PoliticalNews.me - Mar 14,2017 - Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Nomination of David Friedman to be U.S. Ambassador to Israel
Mr. President, the Senate will soon consider the nomination of David Friedman to be U.S. Ambassador to Israel.
Unlike several of President Trump’s other nominees, we know a great deal about Mr. Friedman’s views on the challenges he would confront if confirmed.
Unfortunately, that is because he has made a career of disparaging and inflammatory statements about U.S. policy in the Middle East, about former U.S. officials, about the Palestinians, and about American Jews who have views that differ from his own.
We have all had the opportunity to read articles Mr. Friedman has written and to hear the outrageous, unfounded verbal attacks he has launched against those who disagree with him.
He has written falsely that President Obama and Secretary Kerry engaged in “blatant anti-Semitism;” that liberal American Jews are “far worse than kapos” and that they “suffer a cognitive disconnect in identifying good and evil”.
That the State Department has a “hundred-year history of anti-Semitism,” apparently because diplomats in both Republican and Democratic administrations have not always seen eye-to-eye with some of Israel’s leaders; and that Israel’s policy of “criticizing disloyal Arab citizens while simultaneously bestowing upon them the benefits of citizenship, simply isn’t working.”
Those comments alone should disqualify him for this sensitive position, and it is no surprise that tens of thousands of Americans have signed petitions circulated by pro-Israel groups opposing his nomination.
Mr. Friedman has also raised millions of dollars for Israeli settlers, and bragged about leading the effort to remove the two-state solution from the Republican Party’s platform.
Regarding the two-state solution, he wrote that it is “an illusion that serves the worst intentions of both the United States and the Palestinian Arabs,” in one of the many articles he has penned for a right-wing Israeli media outlet. That unequivocal renunciation of longstanding U.S. policy should also, by itself, disqualify him from the job of Ambassador to Israel.
These statements and actions not only indicate his rejection of decades of bipartisan policy; they are the words of someone who makes a mockery of the term “diplomat” and who has demonstrated no ability to be objective and constructive on sensitive issues of immense importance to U.S. security.
Mr. Friedman is certainly entitled to his own views as a private citizen, even if they are offensive and counter to U.S. interests and values. But can anyone honestly say that this nominee is qualified or suited to represent the American people in Israel?
Five former U.S. Ambassadors to Israel, who served under Republican and Democratic Presidents from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, are among the thousands of Americans who say the answer is no.
We are being asked to reconcile Mr. Friedman’s record, his personal views, and his deep ties to extreme factions in Israel, with his responsibility to objectively advance and defend U.S. interests. Unless one believes, as he has repeatedly made