The US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman yesterday said that he is an “unapologetic right-wing defender of Israel” and described himself as a “security hawk”.
Friedman made the comments in a speech at the Jewish Federation of North America’s General Assembly meeting, which took place in Tel Aviv yesterday. He told the audience – comprised of some 700 US and Canadian Jewish delegates – that:
“I will bet that there are people in this room who disagree with me on Israeli policy — I am an unapologetic right-wing defender of Israel. I’m a security hawk. That’s who I am.”
— Andy (@AndyOistins) October 24, 2018
According to the Times of Israel, he went on to say that his response to these critics would be:
“I value your thinking, I respect your views and, most importantly, I’m grateful that you care, that you care enough to form an opinion on this incredibly important subject, and we can now have a discussion”.
"I am an unapologetic hard right defender of #Israel and a security hawk. That’s who I am."
– US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman pic.twitter.com/LlFDb2oBVa
— Raphael Ahren (@RaphaelAhren) October 24, 2018
Friedman has been a controversial figure since he took office in 2017. He has been vocal about his ardently pro-Israel views, in September ruling out the possibility of any future US administration reversing the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Referring to Israel’s ongoing occupation of the territory which it captured in 1967, he likewise added that:
“I cannot imagine a situation in which the Golan Heights will be returned to Syria”.
Last week it was announced that Friedman would guide the merger of the US embassy to Israel with the Jerusalem Consulate – the US’ diplomatic mission to the Palestinians – after the latter was downgraded.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move was meant to “achieve significant efficiencies and increase our effectiveness,” but was interpreted by Palestinian officials as proof that “the US administration has adopted the agenda of the far-right Israeli settler movement”. The choice of Friedman as the overseer of the merger was interpreted as an additional blow to Palestinians.
It's cute that the US embassy is trying to walk back this photo, but that's Trump's fanatical Ambassador to Israel, David "there is no occupation" Friedman, smiling with a poster that eliminates the Muslim Aqsa & Golden Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem's temple mount. pic.twitter.com/BGNxBAa29P
— Omar Baddar (@OmarBaddar) May 22, 2018
Friedman has a history of supporting Israel’s policy of illegal settlement, in May coming under heavy criticism for accepting an image in which Jerusalem’s iconic Dome of the Rock had been replaced by a Jewish Temple. The incident sparked outrage, with Cairo’s Al-Azhar university denouncing the incident and Hamas labeling the move as incitement.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)