Leah Parker-Bernstein: Concerns about nominee as ambassador to Israel
Feb 17 2017 by Desiree Burns
"Mr. Friedman also said that Palestinian refugees don't have a claim to the land, don't have a connection to Palestine, when in fact they do", the man said.
"The historical record shows that kapos were Jews whom the Nazis forced, at pain of death, to serve them in the concentration and extermination camps", the Holocaust scholars say.
Udall went on to call Friedman "completely unfit for this or any other diplomatic office".
Friedman's supporters include Christians United for Israel, which on Wednesday ran a full-page ad in the Capitol Hill daily, The Hill, in support of his confirmation, and the Orthodox Union, which sent a letter of support to the Senate committee. "I'm right here, Mr. Friedman". "But agree or not - these views are far from extreme".
He also is a strong advocate of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a shift sure to inflame Palestinians who also consider Jerusalem their capital.
He added, "I wanted to remind him after the meeting between Donald Trump and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu that in France's view there are no other options other than the perspective of a two-state solution and that the other option which Mr. Tillerson brought up was not realistic, fair or balanced". President Trump himself donated $10,000 to the illegal Beit El settlement, and Jared Kushner's parents, Charles and Seryl, are members of Beit El Institutions' founding board of trustees.
Senators repeatedly congratulated Friedman on his love for Israel; and many of Friedman's comments suggested that his primary concern was binding up and representing a divided American Jewish community, with very little mention of non-Jewish Americans.
Trump's Israel envoy pick takes flak for rhetoric
The son of an Orthodox rabbi, Friedman has a long record of being a firebrand for Israel, including calling liberal Jews "kapos". The Palestinians seek both territories, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, for their hoped-for state.
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The confirmation hearing and protest came just one day after Trump met with Netanyahu.
Five former US ambassadors to Israel from both Republican and Democratic administrations urged the Senate in a letter to reject Friedman, saying that he holds "extreme, radical positions" on issues such as Jewish settlements and the two-state solution for peace in the region.
The two-state approach has always been a bedrock of US and global policy toward Mideast peace and the gravity of Mr. Trump's comments were still being felt Thursday, when administration-appointed Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley suddenly announced that the USA actually does still stand behind the approach. "With Friedman as his representative in the region, untold violence could erupt".
"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like", Trump said Wednesday. "We refuse to let pro-occupation ideology become normalized in America".
The letter includes concerns over Friedman's position should Israel annex the "West Bank", stating "address the question of whether Mr. Friedman would defend as ambassador the established American view that annexation of West Bank territory, outside the context of an global resolution, would be counterproductive and a violation of worldwide law".
"People hang on every word that is issued on this subject", Friedman said, calling for "private" diplomacy as Trump begins his peace initiative.
Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet's Grayzone Project.