Senate Must Reject Trump's Israel Nominee

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 21, 2016 | Go to article overview

Senate Must Reject Trump's Israel Nominee


Byline: Richard Cohen

In the machinery of the Holocaust, in the places where Jews and others were murdered by the millions, certain prisoners were compelled or volunteered to help the Nazis in the arduous business of genocide. These people were called Kapos, reviled by Jew and Nazi alike, and few of them survived. The word, though, lives on, its origins obscure but its meaning clear: the vilest human being imaginable. This, though, is what David Friedman called members of a liberal Jewish group. Friedman is Donald Trump's choice of ambassador to Israel.

Really.

There is more. Friedman has called Barack Obama an anti-Semite. This is not merely a calumny, it is an absurdity, evidence of an unsound mind and, if I may, just a bit of racism. Friedman has also linked Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's former aide and a Muslim, to the Muslim Brotherhood. This accusation ranked very high on The Washington Post list of most outrageous campaign lies.

Friedman for months has been saying that he would be Trump's choice for the Israel post. Until now, his diplomatic experience has been limited to representing Trump as his bankruptcy lawyer, virtually a lifetime sinecure. His appointment likely has the support of Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, who had the wisdom to be born rich and who, apparently on account of his being an observant Jew, has been given the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio. Trump says Kushner will bring peace to the region, you will be relieved to know.

From Trump, the naming of Friedman is a double insult. Trump has offended the liberal Jewish community, which didn't support him anyway. This is a community that in general opposes additional West Bank settlements, favors a two-state solution and has little in common with the religious or nationalist zealotry of the settler movement.

But the insult to the Arab world may be of more consequence. Friedman not only supports additional settlements and seems opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank, but he wants to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv, where it has been for decades, to Jerusalem. But Israel's annexation of all of Jerusalem following the 1967 war has never won international recognition. American policy has always been that moving the embassy can only be done as part of an overall agreement. That agreement is not even close. …

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