Appreciate this article? +972 depends on your support.

Click here to help us keep going

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

WATCH: Trump Israel envoy praises Israeli leftists — for sending kids to the army

‘I don’t feel the same way about the Israeli Left as I do about the American Left, because the Israeli Left deeply, deeply care about their country,’ Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel is recorded saying.

Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next American ambassador to Israel has come under intense criticism for, among other things, saying the Jewish American pro-peace lobby J Street is “far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.”

But the contempt that Friedman, Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyer with no diplomatic credentials, feels for American leftists does not extend to left-wing Israelis who hold the exact same positions.

In a video published by prominent Israeli political blogger Tal Schneider on Wednesday, Friedman says he respects the Israeli Left because unlike left-wing Americans, they care about their country. Oh yeah, and they send their kids to the army.

“Israel has a very active left wing. I don’t feel the same way about the Israeli Left as I do about the American Left, because the Israeli Left are sending their kids to the army, and the Israeli Left deeply, deeply care about their country,” Friedman told a room full of people in his hometown of Woodmere, NY on the eve of the presidential election. “In their case it’s a matter of conscience.”

“The American Left — they just don’t care about Israel. So it’s a different dynamic. So I respect the Israeli Left but don’t agree with them,” Friedman continued. “Israel is a center-right country but they have a strong Left and those people, obviously have a right to be heard as well.”

Not all Israeli leftists send their children to the army, of course. Three young Israeli women are currently doing time in military prison for refusing to complete their compulsory military service, and specifically for refusing to serve in the occupation.

Furthermore, the left-wing Israeli group that has come under the most fire in recent years, called traitors and worse, is Breaking the Silence, a group of former Israeli army combat soldiers who speak out about their military service in the occupied territories.

Sections of the video were originally published a week ago by CNN, which reported on other parts of the speech but not Friedman’s remarks on Israeli leftists, which had gone unreported until now. According to CNN, however, the video was removed from Facebook and video-hosting website Vimeo after the publication of its article.

Schneider, who declined to reveal where or from whom she acquired the video, published the clip on her Hebrew-language website, The Plog, along with several others. The other videos appear to be the same clips that CNN reported on last week, and which were subsequently taken down. In them, Friedman talks about how along with Christians United for Israel (CUFI), he removed any reference to the two-state solution from the latest Republican platform.

Friedman is currently in the middle of a contentious confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate, where despite significant opposition from Democrats, he is expected to be confirmed. In the would-be ambassador’s first hearing last month, he walked back his previous comments about J Street, and said that the two-state solution, “remains, I believe, the best possibility for peace in the region.”

Friedman, who has served as the head of an organization that raises money for Israeli settlements, and who according to Haaretz even had a building — which was illegally built on privately owned Palestinian land — dedicated in his name, also said in his Senate confirmation hearing that “settlements may not be helpful.”

The nomination of an ambassador to Israel who up until his appointment supported Israeli settlements, opposed the two-state solution, and compared left-wing Jews to Nazi collaborators, has been met with concerted campaigns and protests by American Jewish groups who oppose his selection.

Perhaps Israeli left-wing groups will find him to be slightly more of an ally, albeit an awkward and uncomfortable one. Human rights groups often spurned and tarnished by the Israeli government tend to cooperate with American diplomats in Israel. The previous U.S. ambassador to the country, Dan Shapiro, was outspoken critic of Israeli legislative and other measures targeting left-wing and human rights groups.

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Firentis

      When he refers to the Israeli Left he means Labor and Meretz. He doesn’t mean the extreme left represented by B’tselem, Shovrim Shtika and 972mag. He is talking about an Israeli Zionist Left that actually cares about their own country more than about those that want to destroy it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        That reminds me – what’s B’tselem been up to lately? ( http://www.btselem.org/ )

        “In Jan. and Feb. 2017 Israeli authorities demolished water supply infrastructure in two West Bank areas…For 2.5 weeks, beginning in late Jan. 2017, the military blocked all vehicular access to and from the Palestinian village of ‘Azzun, as collective punishment for incidents of stone throwing…This morning, 20 Feb. 2017, the Civil Administration demolished the home of an elderly woman – a trailer donated by a humanitarian aid organization – in the Palestinian community of al-Mehtiwish…The report B’Tselem published today shows how Israel has been taking over Palestinian rural space, fragmenting it, dispossessing its residents of land and water…”

        Reply to Comment
        • Firentis

          B’tselem has been faithfully producing anti-Israel propaganda reports as per their European donors order.

          Reply to Comment
    2. R5

      Generally sound argument from Friedman about the Israeli left – they’re willing to invest in the physical security of Jews, and the American left is not. The guy is a doofus for drawing a comparison to Kapos in public (politically unwise), but his observation that throwing Jews under the bus under extreme duress is less bad that doing it for no reason at all (J Street) makes perfect sense. People not on board with that are playing dumb.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      “Friedman says he respects the Israeli Left because unlike left-wing Americans, they care about their country. Oh yeah, and they send their kids to the army.”

      Does US Ambassador Friedman send his kids to the US Army? Inquiring minds want to know but strongly suspect the answer is “no.” The thing about the American Right Wing is that they are all for other people’s kids doing the fighting while their own kids are too busy and otherwise preoccupied to fight and die in needless wars. But they “care deeply about their country.” Of course. Friedman is an extraordinary hypocrite.

      Reply to Comment
      • R5

        Love Ben’s dive into out-right anti-Semitism here. Yes, Jews serve in the US armed forces. This trope is about 100 years old and still bubbling up in the scum of some brains I guess.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Dave

      So basically, this pos is setting up left wing American Jews; i.e., any Jew who voted Democrat in the last election, as being a “legitimate” target for any white supremacist douchebag with a wild hair up his ass. The kicker is that there seems to be a concensus amongst most Israelis, that; “they have it coming”, hence their comparative silence and that of their governmentin in the face of this shitstorm. Nice. I’m glad my folks aren’t alive to see this.

      Reply to Comment
© 2010 - 2017 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website powered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel