President Elect Trump has selected David Friedman, a prominent bankruptcy lawyer and strong advocate for the state of Israel to be in charge of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. This change in policy shows that we as a nation will stand tall with our closest ally in the Middle East.
Trump said, “His strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission and be a tremendous asset to our country as we strengthen the ties with our allies and strive for peace in the Middle East,”.
Soon after the nomination, Matt Brooks, the executive director for the Republican Jewish Coalition, responded positively by stating that the decision was “a powerful signal to the Jewish community.”
When Friedman accepted the nomination he said, “I am deeply honored and humbled by the confidence placed in me by President-elect Trump to represent the United States as its Ambassador to Israel,” and he promised “to work tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region.”
Although Trump, Brooks, and Friedman feel confidant about this decision, it has not come without criticism.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D), bashed Friedman Dec. 16th by saying that he is a threat to “the U.S.-Israel relationship going forward.” He then labeled Friedman as a radical and claimed that “His appointment is not only offensive to both American and Israeli Jews, it again signals the intent of Donald Trump and the Republicans who support him to align with extreme right-wing positions.”
Friedman has also received ample criticism from Nadler for comparing J Street Jews to “kapos,” which is a derogatory term for Jews that supported Hitler during the holocaust. He said, “They are far worse than kapos,” he wrote. “The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty and who knows what any of us would have done under those circumstances to save a loved one? 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.”
Nadler said that Friedman had insulted American and Israeli Jews when he “used nazi imagery” and went on to say that it, “no matter the circumstance, is broadly deemed to be anti-Semitic and should be condemned in the same way it would be if someone who was not Jewish were to use it.”
It is hard to estimate how common Nadler’s opinion is on Capitol Hill because congress is not currently in session. But even still, the response to Friedman’s nomination this week has been oddly quiet, especially when looked at in comparison to the several statements that were issued in outrage to Trump’s other nominations by Democrat officials.
A theory from Dylan Williams, a J Street lobbyist, is that the reason for the overall ignorance of Friedman’s nomination and his is due to the fact that he has never been in an official diplomatic role. He said, “For the average member of Congress and their staff, he’s an unknown,”.