A bankruptcy lawyer who supports illegal settlements as ambassador to Israel? Many in the Jewish community see the folly of such a stunningly, obtuse choice.
An open kletter from over 600.
We are writing today as rabbis and cantors asking President Trump to withdrawthe nomination of David Friedman to be the United States Ambassador to the State of Israel.
Failing that, we implore the US Senate not to confirm him.In this letter, we will address concerns around his denigration of American Jews who believe differently from him and his policy positions that we believe run contrary to the interests of the United States and Israel.
The rabbis of the Talmud are adamant that we are to speak to and about other people — particularly those with whom we disagree — with love and respect. We are taught that shaming a person is tantamount to shedding their blood (BabaMetzia 58b). Yet Mr. Friedman seems to have no qualms about insulting people with whom he disagrees
Mr. Friedman has repeatedly compared members of the Jewish community whose views on Israel differ from his own to “kapos,” who were Jews who collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust. He called members of J Street,a pro-Israel organization that wants to see peace between Israelis andPalestinians, “worse than kapos.” He has even questioned whether its more than180,000 supporters are really Jews — as if he has the right to decide such a weighty matter.
This is the very antithesis of the diplomatic behavior Americans expect from their ambassadors.
An ambassador is charged with representing our entire nation. It is historicallyperverse and wildly insulting to characterize Jewish advocates for peace,including many of the signers of this letter, as no better than Nazi collaboratorsplotting to destroy the Jewish people.
If Mr. Friedman cannot responsibly understand history, he cannot responsiblyshape the future.The situation in and around Israel is volatile. Mr. Friedman’s inflammatorycomments about Jews, Palestinians and Muslims and the peace process itself areprecisely the type of comments that can ignite further conflict and drive deeper wedges between parties.
While we believe the above should be enough to disqualify Mr. Friedman, wehave grave policy concerns as well. Mr. Friedman vocally supports the expansionof Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which American presidents since Johnson have seen as an obstacle to peace
Moreover, Mr. Friedman opposes the two-state solution, which has been a policy cornerstone for Republican and Democratic administrations for the past quarter century. We are very concerned that rather than try to represent the US as an advocate for peace, Mr. Friedman will seek to mold American policy in line with his extreme ideology.