10 Questions U.S. Senators Should Ask David Friedman, Trump's Pick for Israel Envoy

From his financial support of a radical West Bank settlement to his questionable condemnations of prominent U.S. Jewish groups - 10 questions for Friedman.

Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
David Friedman (L) leaves for a break during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Israel, on Capitol Hill in Washington
David Friedman (L) leaves for a break during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Israel, on Capitol Hill in WashingtonCredit: YURI GRIPAS/REUTERS
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador designate to Israel, is expected to face some tough questioning during the Senate confirmation hearings on his appointment. While those hearings have yet to be scheduled, they are expected to take place within the next few weeks.

Friedman’s views on the Middle East represent a sharp departure from longstanding U.S. State Department policy. He is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel’s settlement movement and rejects the notion of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although the new administration has yet to spell out its position on the issue, the White House said in a statement last week that settlement expansion, while not an impediment to peace, “may not be helpful” to achieving that goal.

Friedman serves as president of a fundraising organization that pumps a few million dollars a year into the radical West Bank settlement of Beit El. A bankruptcy lawyer, he has no experience in foreign diplomacy.

Opposition to his appointment within liberal circles appears to be as much related to matters of style as of substance. Friedman has called members of J Street, the pro-Israel and anti-occupation group, “worse than kapos” (a reference to Jews who collaborated with Nazis) and described the Anti-Defamation League, one of the most prominent Jewish organizations in the United States, as “a bunch of morons.”

Progressive Jewish organization and activists have been lobbying against his appointment, though the chances it will be blocked are small: It could only happen if all the Democrats, as well as at least three Senate Republicans, vote against him.

To facilitate the confirmation process, Haaretz has prepared a list of 10 questions those participating in the confirmation hearings might consider asking Friedman:

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

United Arab List chairman Mansour Abbas in the Knesset on Monday.

Arab Voters Will Decide if Israel's Far-right Wins Power

נתניהו עם כיפה שחורה על הראש נשען בשתי ידיו על הכותל

Israel Is Heading for Its Most 'Jewish' Election Ever

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'