Three Concerns the Senate Committee Should Raise with David Friedman

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Ambassadors are on the entrance traces of diplomacy, the place they’ll head off battle or be the reason for the subsequent struggle.  They should not have any conflicts-of-interest or look of battle and positively not be concerned in illegal actions, particularly not a struggle crime.

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen David Friedman, a chapter lawyer, as his advisor on Israel and to be U.S. Ambassador to the State of Israel. David Friedman’s confirmation hearing earlier than the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is about for this Thursday, February 16, at 10 am.

When the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations evaluations presidential nominees they’ve an obligation to not act as a rubber stamp, however intently look at Mr. Friedman’s competency, ethics, enterprise dealings and charities to ensure he’s certified and there are not any conflicts-of-interest.

Senate committee members ought to query Friedman vigorously on the areas outlined beneath, and press him to decide to defending human rights:

As talked about above, ambassadors are on the entrance traces of diplomacy, the place they’ll head off battle or be the reason for the subsequent struggle. Friedman has a historical past of inflammatory statements. Just a couple of months in the past, Friedman referred to as average American Jews, particularly supporters of J Street, a political group of American-Jews that describes itself as “pro-Israel and pro-Peace”, “worse than kapos.”

Calling somebody who’s Jewish a “kapo” is an excessive slur. “Kapos” had been Jews in Nazi focus camps put in command of different prisoners. “Kapos” are thought-about traitors to their religion and their folks. In at this time’s surroundings, this smear might be thought-about a inexperienced gentle for extremists to threaten these thought-about average. By espousing his excessive opinions publicly, Friedman put these people liable to potential hurt.

The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 mandates that the U.S. Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or danger an enormous reduce in State Department funding, however each sitting President since Clinton has postponed the transfer primarily based on the nationwide safety concern that it’s a provocative transfer that will ignite violence within the area, even globally. Historically, civilians bear the brunt of violence within the area and gross violations of each human rights and humanitarian regulation improve in frequency.

Friedman not solely helps transferring the embassy to Jerusalem, which may result in widespread violence and human rights violations, however has stated that he considers settlements “legal”, in contravention of worldwide regulation. In reality, Israel’s long-standing settlement coverage quantities to a war crime.

Friedman has additionally publicly advocated forcibly annexing occupied territory in contravention of worldwide regulation and U.S. coverage. This, once more, is one other motion that isn’t solely unlawful, however would lead on to human rights violations and the chance of violence.

The U.S. authorities re-affirmed its long-standing place that Israeli settlements constructed within the Israeli Occupied Palestinian Territories have “… no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law” by abstaining from voting on UN Security Council resolution 2334. Secretary of State Kerry’s explicitly confirmed the established, U.S. place in his statement on Middle East Peace December 28, 2016.

However, Friedman will not be solely a powerful supporter of settlements, however serves as president of American Friends of Beit El Institutions, a corporation that raises about $2 million a yr for the unlawful Israeli settlement and its extremist yeshiva. The settlement is nicely generally known as extremist in its ideology of growth into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and the yeshiva, which mixes Jewish studying with military service, is headed by a militant rabbi who advocates disobeying orders within the title of an extremist interpretation of Judaism. Trump himself made a $10,000 donation to Beit El in Friedman’s honor.

David Friedman seems to be actively complicit in unlawful Israeli settlements which were the reason for widespread human rights violations, demise and dispossession. These critical areas of concern have to be clarified, and the Senate listening to is the place to do the clarification.

The Senate should rigorously query Friedman about these areas of concern.  Senators who’re voting on Friedman’s affirmation should ask the query, “Is this nominee for the Ambassadorship willing to uphold and adhere to international human rights standards?”

** To see in case your Senator is on the Foreign Relations Committee, go here.  Let them know your issues about Mr. Friedman’s obvious conflicts-of-interest, fundraising efforts for unlawful Israeli settlements within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and urge them to scrupulously query him, and safe  his public dedication to worldwide humanitarian regulation and human rights.

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