David Friedman is known for his support for the most extreme elements in Israel’s settler movement
The choice of US ambassador to Israel has never before incurred such scrutiny or provoked such controversy.
Usually, the appointment is approved by the Senate’s foreign relations committee by consensus. But David Friedman’s confirmation vote last Thursday split largely on partisan lines, with Republicans backing him and all but one Democrat opposing him.
Tens of thousands of liberal American Jews signed a petition opposing his nomination, and major Jewish organisations and hundreds of rabbis also objected.
But then, Donald Trump’s envoy to Israel is no ordinary ambassador.
Rather than climbing up through the diplomatic ranks learning the arts of statecraft, 57-year-old Friedman has been propelled overnight into one of the world’s most sensitive diplomatic posts.
No honest broker
An Orthodox Jew and the son of a New York rabbi, Friedman is a bankruptcy lawyer who has worked on Trump’s behalf for the past 15 years. He joined the presidential election campaign last year as Trump’s adviser on Israel.
But it is not Friedman’s lack of experience causing the greatest concern. It is his long history of support not only for the Israeli right but for some of the most extreme elements in Israel’s settler movement.
“This appointment should explode any remaining doubts among Palestinians and the international community that the US can be any kind of honest…