group, and its members as worse than the Jewish collaborators who served the Nazis during the Holocaust.
You can learn more about Friedman’s awful biography and views here.
The announcement was heavily assailed by human rights activists. “David Friedman’s appointment as U.S. ambassador to Israel indicates that the Trump Administration has aligned itself with the farthest right elements of the Israeli government,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director for Jewish Voice for Peace.
Responding to his appointment, Friedman proclaimed, “I intend to work tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”
For decades, the U.S. embassy has been located in Tel Aviv, with the U.S. government maintaining that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through peace negotiations. While the U.S. has a track record of funding, arming and politically backing Israeli occupation and apartheid, critics warn that Friedman’s statements signify a dangerous lurch to the right. “This flies in the face of international norms around territory occupied by war and would reconfirm the perception that U.S. is not an honest broker in this conflict,” Naomi Dann, spokesperson for Jewish Voice for Peace, told AlterNet. “This is a very clear step towards annexation.”
The idea that the US is an ‘honest broker’ between Israel and the Palestinians has always been a joke. The US government has in the past meekly acquiesced in Israeli expansionism and continued to massively subsidize that country while providing occasional mild verbal protests at its creation of an apartheid state. That pretense is now over. The US has dropped the veil of being an impartial negotiator and is now an open partisan.
Marcus Ranum says
The US has dropped the veil of being an impartial negotiator and is now an open partisan.
I agree. It just means that when the palestinians finally stop fucking around and mount a serious vietcong-style insurgency, the end-game is going to be bloodier and nastier.
Well, I was half-expecting a holocaust denier. Funny how the exact opposite makes for an acceptable bed-fellow. This takes a biscuit. Or two.
This isn’t an example of why Donald Trump is such a frightening prospect as President. This is more about how frightening Mike Pence is as Vice President. Don’t dump this on American Jewry, as except for the most far right religious types, those who oppose negotiating peace with the Palestinians so do because they think the Palestinians will never give up their hope for a judenrein levant and therefore, will never negotiate in good faith. If they ever got a peace agreement they thought was sincere, they’d accept it, Even if they had to give up all the settlements on the West Bank to do it, because they recognize it would be good for Israel. This guy represents evangelicals. They don’t support Israel, it just fits into their plans. From their perspective, all of “greater Israel” has been given by god to the Jews, who must return there so that Jesus can come back. Which is to say, even if they got a sincere offer of peace, they would reject it regardless how much Israel would benefit from it.
Trump would sell out Israel if he though it would help him build a seaside resort/casino/golf course in Gaza.
Congress just passed a law that equates criticism of Israel with anti Semitism. Several states have recently passed laws making it illegal to boycott Israel. These changes have been pushed by the Israel lobby.
Friedman’s appointment is simply a natural next step. At some point the Israel lobby and its supporters have to ask themselves whether they bears some responsibility for Israel’s lurch to the right, and for treating it like a sacred object immune from criticism rather than just another foreign country.
How on Earth does that work? Are people required to buy a certain amount of stuff from Israel or something?