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US ambassador David Friedman presents himself as ambassador for Zionist Jews only

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David Friedman, Trump’s ambassador to Israel, seems to think of himself as an ambassador for Zionist Jews only. Earlier today he gave a speech to American Jews in Tel Aviv that was entirely parochial. He repeatedly spoke of “We” in reference to world Jewry, cited the prayers of “our forefathers” to return to Israel, described Israel as the “land of our national history,” and distinguished between the “country of our citizenship,” the U.S., and the country “we love so much,” Israel.

“We all agree Israel is a miracle,” the ambassador said. “It’s the culmination of a 2000-year old exile, the longest exile of any people in history, whereby the prayers of our forefathers for a return to Zion were answered. It’s the land of our biblical history, it’s the land of our national history… There is a critical role for every one of us to play in the ongoing miraculous story of Jewish history. That’s why we will continue to be here and do all we can to strengthen the bonds between the country of our citizenship and the small nation of Israel that we value and we love so much.”

The diplomat’s speech to the general assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America contained no reference to Palestinians in Israel or to Christians or Muslims who feel a connection to Jerusalem. Though Friedman did acknowledge the criticism that many American Jews express of Israeli treatment of Palestinians, he said, “We in the diaspora need to give Israel a break,” because all countries need to balance “human rights and social justice” with “maintaining peace and security.”

Friedman is a rightwing supporter of the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. “I’m an unapologetic right wing defender of Israel,” he said. “I’m a security hawk, that’s who I am.”

Isaac Herzog, chair of the Jewish Agency, and Israeli consul Dani Dayan listen to Ambassador David Friedman, Oct. 24, 2018.

Friedman said that Israel is what keeps Jews Jewish in the west. “Israel is no longer the little brother in the relationship. Israel is now the big brother. Israel is the largest Jewish community in the world. That wasn’t true 5 years ago,” he said. “The diaspora needs Israel to help world Jewry maintain its connectivity to Judaism. Israel needs… to accept, to embrace and to discharge that responsibility as an Israeli national imperative, even though those efforts extend far beyond its borders.”

He said the biggest problem among American Jews is “apathy” about Jewish life. He called on the believers in the room to support and fund efforts “to inculcate in unaffiliated Jews the wonders of Judaism and the wonders of the state of Israel.”

Friedman’s appointment and the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem were surely offerings by Trump to his largest donor, Sheldon Adelson, whose biggest issue is Israel. Meantime, U.S. ambassadorships remain unfilled in many countries, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Mexico, Jordan, and Pakistan. President Obama’s appointment of an ambassador to Israel served some of the same political needs: Daniel Shapiro recently described Israel to a Jewish audience as “this miracle, this gift, this jewel,” and is now working for an Israeli thinktank advocating for Israel.  While he was in office, though, Shapiro avoided parochial presentations. See this speech to a Zionist group, often critical of Israel.


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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13 Responses

  1. HarryLaw on October 24, 2018, 12:00 pm

    “Friedman is a right wing supporter of the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem”. Then Friedman is a supporter of grave war crimes as documented in the Geneva Conventions and ICC Rome statute, also in the opinion of all 15 Judges at the World Court [ICJ] in the Hague.

    • Maghlawatan on October 25, 2018, 10:52 am

      Friedman is a Judeonazi.

      The problem in the US is not lack of interest. It is the cultural chasm between normal Jews and the Judeonazis.
      The only way to make the occupation work was to Judeonazify the population. The price of this was alienating ordinary US Jews.
      There is still no such thing as a free lunch. Or a free country.

  2. eljay on October 24, 2018, 12:44 pm

    Friedman’s speech is one big steaming pile of Jewish supremacist (Zionist) propaganda…
    – from the anti-Semitic conflation of Israel with all Jews and all Jews with Israel;
    – to the outright lie that Jewish citizens of homelands all over the world are “exiles” from geographic Palestine;
    – to the anti-Semitic* and idolatrous claim that “world Jewry” needs Israel in order to remain connected to Judaism**.
    (*Anti-Semitic because it lumps all Jews into a single, undifferentiated mass.)
    (**Zionists will undoubtedly be furious with Friedman for daring to suggest that all Jews require a “connection” to the Jewish religion.)

  3. RoHa on October 25, 2018, 12:33 am

    “David Friedman, Trump’s ambassador to Israel, seems to think of himself as an ambassador for Zionist Jews only.”

    Did anyone expect anything else?

  4. JaapBo on October 25, 2018, 4:27 am

    [all countries need to balance “human rights and social justice” with “maintaining peace and security.”]

    “security” doesn’t really mean security, it means, “excuse for anti-Palestinian racism”

  5. Ossinev on October 25, 2018, 9:23 am

    Absolute full frontal in your face dual loyalty. When it comes down to it Herr Friedman is basically saying that given a choice between Israel`s interests and America`s interests it is his duty and the duty of all ” American ” Jews to support Israel.

    And all this with the approval of dickhead Donald who blathers on ad nauseum about Americans needing to put America first.


  6. CigarGod on October 25, 2018, 9:33 am

    On the bright side…so many of these people are appointed, and could be out of a job in a new administration.
    Unfortunately, the bright side of the deck, is also stacked.

  7. Misterioso on October 25, 2018, 10:39 am

    In the final analysis:

    Just not enough Jewish babies between the River and the Sea as the indigenous Palestinian population continues to grow and Jewish immigration is in the tank while emigration is soaring.

    Meanwhile, the US remains “Israel’s” only real “friend.” However, history and common sense tell us that for a multitude of what should be obvious reasons, the U.S., a declining power, will inevitably have to set “Israel” adrift.

  8. Rogelio on October 25, 2018, 1:42 pm

    The influence of people like Friedman runs deeper than many of us can imagine.
    Today I received an email from Jewish Voice for Peace regarding the sale of IDF uniforms on AMAZON and a request to sign a petition against the sale. I was dumbfounded by this.
    Hopefully Mondoweiss can add to the efforts of JVP.

    Here is the link to the petition or of course you can go to the JVP website :

  9. dionissis_mitropoulos on October 25, 2018, 4:52 pm

    Off topic comment.

    David (not Tom) Friedman said:

    “While the US has a strict separation of religion and state, “in Israel, religion and politics, for better or worse, are intertwined,” Friedman said. “Is that a good system? Is that a bad system? We can debate, but it’s the system.”

    Netanyahu said:

    ” “We are dealing with a theological junta …” Netanyahu said, referring to Hamas, the terror group which controls the Strip”.

    One human’s terrorist is another human’s freedom fighter.

    One human’s intertwining of religion and politics is another human’s theological junta.

    If you are Hamas, you are bound to be on the wrong side of the ledger, not just in the eyes of Friedman and Netanyahu, but in the eyes of all the West. Credit to pro-Israel activism (New York Times included), the unchallenged demonization of Hamas in the era of the internet is a phenomenon worth studying by historians of the future.

  10. James Canning on October 26, 2018, 6:10 pm

    Truly grotesque.

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