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Varkiani writes: "President-elect Donald Trump named David M. Friedman as ambassador to Israel on Thursday - proving that the Israel-Palestinian peace process is basically screwed for the next four years."

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Thursday, December 15, 2016. (photo: Matt Rourke/AP)
President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Thursday, December 15, 2016. (photo: Matt Rourke/AP)

Trump's Pick for US Ambassador to Israel Is Frightening

By Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, ThinkProgress

16 December 16


Bye-bye, peace process.

resident-elect Donald Trump named David M. Friedman as ambassador to Israel on Thursday — proving that the Israel-Palestinian peace process is basically screwed for the next four years.

Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer and previously a Trump campaign adviser on Jewish world issues, has zero diplomatic experience and holds far right views on Israel — even among the far right in Israel. Friedman opposes a two-state solution because he believes that the number of Palestinians in modern-day Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza — currently over 6 million and expected to equal the number of Israeli Jews by the end of 2017 — is exaggerated.

“There are always creative ways to allow people to live in peace,” Friedman told Haaretz in June. “It is not always about the land. We don’t accept the idea it is only about land. Nobody really knows how many Palestinians actually live there.” He also told the publication that Trump doesn’t see a Palestinian state as “an American imperative at all.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that Friedman doesn’t believe Israeli settlements on Palestinian land — which are considered illegal under international law — are an obstacle to peace. In fact, he is president of the American Friends of Bet El; the Bet El settlement was build on private Palestinian land without approval, but Friedman’s group has sent it millions of dollars over the past few years. (Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has donated at least $20,000 to the organization.)

“A Trump administration will never pressure Israel into a two-state solution or any other solution that is against the wishes of the Israeli people,” Friedman told a rally of Trump supporters in Jerusalem in October.

Even conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pretended to be committed to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the two-state solution. After announcing that there would be no Palestinian state under his leadership while campaigning last year, Netanyahu was met with a barage of criticism and reversed his disavowal two days later.

But Friedman is unabashed in his views. He has even called President Obama, who reached the largest U.S. military aid deal with Israel in history, an anti-Semite. He has also made casual Holocaust comparisons, calling the liberal Jewish non-profit organization J Street “kapos,” referring to Jewish Nazi collaborators in concentration camps.

“The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty and who knows what any of us would have done under those circumstances to save a loved one?” he wrote in June. “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.”

Friedman’s nomination confirms that the United States will be taking the Israeli-Palestinian peace process even less seriously under Trump than under past U.S. administrations. In the statement announcing his nomination, Friedman said he looked forward to serving as ambassador “from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is not the Israeli capital according to international law, and past U.S. administrations have not recognized it as such, arguing that its status must be agreed upon in negotiations with Palestinians.

Friedman has also called for the United States to “veto any United Nations votes that unfairly single out Israel,” labelled the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement as anti-Semitic, and called Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands a “false notion.”

The appointment of Friedman falls in line with Trump’s own views on Israel and Palestine. The president-elect has shown remarkably little interest in helping the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Instead, he has said the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank should “keep moving forward,” promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and pointed to the illegal wall separating Israel and the West Bank — referred to as the “Apartheid Wall” or “Berlin Wall” by Palestinians — as inspiration for what the United States should do on the U.S.-Mexico border. your social media marketing partner


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0 # Activista 2016-12-16 15:49
“Apartheid Wall” or “Berlin Wall” by Palestinians —  as inspiration for what the United States should do on the U.S.-Mexico border. Hundreds will be killed there - keep free América del Norte.
+14 # DongiC 2016-12-16 18:58
Scanning Trump's appointments, we get an idea how bad its going to get. Friedman is sure a loser.
+6 # Radscal 2016-12-17 01:10
Yes. Is he a big enough loser that the people of the US will finally stand up to the Zionists?

HRC promised to take our relationship with Israel "to the next level." Trump seems to be planning the same. But at least with Trump, we may get some organized resistance.

Which reminds me, I haven't called or written my Representatives demanding that we abide by our own and International Laws and cut all funding to Israel until they abide by International Law and the relevant UN Resolutions.

But it's going to take more than that.
+3 # RLF 2016-12-17 07:08
Letters only get read if they come with a $10,000.00 check.
-1 # Radscal 2016-12-17 17:42
Allegedly phone calls are more effective at getting your message through.

But still, the people have a statistical zero influence on legislation.
+6 # elkrug amigos 2016-12-17 00:49
What peace process? It has always been a hoax, directed especially at the people of the United States, designed to make them think their government is on the side of peace. It is a smokescreen behind which Israel can continue its colonization of the territories it conquered in the 1967 war, with the winking condemnations from the U.S. government. Of course, the U.S. has never done anything to stop the annexations.

With Trump and Friedman, the masks are finally off, and the world can finally acknowledge U.S. policy toward Israel for what it is. With the absurd notion that the U.S. could act as an "honest broker" in talks between Israel and Palestine discredited, Israel will have to deal with the U.N., which could possibly impose some serious sanctions. And among the Palestinians, the leaders who supported a "peace process" will be gone. There is finally the possibility of justice rather than peace.
+3 # RLF 2016-12-17 07:07
If one wanted to create anti-semetic feelings in the country, I couldn't think of a better ambassador!
-1 # Radscal 2016-12-17 17:46
I've seen people who came to oppose the brutal, racism of Zionism end up become genuine Jew-Haters precisely because they don't see enough of the Jewish community stand up to these fascists.

Of course, the Zionists actually encourage this. They have always profited from Jew-hatred, and so have always encouraged it.

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