Former US Ambassadors to Israel Support Old State Dept Policies and Urge Senate to Reject David Friedman
American supporters of Israel who also support the nomination of David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s candidate for US Ambassador to Israel, just received what they consider confirmation that they are correct. On Wednesday, February 15, five former US ambassadors to Israel, none of them considered great friends of the Jewish state, sent a letter to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urging them to reject Mr. Friedman.
The former ambassadors object to what they see as Mr. Friedman’s “extreme positions.” Further, they said, they view him as “unqualified for the position.”
The letter was signed by Thomas Pickering, Dan Kurtzer, Edward Walker, James Cunningham, and William Harrop. All five former ambassadors have been very critical of Israel in general and have specifically denounced the Jewish state’s activity in the disputed areas of Judea, Samaria, and the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
Support the Iran Deal
All five supported President Barack Obama’s abstention at the end of December 2016 during the vote on UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which calls any Jewish activity in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem (which includes prayer at the Western Wall) a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity.” The resolution demands that Israel stop all such activity “and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
In addition, all five former ambassadors were strong and vocal supporters of President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.
Nevertheless, in their letter, the five former ambassadors told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that they “care deeply about Israel.”
No Tolerance for Another View
They argued that the duties of the US ambassador to Israel should include “strengthening Israel’s security and advancing the prospects of peace between Israel and its neighbors.” They the claimed that, because Mr. Friedman, who owns a home in Jerusalem, does not share this view, he is unqualified.
Mr. Friedman, as opposed to these five former ambassadors, believes the so-called two-state formula is “an illusory solution.” He strongly supports Israel’s right to build in Judea, Samaria, and the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
“We urge the committee to address the question of whether Mr. Friedman would defend as ambassador the established American view that annexation of West Bank territory, outside the context of an international resolution, would be counterproductive and a violation of international law,” said the five former ambassadors.
President Trump, while calling for an Israeli pause before constructing any new communities, has said that Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem are not the cause of lack of peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.