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Tibon writes: "Five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel sent a letter on Wednesday to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urging them to reject the nomination of President Trump's candidate for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, because of what they define as his 'extreme positions' and because he is 'unqualified for the position.'"

David Friedman, Trump's pick to be U.S. ambassador to Israel. (photo: Mike Segar/Reuters)
David Friedman, Trump's pick to be U.S. ambassador to Israel. (photo: Mike Segar/Reuters)


Former US Ambassadors Urge Senate Not to Confirm Friedman as Trump's Israel Envoy

By Amir Tibon, Haaretz

17 February 17

 

David Friedman's 'extreme positions' make him 'unqualified for the position,' former American envoys to Israel Pickering, Kurtzer, Walker, Cunningham and Harrop write Senate.

ive former U.S. ambassadors to Israel sent a letter on Wednesday to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urging them to reject the nomination of President Trump's candidate for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, because of what they define as his "extreme positions" and because he is "unqualified for the position."

The letter, a copy of which has been obtained by Haaretz, is signed by former ambassadors Thomas Pickering, Dan Kurtzer, Edward Walker, James Cunningham and William Harrop - diplomats that have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

The five former ambassadors stated that they "care deeply about Israel" since it is a U.S. ally and a democratic stronghold in the Middle East. Then they explain how they view the duties of the U.S. ambassador to Israel, which they said include strengthening Israel's security and advancing the prospects of peace between Israel and its neighbors. They maintain that these have been bipartisan goals of U.S. foreign policy for decades.

David Friedman, they claim, does not share this view regarding the ambassador's role. The group quoted his position that the two-state solution is "an illusory solution" and his support for settlements in the West Bank. "We urge the committee," they added, to "address the question of whether Mr. Friedman would defend as ambassador the established American view that annexation of West Bank territory, outside the context of an international resolution, would be counterproductive and a violation of international law."

(photo: Haaretz)

The former senior U.S. diplomats also mentioned Friedman's characterization of the U.S. State Department – his future boss – as anti-Semitic, and his repeated claim that supporters of the left-wing Jewish group J Street are worse than "kapos" – Jews who cooperated with Nazis during the Holocaust.

"These are extreme, radical positions," the letter says, urging the Senators to examine whether Friedman "has the balance and the temperament required to represent the United States as ambassador to Israel."

Finally, the signatories noted that Trump has recently spoken out against the construction of new settlements, saying they could hurt the peace process, and asked whether Friedman could support this kind of policy. They concluded by stating Friedman is, in their eyes, unqualified to be ambassador to Israel.

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+1 # janie1893 2017-02-18 01:43
Freedman is needed to help Trump get a shooting war going in that area.
 
 
+9 # California Neal 2017-02-18 04:40
I hate the way "left" & "left-wing" get tossed around in US, & here Israeli, media, when "progressive" would be a far more fair term. J Street is an organization of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who seek a safe & democratic Israel, & the pursuit of Jewish & democratic values leading to a two-state solution. This causes hardliners & others unused to Jews who see the Palestinians as people entitled to a fair & peaceful outcome to disparage J Street, but as you can see from this description, or from going to JStreet.org, this is not a radical group. It truly is pro-Israel & pro-peace. And it supports a two-state outcome, just like the five former ambassadors to Israel & the last several Presidents of the United States. Another Jewish American organization supporting a two-state solution, opposing the confirmation of David Friedman, & deserving support is Jewish Voice for Peace (jewishvoicefor peace.org).
 
 
0 # maindrains 2017-02-18 15:05
Friedman sounds like a poor choice.However, the supposed support by the US and other western countries for a two state solution may be official policy but it is not backed up by any action to support it. If the US would block all future military and financial aid to Israel until they get out of the West Bank, East jerusalem and other areas set aside for Palestinian state, the problem, while temporarily disruptive for Israel (but they should have anticipated that) would be solved. The longer the west lacks the courage to do what is right, the bigger the problem will become - for everybody. Middle east peace is unattainable until this one step starts it.
 

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