Battle lines are being drawn over Donald Trump’s choice to be Ambassador to Israel.
David Friedman is a bankruptcy lawyer who has done work for Trump. Friedman is a vocal opponent to the long-standing U.S. policy of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, insulting American Jews who do support it.
When named last week, Friedman said he looked forward to doing his job “from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem” instead of Tel Aviv, where the embassy has long stood, pending a negotiated deal about the status of the holy city.
Trump campaigned on promises to change U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere. What will that mean for the nearly 50 year stalemate between the Israelis and Palestinians and how the United States deals with other countries in the region?
Israel and Palestine Won’t Get a Two-State Solution Under Donald Trump. But They May Get Something Better.
Haroon Moghul – Quartz
Establishment policymakers in the West still believe that the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel is not only possible, but desirable. This stance conveniently ignores the fact that there’s little plausible chance a Palestinian state would survive.
Now is not the time to double down on occupation, as Friedman proposes. Instead, we need to do the opposite: The greatest guarantor of a society’s stability, prosperity, and sovereignty is its ability to provide all those under its rule with a genuine sense of dignity and equality.
Instead of erasing national, cultural, or religious differences, Israel needs to find an intelligent way to forge a shared future.
Israel Needs Its Arab Friends More Than U.S. Embassy Move
Eli Lake – Bloomberg View
Israel since its founding has fought a political war with most of the world just for recognition of its right to exist. A U.S. embassy in Jerusalem is a potent symbol that the world’s most powerful democracy affirms that right without condition.
But it is nonetheless just a symbol. Today, Israel has tangible diplomatic opportunities in the region its founders could have never imagined. The Saudis work closely on security and intelligence challenges with a state it still officially calls, “the Zionist entity.” Israel’s relationships with Jordan and Egypt have never been better, despite the fact that the peace process is a dead letter.
Trump’s New Ambassador to Israel Heralds a Radical Change in Policy
Aaron David Miller – Foreign Policy
Looking for someone outside the system isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Professional diplomats and experts certainly don’t have the market cornered on what it takes to be a good ambassador. And Friedman clearly has a great deal of experience with Israel and apparently knows Hebrew as well.
Instead, what concerns me about the departure — and it’s a radical departure — are the statements that Friedman has made on policy issues. Whether they represent his personal views or will come to reflect the policies of the Trump administration is not yet clear. What is clear is Friedman holds views on some issues, such as support for Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and opposition to a two-state solution, that contradict years of U.S. policy.
LISTEN: Wilson Center event from December 19, 2016 about Israeli and Palestinian expectations from a Trump Administration. Speakers include; Jane Harman, President & CEO of the Wilson Center; Aaron David Miller, Wilson Center VP & Distinguished Fellow; Saeb Erekat, Chief Negotiator & Secretary-General for the Palestinian Liberation Organization; and David Horovitz, founding editor of The Times of Israel.
Trump’s Nominee for Ambassador to Israel Is Unfit to Serve
Jeremy Ben-Ami – The Washington Post
As the Nazis rolled into Vienna in 1938, my father was helping boats full of Jews escape down the Danube River….At the same time, my mother and her family escaped Vienna in 1938, not down the river, but over the Swiss mountains. Her grandmother and many cousins weren’t so lucky.
So when David Friedman, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel, attacks me and Jews who share my politics on Israel as “worse than kapos” and not really Jews, it’s not only a horrific insult to my parents’ memory but also a stinging indictment of the character and the fitness to serve of the man who uttered those words. The term “kapo” refers to Jewish prisoners who were elevated by Nazi guards to supervise concentration camp operations.
What views do I hold that could evoke such hate?
One Ambassador, Two States
Jonathan S. Tobin – Commentary
The two-state solution remains the ideal way to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But all too many of those who ritualistically endorse the concept and are appalled at the notion of a skeptic being the ambassador to Israel are unwilling to think seriously about why that scheme hasn’t been put into effect yet….
If Friedman’s appointment signals that Trump intends to cease second-guessing Israel’s sensible refusal to make suicidal concessions and that they will discard the idea that it is America’s duty to save Israel from itself, all friends of Israel should welcome it.