FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2016 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally in New York. The idea he presented: Swiftly pass a repeal of President Barack Obama's healthcare law, perhaps so Donald Trump can sign it the day he takes the presidential oath, then approve new legislation restructuring the nation’s huge and convoluted health care system despite Republican divisions, Democratic opposition and millions of jittery constituents. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File) (AP)

Donald Trump's new Israel ambassador compared Jews who criticize Israel to Jews who helped the Nazis

Trump's new ambassador to Israel not only lacks diplomatic experience, he also doesn't know Godwin's Law


Matthew Rozsa
December 16, 2016 7:13PM (UTC)

President-elect Donald Trump has announced that bankruptcy lawyer David M. Friedman will be his ambassador to Israel.

Friedman is notorious among the left for comparing progressive American Jews to the Jews who helped the Nazis during the Holocaust, as The New York Times reported on Thursday.

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“The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty,” Friedman wrote in a June editorial for the website Aruz Sheva. “But J Street? They are just smug advocates of Israel’s destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas — it’s hard to imagine anyone worse.”

J Street is a nonprofit advocacy group led by Jewish Americans who criticize Israel's policies toward the Palestinians.

Friedman is also being criticized for his questioning of a two-state solution, which has been a staple of American foreign policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict, and for his lack of diplomatic experience.

“The two nations have enjoyed a special relationship based on mutual respect and a dedication to freedom and democracy,” said the Trump transition team in a statement. “With Mr. Friedman’s nomination, President-elect Trump expressed his commitment to further enhancing the U.S.-Israel relationship and ensuring there will be extraordinary strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries.”

Friedman wants to break with decades of American foreign policy when it comes to Israel's settlements in the West Bank, according to The Washington Post. The U.S. has considered them illegitimate since 1967, but Friedman has always been in favor of Israel building them.

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Given Friedman's far-right views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, reactions on Twitter were predictable — concerned among journalists, dismayed among liberals, and jubilant among conservatives.

 


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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