Top Jewish senator blasts Trump's pick for Israel envoy

Feinstein is the most senior elected official to come out against Friedman's appointment thus far.

March 7, 2017 17:17
1 minute read.
US Senator Diane Feinstein (D - Ca.)

US Senator Diane Feinstein (D - Ca.). (photo credit: FACEBOOK)

US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Tuesday came out against President Donald Trump's choice for America's top envoy to Israel, describing the nominee as too "extreme" and "divisive" for such an important diplomatic position.

In a scathing op-ed column written for The San Francisco Chronicle, Feinstein argued that David Friedman's nomination to the post would be a serious detriment for the prospects of a two-state solution, adding that he "rejects decades of bipartisan US policy and international consensus toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

"President Trump has nominated someone who lacks the necessary temperament to serve in such a crucial position. His divisive rhetoric and dangerous positions are contrary to long-held policy and would undermine our national security by further inflaming tensions in the region."

Friedman has publicly stated that he opposes a future Palestinian state, described former US president Barack Obama's administration as "antisemitic," and has compared supporters of the liberal Jewish American advocacy group J Street as "worse than kapos," or Nazi concentration camp prisoners appointed to supervise the forced labor of other Jews.
David Friedman at Pro-Trump rally in Jerusalem before elections: A Trump administration will never pressure Israel into two-state solution (credit: REUTERS)

Feinstein, who is the longest-serving Jewish lawmaker in the Senate, added that Friedman's "confirmation would only fan the flames" in the region and the greater Middle East.

"We need an ambassador who will bridge the divide between Israelis and Palestinians, not make it worse," she added.

Feinstein is the most senior elected official to come out against Friedman's appointment thus far. Friedman, however, is still expected to be confirmed by the upper chamber of Congress later this month.

The senior California senator is a staunch supporter of the two-state solution and was endorsed by dovish lobbying organization J Street in 2012 during her re-election campaign. She also attended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial address to the US Congress in March 2015, in which he pleaded with lawmakers to reject the Iranian nuclear agreement signed just months later.

She never-the-less criticized the premier for his "arrogance" before the address, and said that his invitation to speak before both chambers of Congress during an Israeli election period was "highly inappropriate."

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