December 15, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump announces that he will nominate New York bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Israel.
Friedman, an adviser to Trump for more than 15 years who has combined with Jason Greenblatt to form the presidential campaign’s Israel advisory committee, owns property in Israel, speaks Hebrew, has raised money for the settlement movement and has denied that West Bank settlements are an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. He has said a two-state solution is not a Trump priority and is not the only path toward peace. Friedman says he looks forward to serving in an embassy in an undivided Jerusalem.
Friedman has a history of labeling President Barack Obama an anti-Semite and has said supporters of the liberal Jewish advocacy group J Street are worse than kapos, the Jews who worked with the Nazis in the ghettos and camps. Friedman has no diplomatic experience and says Israel could annex the West Bank without violating international law.
Friedman and Greenblatt issued a 16-point Trump action plan on Israel a week before the election. It includes “ensuring that Israel receives maximum military, strategic and tactical cooperation from the United States” and declaring war on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and pro-Palestinian campus activism.
“When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on Day 1,” Trump said on the campaign trial.
Friedman’s nomination is praised by the Republican Jewish Coalition but criticized by J Street and other liberal Jewish organizations