Saturday, February 18, 2017

Union for Reform Judaism Opposes Trump's Choice for US Ambassador to Israel

Union for Reform Judaism Opposes Trump’s Choice for US Ambassador to Israel

by Stephen Lendman

On Friday, America’s largest Jewish group (URJ) expressed opposition to David Friedman’s appointment.

On Thursday, he testified before Senate Foreign Relations Committee members ahead of a full Senate vote on his nomination.

The Zionist Organization of America, the nation’s oldest, dating from 1897, endorsed him. Five former US ambassadors to Israel oppose him, calling him “unqualified” because of his “extreme positions.”

Thomas Pickering, Dan Kurtzer, Edward Walker, James Cunningham and William Harrop expressed their opposition in a letter to Trump.

Haaretz called him “unfit to serve,” calling on Trump to “freeze this miserable appointment” because of his “simplistic, dangerous worldview…”

Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) president Rabbi Rick Jacobs said the organization never before opposed the nomination of a US ambassador to Israel.

URJ called Friedman “the wrong person for this essential job at this critical time.” He “lacks the basic qualifications for the position.” 

“Unlike every other past holder of this important position, Mr. Friedman has no professional foreign policy experience.” 

“He has never been involved in these issues other than as a zealous partisan and financial supporter of settlement activity.”

His “extreme views on key issues related to the two-state solution, Israel’s borders, settlements, and the location of the US Embassy are already reflected in the White House. Such positions are detrimental to peace and a strong US-Israel relationship.”

“He has invested significant dollars in support of the settlements and a vision of Israel that we believe endangers both American and Israeli security and other interests in the region.

He “lacks the necessary temperament for such a sensitive position. Mr. Friedman has publicly disparaged organizations representing large constituencies of American Jews, calling fellow Jews ‘kapos’ (referring to Jews who aided Nazis) and ‘morons.’ “

Senator Ben Cardin (D. MD) said “I’m having difficulty understanding your use of those descriptions and whether you really can be a diplomat.”

Reform Judaism in America has about 900 congregations and almost a million followers. During his confirmation hearing, Jewish activists chanted “(y)ou do not represent us, and you will never represent us.”

They blew a shofar ritual horn and called him a “war criminal” before being removed from the proceedings. Pro-Palestinian protesters displayed Palestinian flags, chanting “(w)e were there. We are there, and we will always be in Palestine.”

On accepting Trump’s nomination, Friedman said he hoped to work from “the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

After endorsing the move, Trump backed off, given the likely regional firestorm it would cause.

Republican support for Friedman looks firm. Palestinians will have no friend with him as US ambassador - the way it’s always been since Israel’s creation.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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