US rabbis want potential envoy to Israel rejected
Hundreds of American rabbis have signed a letter against the appointment of David Friedman as the United States’ ambassador to Israel, describing his ideology as “extreme.”
The open letter, which was released on Monday, has been signed by as many as 600 American rabbis and cantors, The Times of Israel reported.
The signatories took issue with Friedman’s fervent and oft-repeated support for Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank and his strong opposition to the “two-state solution.”
“Mr. Friedman’s pro-settler positions and opposition to the two-state solution are in conflict with our views and the majority of American Jews who see settlement expansion as an obstacle to peace and who strongly support a two-state solution,” they said.
They called his views not representative of the American society, and his general behavior unbefitting of an envoy.
“An ambassador is charged with representing our entire nation,” they wrote, adding, “We are very concerned that rather than try to represent the US as an advocate for peace, Mr. Friedman will seek to mold American policy in line with his extreme ideology.”
New US President Donald Trump announced his decision to nominate Friedman for the job late last year, before he had assumed office himself.
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Friedman has caused controversy by saying that he plans to work at “the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” The indication of intent to move the American embassy to East Jerusalem al-Quds is meant to be a sign of the recognition of the city as the capital of an Israeli “state.”
This is while Palestinians want the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967, as part of a future Palestinian state, with East al-Quds as its capital.
The American rabbis said Friedman’s ethos and attitude would even compromise Israel’s long-term interests.