The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association have profound concerns about President-Elect Trump’s proposal to appoint David Friedman as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Mr. Friedman has, as recently as June 2016, publicly accused President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry of anti-Semitism, and he has described Jewish supporters of J Street as “worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” (6/5/16 – Arutz Sheva). He has also recently called for the total abandonment of the goal of a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which places him at odds with decades of American foreign policy and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated policy.
America’s Ambassador to Israel needs to be someone with outstanding diplomatic skills. We find Mr. Friedman’s “kapos” remarks to be offensive and dangerous, and we worry that his undiplomatic rhetoric is likely to be highly divisive and alienating to large parts of the American-Jewish community and the progressive Israeli-Jewish community.
We hope that the next U.S. Administration will appoint an Ambassador to Israel who is an expert in the art of diplomacy and bridge-building, someone who can strengthen the relationship between a politically diverse American-Jewish community and an equally politically diverse Israeli society.
Photo credit: James Emery. This image was originally posted to Flickr by hoyasmeg.