Jewish congressmen criticize Trump’s Israel envoy nominee

Donald Trump, right, along with his attorney David Friedman, left, exiting the Federal Building following their appearance in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, New Jersey, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News via Getty Images)


(JTA) — Two Jewish Democrats in Congress said President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Israel ambassador is dangerous and out of sync with U.S. Jews and U.S. policies.

U.S. Rep Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Friday that confirming David Friedman as the U.S. ambassador to Israel will have “dangerous consequences for both the United States and Israel.”

The nomination of Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who for years has worked for Trump and his real estate development business, was announced Thursday.

Nadler said in the statement issued a day after the appointment: “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, 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,” Nadler said.

Nadler said that Friedman’s views and public comments about a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians “are not only a total break from decades of American and Israeli policy, but are fundamentally out-of-step with the views of the majority of American Jews.”

“Breaking from this position 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,” the statement said.

In a June 2016 essay for the pro-settler Israeli news site Arutz Sheva, Friedman wrote that J Street supporters are “far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.”

“Mr. Friedman’s appointment is even more disturbing given his hateful rhetoric in describing, for example, some supporters of a two-state solution as ‘worse than kapos.’ Using Nazi imagery, such as the term kapo — a reference to Jews who cooperated and/or assisted the Nazis during the Holocaust — when referring to Jews or Israel today, no matter the circumstance, is broadly deemed to be anti-Semitic and should be condemned in the same way it would be if someone who was not Jewish were to use it. Mr. Friedman’s extreme views and use of such hateful language is an insult to the majority of American Jews,” Nadler said.

Nadler said that with Friedman’s appointment Trump  has “continued the divisive politics that were regularly on display during his campaign.”

Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky echoed Nadler’s statement on Saturday in a post on Facebook.

He said in the post that the appointment of Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel “is totally out of step with longstanding, bipartisan US foreign policy. 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.”

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