If the United States truly seeks a lasting peace in the Middle East, President Trump's choice to be our country's next envoy to Israel is the wrong man. David Friedman will bring only a lengthy record of conflict and provocation to the job.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) issued the following statement on David Friedman, President Trump’s pick to be the next ambassador to Israel:
"If the United States truly seeks a lasting peace in the Middle East, President Trump’s choice to be our country’s next envoy to Israel is the wrong man. David Friedman will bring only a lengthy record of conflict and provocation to the job.
Friedman has likened liberal Jews to “kapos,” a term used to refer to Jewish prisoners who worked for the Nazis during the Holocaust. He’s called President Obama an anti-Semite, and referred to Jewish Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer as an appeaser. Though he apologized for his “hurtful” remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, Friedman obviously lacks a deft diplomatic voice.
But it’s not just his words that disqualify him. As Republican Sen. Bob Corker pointed out, Friedman has recanted nearly every strongly held belief he’s had on major, sensitive Israeli regional issues. Though he’s strongly endorsed settlements, Friedman now says he agrees with Trump’s recent comment that they “may not be helpful.” As for a two-state solution, which he also opposed previously, Friedman now says it may be the best hope for peace.
Five former ambassadors under Republican and Democratic presidents have deemed him unsuitable for confirmation, citing his “extreme, radical positions” on these and other issues. Worse, unlike his predecessors, Friedman lacks diplomatic experience; his major credential appears to be handling legal work for Trump’s casinos. The President has an abysmal early record on Jewish issues. He’s hired a senior strategist best known for running a media outlet that gives voice to anti-Semitic rhetoric. Trump unconscionably failed to mention Jews in an International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, which his staff has stunningly justified.
And the president was also unacceptably slow to denounce a growing tide of anti-Semitism that’s coincided with his rise to political prominence. Now Trump is potentially upending decades of American Middle East policy by backing away from a two state-solution to secure a lasting peace. I fear that adding the extreme and provocative voice of David Friedman to his policy team is just another flawed move by Trump, and it will only make a lasting peace more elusive."
CONTACT: David Damron, David.Damron@mail.house.gov, or 202-906-0542