Trump Taps Man More Far-Right Than Netanyahu to Be Israel Envoy

TeleSur | – –

The U.S. president-elect choose David Friedman, who runs a group supporting ultra-right Jewish settlers in Palestine, as his ambassador to Israel.

President-elect Donald Trump will nominate far-right bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel as Friedman said he looked forward to taking up his post, a step that could reverse decades of U.S. foreign policy on the issue of Jerusalem and spark outrage in the Muslim world.

The U.S. embassy has been located in Tel Aviv for more than 68 years but during the presidential campaign, Trump vowed to move it to Jerusalem, a move almost certain to provoke a reaction from Muslims around the world.

“(Friedman) has been a long-time friend and trusted advisor to me. 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,” Trump said in a statement issued by his team.

The United States and other world powers do not regard Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and in addition to the U.S. embassy, other nations’ embassies are in Tel Aviv, as they do not recognize Israel’s annexation of Arab East Jerusalem following its capture in the 1967 Middle East war.

One of the thorniest issues is resolving the rival Israeli and Palestinian demands for Jerusalem’s future. Palestinians regard the ancient city — which contains sites sacred to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths — as the future capital of a separate state.

Friedman said in the statement that he would work tirelessly to “strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

Friedman is considered far-right on many issues, including the construction of illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine, and has advocated for the annexation of the West Bank, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war.

“Based on statements he has issued and columns he has penned, Friedman is positioned on the far right of the Israeli political map — more hardline in his views than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” Israeli left-leaning newspaper Haaretz said in an article on his appointment.

Friedman, who advised Trump on foreign policy in Israel and Palestine during the campaign and is his real estate lawyer, told AFP in October that in his view settlements are not illegal and that he believed Trump agrees with him.

Friedman is also the president of the American Friends in Beit El Yeshive, an organization that supports projects in the ultra-conservative settlement of Beit El which is built on private Palestinian land without Israeli government approval.

Most countries view all Israeli settlements on occupied land that the Palestinians seek for their own state as illegal. J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group based in Washington, said it was “vehemently opposed” to Friedman’s nomination.

“As someone who has been a leading American friend of the settlement movement, who lacks any diplomatic or policy credentials … Friedman should be beyond the pale for senators considering who should represent the United States in Israel,” it said in a statement.

“This nomination is reckless, putting America’s reputation in the region and credibility around the world at risk,” the statement said.

In early December, Obama renewed the presidential waiver, signed by every U.S. president for the past two decades, against moving the U.S.’s embassy to Jerusalem for another six months. It effectively means any action by Trump would be delayed until at least June.

Via TeleSur


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Wochit Politics: “Will Trump Keep His Promise To Move The U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem?”

9 Responses

  1. I have asked this before, but no one has answered . . .

    What is Israels long term goal and why do they think they will succeed?

    Israelis might want to think about their 2000+ year history where they had a long memory and eventually forcibly took over Palestine. What is to prevent the Arabs to do the reverse and drive the Israelis back out? The Israelis might also note that all the previous European invaders were eventually driven out.

    I agree that in the short term, Israelis have “won.” but what exactly have they “won” and how long before they lose everything?

    So what happens when Israelis fully ethnically cleanse all the land west of the Jordan River of all non-Jews. Will that really be the end or the beginning of the defeat and humiliation for the Israelis?

    Based on how power constantly flows around the globe and how few resources Israel has, especially in a worlds where there is an excess amount of labor, I do not see a very good future for Israel.

    • Israel has their hand in my wallet, courtesy of the US Congress, who puts the interests of one party in Israel ahead of US interests.
      That’s all the resources they need.
      I just bought them a couple of F-35 fighter planes. Not that I had any say in the matter.

      • Sorry you got stuck paying for that junk.

        Although trump is WRONG about just about everything, he is quite correct about the F-35. In the long term, the F-35 is going to seen as a massive, extremely expensive failure.

    • You claw your way to the top, then you use your money to buy legitimacy from the other oligarchs and close the door behind you.

      It works as long as there isn’t an event that overthrows the system, like a world war. A ruined America and a new hegemon would change things, but then we’d probably all be dead anyway.

      My concern is that your statement has wider applicability. At this moment the richer, lighter-skinned peoples seem to be on the march all over the world to crush the civil rights of their fellow citizens and rally their ethno-nationalism to rattle sabers.

      Something has happened to flip the switch on people to try to kick other people off the lifeboat. Maybe the multiplying refugee/immigration problems – not just the Middle East and therefore not something you can just blame on America – are rooted in global warming. Thus we see growing ethno-viciousness in India, where I read illegal immigration from slowly-inundated Bangladesh is now an issue. But we also have the problem of the emptying-out of the rich countries by low birthrates and subsequent economic stagnation, like in Japan. Israel has aspects of both these global crises.

      • “…….lighter-skinned peoples seem to be on the march all over the world to crush the civil rights of their fellow citizens….”

        What about in Japan, where the Caucasian Ainu minority suffers discrimination at the hands of other Japanese?

        What about in Zimbabwe, where the Robert Mugabe regime confiscated the land of whites whose families lived there for centuries?

        What about the Kurdish, Armenian, and Yazidi minorities – all of Caucasian background – in the Middle East who have sustained persecution over a long period of time perpetrated by Arab and Muslim-dominated governments in countries such as Iraq, Syria, and the former republics of the Soviet Union?

        • Well, none of those have nukes. When I see White people with guns and money demanding a restoration of the old order in several major-power states, that’s when I get scared. Zimbabwe and a bunch of Moslems don’t remind me of the 1930s.

  2. David Friedman has no significant foreign policy experience or education to qualify him for the ambassadorship.

    He has never worked for the U.S. State Department and primary “qualification” is being a former attorney for Trump’s business empire when they needed bankruptcy counsel.

    Trump actually could have found in academia or in government someone with actual credentials that would have justified such an appointment – along with an uncompromising right-wing pro-Israel stance.

    A question that begs to be answered is what the U.S. State Department will do with the U.S. Consular Office in Jerusalem that has been located there for many decades that largely services West Bank Palestinians – will it be moved or, perhaps, shut down entirely?

  3. There were people on this site who maintained during the campaign that Clinton was too pro-Israel and Trump would be much better. This appointment is an absolute disaster and means any two state solution is never going to be even considered. It is giving a blank check to the Netanyahu government. George W. Bush was arguably the worst President in US history as far as foreign policy goes. Trump may end up making him look like a genius by comparison. God help us all.

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