[For once, the Times gets it right, well, almost. We can expect to see the mainstream media becomes more truthful, as it has been exposed as the real “fake news”, and now it is competing against the occasional truth found on the Internet. Sometimes, We the “conspiracy theorists” find the real truth about news and manage to convey it through our various, personal websites. The question has been asked, “Is the Alternative Press the ‘Fake News’ media?”
Reality, as we know it, is set for a big “flip-flop”, when Donald Trump begins to turn political/military reality on its head. Trump is the kind of guy who will move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and support a total war of pacification upon Hamas-related targets. He is also likely to throw the word “TREASON” around a lot.
For family-related reasons, many of us may have to rethink the issue of Israel/Palestinians and our personal commitment to the cause of “Palestine”. In the Trump Police State we can expect to see a lot of the extremist Republican “wish list” find fulfillment. Israel is at the top of that list, along with the elimination of Social Security and Medicare.]
In appointing David Friedman as the next ambassador to Israel, Donald Trump voiced a desire to “strive for peace in the Middle East.” Unfortunately, his chosen representative would be far more likely to provoke conflict in Israel and the occupied territories, heighten regional tensions and undermine American leadership.
Mr. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who has represented the president-elect in matters involving Atlantic City casinos, has no diplomatic experience, unlike nearly every American ambassador who has served in this most sensitive of posts. That might not be quite so alarming if he didn’t also hold extremist views that are radically at odds with American policy and with the views of most Americans.
Mr. Friedman has doubted the need for a two-state solution, under which Israelis and Palestinians could live side by side in peace. Ignoring international law and decades of policy under Republican and Democratic administrations, he has endorsed continued Israeli settlement of occupied territory in the West Bank, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 war. Mr. Friedman has gone so far as to endorse even the annexation of some of that land, where Palestinians hope to build a state of their own.
There are other reasons to question Mr. Friedman’s fitness for the post. He has accused President Obama of anti-Semitism, absurdly, and called supporters of J Street — a liberal American Jewish organization that has lobbied for a two-state solution and the Iran nuclear deal — “far worse than kapos — Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” American ambassadors to Israel traditionally maintain close contacts with American Jews, as well as Israeli officials, but Mr. Friedman reportedly told a closed-door forum in Washington earlier this month that he would refuse to meet with J Street, effectively ostracizing a significant part of the community.
In a further sign of Mr. Friedman’s apparent zeal for confrontation rather than diplomatic finesse, he has announced that he expects to have his office in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv, where the American Embassy has been for 68 years, along with the embassies of most other countries. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem, which has sites that are sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews, as their capital. Like the crucial questions of borders, Israeli security and the fate of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, the contested status of Jerusalem should be resolved by negotiation, not by American fiat. Unilaterally relocating the embassy to Jerusalem would be interpreted as tipping the scale for Israel, further eroding America’s role as an honest broker.
Donald Trump promised to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem during his campaign. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also promised to move the embassy when they first ran for president, only to drop the idea after their elections because they realized that such a highly charged symbolic gesture would anger Arabs and undermine peace efforts.
The Trump administration could make the move pretty easily by slapping an “embassy” sign on the building that is now the American Consulate in Jerusalem and deals primarily with Palestinian issues. No one can predict what the fallout might be, but the sorrowful history of the conflict suggests that such a move would provoke violence and impede Israeli efforts to improve relations with major Sunni Arab states.
Like any president-elect, Mr. Trump is within his rights to nominate whomever he pleases. But with his choice of Mr. Friedman, he has displayed a dangerous ignorance of or indifference to the land mines across the Middle East. The Senate has the responsibility to protect Mr. Trump and the country from taking this reckless step.