'Unqualified, ill-tempered': former diplomats condemn Trump's Israel ambassador choice

'Unqualified, ill-tempered': former diplomats condemn Trump's Israel ambassador choice
2 min read
16 February, 2017
The former ambassadors to Israel questioned David Friedman's 'balance and temperament', saying that his support for an impracticable one-state Israel was a threat to Israel's reputation and future.
David Friedman has legally advised President Trump in bankruptcy cases in the past [Facebook]

Five former US ambassadors to Israel condemned President Trump's nomination for Israeli ambassador on Wednesday, voicing concerns over his views on the two-state solution.

The diplomats questioned David Friedman's "temperament", while describing him as a vocal supporter of Israeli settler communities, in an open letter to the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.

"We believe the committee should satisfy itself that Mr. Friedman has the balance and the temperament required to represent the United States as ambassador to Israel,'" the letter reads.

The diplomats reported they could find "no alternative" to the two-state solution if Israel were to be seen as a "democratic, Jewish nation that was respected internationally".

Israel, while holding elections to its parliament, is noted for institutions that employ a discriminatory attitude towards its Palestinian citizens. It has also been widely condemned in dozens of UN General Assembly resolutions spanning decades.

"[Friedman] has argued that two states for two peoples is 'an illusory solution in search of a non-existent problem'."

An EU-funded poll of 1200 people on Thursday found that 55 percent of Israelis and 44 percent of Palestinians supported a two-state solution to the on-going occupation of Palestinian lands.

By comparison, only 24 percent of Israelis and around 33 percent of Palestinians would prefer a single state.

The one-state solution is not very popular in the international community, as it is widely considered as the "formalisation of Israeli apartheid".

President Trump has received legal advice from David Friedman in a number of bankruptcy proceedings in the past.

Friedman has faced criticism in the US media for his financial support of the Zionist settler community, Beit El, in Israel.

As the director of the 'American Friends of Beit El' in 2015, Friedman was allegedly party to the transfer of $650,000 to the Israeli NGO, Sukkat Ovadia - funds destined to help the construction of the Beit El settler community.

Social media users have also criticised Friedman's nomination under the hashtag #RejectFriedman.

"This is one of many terrible choices by Trump, and it will be fatal for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Please #RejectFriedman," tweeted Hala Taweel, a senior government relations consultant in Dubai.

The diplomats' statement coincided with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Washington on Wednesday to hold talks with President Trump.