Rabbis, cantors and survivors

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.



  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    Israël couldn’t do much better with Friedman than Canada with Sarah Pallin as ambassador.
    It’s a sad sad day for diplomacy and democracy; an even sadder one for human rights.

    Listen to the New York Times after Trump’s meeting today with Netanyahu:

    Trump, Meeting With Netanyahu, Backs Away From Palestinian State

    Trump and Netanyahu on Israel’s Future
    Trump and Netanyahu on Israel’s Future
    President Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel discussed an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord and other issues during a joint news conference on Wednesday.
    February 15, 2017
    WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that the United States would no longer insist on a Palestinian state as part of a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians, backing away from a policy that has underpinned America’s role in Middle East peacemaking since the Clinton administration.

    “I’m looking at two-state and one-state” formulations, Mr. Trump said, appearing in a joint news conference at the White House with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.”

    Mr. Trump’s comments were a striking departure from two decades of diplomatic orthodoxy, and they raised a host of thorny questions about the viability of his position. The Palestinians are highly unlikely to accept anything short of a sovereign state, and a single Israeli state encompassing the Palestinians would either become undemocratic or no longer Jewish, given the faster growth rate of the Arab population.

    Mr. Trump did not address these dynamics, preferring to focus on his confidence that he could produce a breakthrough agreement. “I think we’re going to make a deal,” Mr. Trump said, describing that as personally important to him. “It might be a better and better deal than people in this room even understand.

    We all know Trump’s feelings to the Palestinians. His cabinet well testifies to the effed up DNA of Muslims- a sentiment of one of Trump’s top picks.

    Trump has played his diplomatic cards telling Netanyahu to slow down the settlements but we all know that nothing will be done on his part to punish Israel for continuing this injustice and create anything but peace.

    But even as Mr. Trump drastically reoriented American policy, he told Mr. Netanyahu to stop building new housing in the West Bank for the moment. “I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit,” he told Mr. Netanyahu, whose government has been racing to announce new settlement construction in the weeks since Mr. Trump’s inauguration.”

  2. 2
    mushafta Says:

    You have to wonder how stable the entire Middle East is tonight following Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu.

    Talk about stacking the deck! Trump clearly backs Netanyahu’s one state solution and with his choice of his son-in-law Kushner as the Middle East envoy to this volatile region is like throwing more gasoline on a raging fire.

    What on earth are the prospects of peace in this region with such a behemoth of a mammal like Trump? If there’s chaos in the White House this night with all the bewilderment surrounding the new administration, you can only imagine the chaos forthcoming coming in the Middle East.

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