(Note: see Palestine Insight blog for more information, including Trump’s contribution to the settlement support group of which Friedman is president.)
TRUMP PICKS A SUPPORTER OF WEST BANK SETTLEMENTS FOR AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL
Dec. 15, 2016 – President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday that he will nominate New York bankruptcy lawyer David M. Friedman as his ambassador to Israel, saying in a statement issued by his transition office that Friedman’s “strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission.”
___Friedman said in the statement that he would work “tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries . . . and look forward to doing this from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”
___Trump has indicated that he would overturn more than two decades of presidential waivers overriding the 1995 law mandating that the U.S. Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move weighted with heavy religious and political significance. Jerusalem’s status is contested by Palestinians and most of the world’s nations, which recognize lines drawn after the 1967 war. More . . .
Dec. 16, 2016 – David Friedman, Donald Trump’s soon-to-be ambassador to Israel, is getting a lot of attention Friday for having said that center-left American Jews who criticize the Israeli government are “far worse” than individuals who “turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” And said attention is fair, because that’s an awful thing to say. My goodness! But Friedman is also notable for another reason: He’s the bankruptcy lawyer that helped Trump pull off one of his greatest large-scale deadbeat screw jobs.
___Here’s the story. In 1995, a company called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Trump was its chairman and, beginning in 2000, its CEO. The company lost money every year of its existence and went bankrupt in 2004. Its total 1995–2004 losses: $647 million. When it went bankrupt, bondholders had to settle for less than what they were owed. More . . .
TRUMP CHOOSES HARD-LINER AS AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL
New York Times
Dec. a5, 2016 – President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday named David M. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer aligned with the Israeli far right, as his nominee for ambassador to Israel, elevating a campaign adviser who has questioned the need for a two-state solution and has likened left-leaning Jews in America to the Jews who aided the Nazis in the Holocaust.
___Mr. Friedman, whose outspoken views stand in stark contrast to decades of American policy toward Israel, did not wait long on Thursday to signal his intention to upend the American approach. In a statement from the Trump transition team announcing his nomination, he said he looked forward to doing the job “from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”
___Through decades of Republican and Democratic administrations, the embassy has been in Tel Aviv, as the State Department insists that the status of Jerusalem — which both Israel and the Palestinians see as their rightful capital — can be determined only through negotiations as part of an overall peace deal.
___Mr. Friedman, who has no diplomatic experience, has said that he does not believe it would be illegal for Israel to annex the occupied West Bank and he supports building new settlements there, which Washington has long condemned as illegitimate and an obstacle to peace. More . . .
TRUMP PICK FOR AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL SUPPORTS ISRAELI ANNEXATION OF WEST BANK AND CALLS LIBERAL JEWS ‘KAPOS’
Dec. 16, 2016 – [. . . .] In another stunning column for Arutz Sheva, Friedman accuses Obama of being an anti-Semite, and characterized the centrist Zionist organization J Street as being “worse than kapos”.
___“They are far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps,” he wrote.
___Yousef Munayyer [executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights] tells Mondoweiss that the appointment of David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel “is but the latest suggestion of what a Trump administration’s policy toward Palestine/Israel will be and that is a full, unapologetic embrace of Israeli Apartheid. Trump has railed against political correctness throughout his campaign and in many ways he seems to be doing the same thing with shaping his policy on this issue.”
___Yousef Munayyer [executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights] explains that “for decades the US has done a sort of “politically correct” dance where they have consistently supported Israel as it colonizes what is left of Palestinian territory while saying they support a Palestinian state.” The nomination of Friedman signals that the U.S. will do away with this farce, and “just own what they have done for years which is support the apartheid reality on the ground.” Munayyer contends that a Trump administration will treat Israel with light-headedness, which means that “the civil society effort to impose costs on Israel through boycott, divestment and sanctions tactics [BDS] has never been more important.” More . . .
- JOINT STATEMENT FROM JASON DOV GREENBLATT AND DAVID FRIEDMAN, CO-CHAIRMEN OF THE ISRAEL ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO DONALD J. TRUMP
[Jason D. Greenblatt EVP/Chief Legal Officer of The Trump Organization, co-chairman of Mr. Trump’s Israel Advisory Committee & David M. Friedman of the Kasowitz law firm, Israel advisor, regular contributor to Arutz Sheva, an Israeli media network identifying with Religious Zionism.]
Nov. 5, 2016
- It has been an exhilarating election cycle. Approximately seven months ago, we were blessed to have been tapped by Donald J. Trump to be his top advisors with respect to the State of Israel. We have been fortunate to work with a talented team of people and have put together the below positions. Each of these positions have been discussed with Mr. Trump and the Trump campaign, and most have been stated, in one form or another, by Mr. Trump in various interviews or speeches given by him or on his social media accounts. For those of you who are true friends of the State of Israel, and for those of you who believe that the State of Israel and the United States of America have an unbreakable friendship, we urge you to read the below. We would like to express our gratitude to those individuals who have helped us over the past few months — we truly appreciate your efforts, friendship and guidance. We would also like to express our gratitude to our friend, a great friend of the State of Israel, Donald J. Trump, who gave us the tremendous opportunity to serve in this capacity. May God bless the United States of America and the State of Israel.
- The unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel is based upon shared values of democracy, freedom of speech, respect for minorities, cherishing life, and the opportunity for all citizens to pursue their dreams.
- Israel is the state of the Jewish people, who have lived in that land for 3,500 years. The State of Israel was founded with courage and determination by great men and women against enormous odds and is an inspiration to people everywhere who value freedom and human dignity. Israel is a staunch ally of the U.S. and a key partner in the global war against Islamic jihadism. Military cooperation and coordination between Israel and the U.S. must continue to grow.
- The American people value our close friendship and alliance with Israel — culturally, religiously, and politically. While other nations have required U.S. troops to defend them, Israelis have always defended their own country by themselves and only ask for military equipment assistance and diplomatic support to do so. The U.S. does not need to nation-build in Israel or send troops to defend Israel.
- The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the American and Israeli Governments is a good first step, but there is much more to be done. A Trump Administration will ensure that Israel receives maximum military, strategic and tactical cooperation from the United States, and the MOU will not limit the support that we give. Further, Congress will not be limited to give support greater than that provided by the MOU if it chooses to do so. Israel and the United States benefit tremendously from what each country brings to the table — the relationship is a two way street.
- The U.S. should veto any United Nations votes that unfairly single out Israel and will work in international institutions and forums, including in our relations with the European Union, to oppose efforts to delegitimize Israel, impose discriminatory double standards against Israel, or to impose special labeling requirements on Israeli products or boycotts on Israeli goods.
- The U.S. should cut off funds for the UN Human Rights Council, a body dominated by countries presently run by dictatorships that seems solely devoted to slandering the Jewish State. UNESCO’s attempt to disconnect the State of Israel from Jerusalem is a one-sided attempt to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city, and is further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias of the United Nations.
- The U.S. should view the effort to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) Israel as inherently anti-Semitic and take strong measures, both diplomatic and legislative, to thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israeli areas, in a discriminatory manner. The BDS movement is just another attempt by the Palestinians to avoid having to commit to a peaceful co-existence with Israel. The false notion that Israel is an occupier should be rejected.
- The Trump administration will ask the Justice Department to investigate coordinated attempts on college campuses to intimidate students who support Israel.
- A two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians appears impossible as long as the Palestinians are unwilling to renounce violence against Israel or recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Additionally, the Palestinians are divided between PA rule in the West Bank and Hamas rule in Gaza so there is not a united Palestinian people who could control a second state. Hamas is a US-designated terrorist organization that actively seeks Israel’s destruction. We will seek to assist the Israelis and the Palestinians in reaching a comprehensive and lasting peace, to be freely and fairly negotiated between those living in the region.
- The Palestinian leadership, including the PA, has undermined any chance for peace with Israel by raising generations of Palestinian children on an educational program of hatred of Israel and Jews. The larger Palestinian society is regularly taught such hatred on Palestinian television, in the Palestinian press, in entertainment media, and in political and religious communications. The two major Palestinian political parties — Hamas and Fatah — regularly promote anti-Semitism and jihad.
- The U.S. cannot support the creation of a new state where terrorism is financially incentivized, terrorists are celebrated by political parties and government institutions, and the corrupt diversion of foreign aid is rampant. The U.S. should not support the creation of a state that forbids the presence of Christian or Jewish citizens, or that discriminates against people on the basis of religion.
- The U.S. should support direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians without preconditions, and will oppose all Palestinian, European and other efforts to bypass direct negotiations between parties in favor of an imposed settlement. Any solutions imposed on Israel by outside parties including by the United Nations Security Council, should be opposed. We support Israel’s right and obligation to defend itself against terror attacks upon its people and against alternative forms of warfare being waged upon it legally, economically, culturally, and otherwise.
- Israel’s maintenance of defensible borders that preserve peace and promote stability in the region is a necessity. Pressure should not be put on Israel to withdraw to borders that make attacks and conflict more likely.
- The U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and Mr. Trump’s Administration will move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. · Despite the Iran Nuclear deal in 2015, the U.S. State Department recently designated Iran, yet again, as the leading state sponsor of terrorism — putting the Middle East particularly, but the whole world at risk by financing, arming, and training terrorist groups operating around the world including Hamas, Hezbollah, and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. must counteract Iran’s ongoing violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and their noncompliance with past and present sanctions, as well as the agreements they signed, and implement tough, new sanctions when needed to protect the world and Iran’s neighbors from its continuing nuclear and non-nuclear threats.
―Jason D. Greenblatt, co-chairman of Mr. Trump’s Israel Advisory Committee & Co-Founder of InspireConversation.com