David Friedman, Ambassador for Apartheid
David Friedman before testifying at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Israel on Feb. 16, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Yuri Gripa
Support for Illegal Israeli Settlements
- Friedman is a staunch supporter of Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law and nearly 50 years of official US policy.
- As head of American Friends of Beit El Institutions (AFBEI), Friedman has raised tens of millions of dollars for the hardline, religious-nationalist settlement of Beit El, built on privately-owned Palestinian land near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. According to news reports, in 2003 President Trump donated $10,000 to a religious school in Beit El in honor of Friedman.
- Among those in Beit El receiving funding from AFBEI is the hard-right settler media outlet, Arutz Sheva, which Friedman has authored numerous columns for. Arutz Sheva frequently publishes racist, inflammatory articles attacking Palestinians, Muslims, liberal Jews, and others.
- According to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, Friedman has also donated to Ateret Cohanim, an extremist settler group that works to implant Jewish settlers into the Muslim Quarter in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, often evicting Palestinians from their homes in the process.
- In the US, AFBEI funds a program designed to train Jewish college students to argue against the two-state solution in Israel/Palestine. Explaining the program, AFBEI’s website states: “Our exciting new initiative inspires and trains students with the tools to successfully delegitimize the notion of a ‘two-state solution’ and to engage the most political active – and often the most hostile - students on their campuses."
- Noting that Friedman has been “active in supporting and financing the settler movement,” five former US ambassadors to Israel sent a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations committee calling him “unqualified for the position” and warning of his “extreme, radical positions.”
Opposition to Palestinian Rights & Self-Determination
- Friedman opposes the creation of a Palestinian state in the occupied territories as part of the two-state solution, as well as self-determination of any kind for Palestinians within historic Palestine.
- On November 7, 2016, Friedman boasted during a speech to a private audience that he was personally responsible for the removal of any reference to the two-state solution or Israel’s nearly 50-year-old military occupation of Palestinian lands from the Republican Party platform.
- Friedman has said that he isn’t concerned about the possibility of a binational state in Israel/Palestine as a result of Israel’s settlement enterprise destroying the two-state solution, claiming that population figures for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are inflated and that Israel can annex the territory while still maintaining a Jewish majority.
- During the 2016 presidential campaign, when he served as an advisor to Trump, Friedman told an Israeli newspaper that if elected President Trump would support Israel’s annexation of at least parts of the occupied West Bank.
Smears Against Those with Opposing Views
- Friedman has a long history of vicious smears against those he disagrees with, including:
- Accusing former President Barack Obama of “blatant anti-Semitism.
- Claiming the US State Department has “a hundred-year history of anti-Semitism.”
- Accusing Jewish supporters of J Street, a US lobby group that bills itself as “pro-Israel and pro-peace” of being worse than Jews who collaborated with the Nazis, writing: “They are far worse than kapos… it’s hard to imagine anyone worse.”
- Claiming that senior aid to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, “has significant ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Support for Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem
- Friedman supports moving the US embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in effect recognizing Israeli control over the city, and said that if confirmed as ambassador he hopes to work out of Jerusalem.
- Since Israel’s establishment in 1948, the US government and international community have refused to acknowledge the sovereignty of any country over Jerusalem in the absence of a permanent peace treaty between Israelis and Palestinians.
- Moving the embassy to Jerusalem in the absence of a peace agreement would be extremely provocative and further embolden the Israeli government to expand illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, evict more Palestinians from their homes, and carry out other human rights abuses in the city.