Alternet - Donald Trump announced that his pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel is David Friedman, a far-right proponent of Israeli annexation of the occupied West Bank who aggressively promotes settlements considered illegal under international law and vows to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem, which would instantly launch international outrage.
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.”
Friedman also has a history of attacking Jewish organizations he believes are not hardline enough, including the liberal Zionist organization J Street, which itself has fallen under criticism for defending Israeli war crimes. In an article published in June, Friedman referred to the J Street as “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.”
J Street immediately registered fierce opposition to Friedman’s appointment, claiming that he “should be beyond the pale.”
NY Magazine - David Friedman is a bankruptcy lawyer who believes the two-state solution is an “illusion,” Barack Obama is anti-Semitic, and that Israel has a legal right to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank — or else to annex the territory in its entirety.
He believes that America’s embassy in Israel should be immediately relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — even though decades of Republican and Democratic administrations have opposed making such a move before a peace deal is secured, as both the Israelis and Palestinians see the city as their rightful capital.
Friedman has nothing but contempt for Jews that disagree with him. Last June, he wrote the following about members of J Street — an advocacy group for pro-Israel Americans who oppose the occupation of the West Bank and support a two-state solution:
Finally, are J Street supporters really as bad as kapos? The answer, actually, is no. 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.