Media Contacts:

Phyllis Bennis, pbennis@ips-dc.org, 202 787 5206
Domenica Ghanem, domenica@ips-dc.org, 202 787 5205

Today, David Friedman testified at his confirmation hearing for U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

This is the response from Institute for Policy Studies Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis, author of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, who has been analyzing U.S. Middle East and foreign policy for more than 40 years:

“David Friedman’s extremist views go far beyond the U.S.’ historic one-sided, uncritical support for Israel. He reflects the extreme far right forces now ascendant in Israeli politics. During his confirmation hearing, Friedman’s racist views of Palestinians were on full display, stating “I know some Palestinians who are just like everybody else,” making clear that in his view, ‘normal’ Palestinians are the exception.

Friedman answered Senator Markey’s question regarding annexation as if he was unaware of the  more than 50 Israeli laws that guarantee specific rights to Jewish citizens that are denied to Palestinian citizens of Israel, saying he “can’t imagine different rights for different citizens.”

Friedman has previously name-called liberal Jews, called President Obama an anti-Semite, and called supporters of the centrist Jewish organization J-Street “worse than kapos.” He asked senators to accept his word that we would be more diplomatic as an ambassador and said he ‘regretted’ the language he used, but refused to apologize for the ideas or his vituperative writings as a private citizen.

Friedman’s definition of peace amounts to ending all Palestinian resistance, including peaceful resistance, and accepting the existing conditions of colonial settlement, discrimination, land theft, and apartheid. His ‘peace’ is merely the absence of conflict, rather than the presence of justice.”

Available for comment:

Phyllis Bennis, Middle East foreign policy expert and author of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
pbennis@ips-dc.org, 202 787 5206

Phyllis Bennis is the director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.