Last week, we were informed that President- elect Donald Trump will appoint David Friedman as the next US Ambassador to Israel. Friedman is an unabashed supporter of Israel, and a proud member of the Jewish People. He, like Trump, is not politically correct, supports Israel’s right to settle in Judea and Samaria, and “worst” of all, does not believe in the viability of the two-state solution. The self-proclaimed Israel lovers all over the world are really worried.
Something must be done to stop this insanity! President-elect Trump must be brought to his senses! The future of Israel as a liberal democracy is at stake! If God forbid the US Embassy would be returned to its proper place – the unified city of Jerusalem – as advocated by Friedman, Israel’s place among the nations would be jeopardized, and they warn it would become, in the words of J Street, an “apartheid” state. The impression this and other similar groups in the Jewish “progressive” camp wish to purvey is that the United States would be creating havoc within the Arab world, would lose its influence, and it is clearly against American interests to allow such a policy to become reality.
Much is at stake. It is unthinkable that our local media, as well as that of Europe and parts of the American media, who presume to know it all, would find out that in reality – as compared to their imaginary media world – the annexation of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital would after 50 years be recognized as such, without ifs and without buts.
This is a war launched by the media, and it started with the New York Times’ mild headline of last Thursday: “Trump chooses hard-liner as ambassador to Israel.” But the column itself was far from mild. The Times made sure that its readers would know that in June Friedman wrote: “The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty … But J Street? They are just smug advocates of Israel’s destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas – it’s hard to imagine anyone worse.”
The sign was given, and the good and loyal soldier, in the form of Haaretz, immediately followed through. The next day, December 16, one might have thought that an international incident of the highest urgency had occurred. Their headline was “Trump taps David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel.” But in the article describing the atrocious act, we are informed “Friedman has been a columnist for two Israeli rightwing English-language media outlets: Arutz Sheva and The Jerusalem Post.” One wonders what some of the editorial writers in this paper think about their identification as being part of a “right-wing” newspaper. Personally, we are proud of it, but this is beside the point. Writing in a “right-wing newspaper” obviously identifies the author as belonging to an immoral camp. Friedman’s antipathy to J Street to whom he referred to in one of his articles as “worse than Kapos,” was similarly mentioned.
This, though, was just the beginning.
Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev, on the same day, had an article headlined: “Trump’s radical- right ambassador makes Netanyahu look like a J Street lefty.” True to form, the subtitle was: “It’s good thing ambassador-designate David Friedman will have diplomatic immunity; otherwise he might get arrested for incitement.” Shalev wrote that “from where Friedman stands, most Israelis … are more or less traitors.” Ridiculous, libelous, but who are we to dare and disagree with a Mr. Know-it-all? Indeed, in Shalev’s la-la land, Friedman’s ilk would “give rise to more extreme leaders who will try to spark a new intifada.”
Debra Nussbaum Cohen followed in the same direction, making sure to repeat Friedman’s crimes against J Street. Arieh Golan of Israel Radio, who had publicly sided with Hillary Clinton, was quick to pick up the implications. In his ramblings prior to the 7 a.m. news magazine on Friday morning, he made sure that all of Israel knows that Friedman dared to accuse those peace-loving J Street supporters. Actually, Friedman’s crime was of the worst kind: he dared to use World War 2 imagery with respect to the decent people of J Street.
Back at Haaretz, Allison Kaplan Sommer cited Friedman as saying “Palestinians seek ethnic cleansing of Jews.” The paper made sure to remind the world that on a September 11 interview, Friedman claimed that “Palestinians want ‘their so-called state’ to be, ‘as the Nazis said, Judenrein,’ or devoid of Jews.”
The battle intensified on that same Friday, with The New York Times, no less, describing the appointment as “a dangerous choice.”
In the words of the Times editorial board, Friedman “would be far more likely to provoke conflict in Israel and the occupied territories… and undermine American leadership.”
The New York Times also knows it all, noting that Friedman “hold(s) extremist views that are radically at odds with … the views of most Americans.” One wonders whether their source was the same reliable one that predicted the victory of Hillary Clinton.
But who cares about truth these days, when such catastrophic events are unfolding.
The onslaught continued Sunday with Barak Ravid, one of Haaretz’s senior correspondents, and true to form army radio station Galatz picked it up. Prior to the 7 a.m.
news, Asaf Lieberman, the anchor – whom we pointed out some weeks ago was also a Clinton supporter – made sure to read out his column, and then have Ro’I Dan and Rotem Danon, two discussants with the same views, criticize the appointment.
The European media followed through.
The Swiss Neue Zuericher Zeitung had the headline: “Trump is sending more than Netanyahu would like,” as if the correspondent, Ulrich Schmidt, knows how to read the prime minister’s mind. The article clarifies to the Swiss public that Friedman is an unrealistic hardliner. The Frankfurter Allgemiene Zeitung stressed that Friedman is an Orthodox Jew who supports moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and has nothing against the construction of settlements on “Palestinian land.” Their political correspondent for Israel, Jochen Stahnke, knows that Friedman calls all those who think differently “antisemites.” And so the diatribe continues.
The British Guardian was not far off the mark. Correspondents Peter Beuamont in Jerusalem and Julian Borger in Washington open their report with: “Donald Trump has named as his ambassador to Israel a pro-settler lawyer who has described some US Jews as worse than concentration camp prisoner- guards.”
The French LeMonde had it that “Friedman is actively engaged with the extreme Israeli right wing.”
Even veteran Israeli presenter Ya’akov Achimier broadcast on his weekly Saturday night Ch. 1 program “Seeing the World” a CNN review of Friedman’s appointment, without finding it necessary to mention that CNN was an avid supporter of Clinton, that it had its facts wrong prior to the election, and in general, has a pro-left bias.
The bottom line is clear: the liberal leftwing media will do all that it can to stop this appointment, with no holds barred. We would only hope that President-elect Trump will continue to ignore these voices which belong to the past, and do what he believes in, support Israel wholeheartedly.
The authors are members of Israel’s Media Watch (www.imediaw.org.il).