United States President-Elect Donald Trump revealed his pick for Ambassador of Israel earlier this week, naming bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman as his nomination for the role.
Friedman, a far-right actor known for being more right-wing than the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, has called Barack Obama an “anti-Semite”, and contended that readers of J-Street are “far worse than kapos”, accusing them of being worse than Jewish collaborators in death camps during World War II. Unsurprisingly, he’s also majorly against a two-state solution.
Although it is unnerving to consider that President-Elect Trump nominated a man that blurts out Holocaust comparisons for the role of the Ambassador to Israel, especially considering that it comes a week after the passing of an act aiming to raise awareness about anti-Semitism in the United States, it is still unsurprising. Following a wave of unorthodox nominations of unqualified people for his Cabinet picks, Trump seems to consider these roles best filled out by businessmen with whom he has friendly relations, further worrying the global community that has no choice but to sit back and watch as Trump mercilessly completes the transition from government to corporation. The United States, a major power upon whom many nation-states rely, is in a state of jeopardy that leaves all politicians and theorists breathless, waiting to see what comes next.
But how does Friedman’s nomination really affect the global community?
Friedman is a leading American funder of the settlement movement in the West Bank, consistently aligning himself with some of the most outrageous charges and conspiracy theories of the US far-right Islamophobic fringe. He has criticized the Jewish left, stating that they are “smug advocates of Israel’s destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas”, as reported by Israel National News. He doesn’t believe that the settlements are an obstacle to peace, and expresses his belief that annexing the West Bank will not compromise Israel’s Jewish and democratic character.
With Friedman nominated as the next Ambassador to Israel, Trump and his Cabinet now face a major fork in the road. Do they perpetuate the decades-old American perspective of ignoring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, looking upon settlements with disdain, or do they take a far more aggressive approach, encouraging the annexation of the West Bank by Israeli soldiers and carrying out their threat of moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem, showing their prejudice against the Palestinian nation?
One can only hope that, for once, Trump will do what’s best.
Written by: Shy Zvouloun
Edited by: Keren Sneh