February 15, 2017, New York – In advance of the Senate confirmation hearing scheduled tomorrow for David Friedman as United States Ambassador to Israel, and on the heels of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first official meeting with Donald Trump, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
David Friedman’s zealous commitment to the forced displacement of Palestinians disqualifies him to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel. Lacking any experience in diplomacy or public policy, Friedman has nevertheless managed to stoke the flames of a far-right Israeli agenda of annexation and settlement expansion in the West Bank. Friedman’s nonprofit organization funnels two million dollars of tax-deductible donations each year to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El and is currently funding the construction of a new five-story settlement building on private Palestinian land. The Senate must take note: Israel’s appropriation of land and transfer of settlers are violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and David Friedman is facilitating these breaches of international law.
As Trump’s adviser during the presidential campaign, Friedman declared that Trump did not perceive an independent Palestinian state as “an American imperative” and would support Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank. Although U.S. foreign policy has always given Israel carte blanche, Friedman takes to a new level the U.S.’s longstanding failure to hold Israel accountable: in Friedman’s alternate universe, the U.S. would actively grease the wheels of the Israeli settlement machine. The Friedman-Trump position has also further emboldened the right-wing administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently approved the construction of 2,500 new settlement housing units.
From his appalling attacks on J Street supporters as “far worse than kapos” to his proposals to strip “disloyal” Palestinian citizens of Israel of the benefits of citizenship, David Friedman has proven himself unfit for public office. His nomination should be roundly rejected.
For more information on David Friedman, read CCR's factsheet.