Friday’s New York Times had four articles against Donald Trump’s choice to be the US ambassador to Israel.
Yes – four articles in one day. Two “news” articles, one editorial, and one op-ed.
The main news article on Friedman was “David Friedman, Choice for Envoy to Israel, Is Hostile to Two-State Efforts.”
David M. Friedman, an Orthodox Jewish bankruptcy lawyer from Long Island, is Donald J. Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel, despite his lack of diplomatic experience and frequent statements that flout decades of bipartisan American policy.
“Bankruptcy law and involvement with settlements are not normally seen as an appropriate qualifications for the job,” one of its former occupants, Martin S. Indyk, said on Friday. “But then these are not normal times.”
Nah, no bias there, to quote Indyk first. As if no American president has ever appointed an ambassadorship to someone with no diplomatic experience before. Oh, wait – Obama and previous presidents have done so routinely, handing out ambassadorships to fundraisers fortheir campaigns, sometimes with good results and sometimes with embarrassingly bad results.
The next NYT story takes some quotes of Friedman’s from his writings at Arutz-7:
David M. Friedman, the bankruptcy lawyer nominated by Donald J. Trump to become ambassador to Israel, has for at least a year regularly contributed columns to Arutz 7, a right-leaning Israeli news site.
Interestingly, while they published excerpts of eight of his articles in Arutz-7, they didn’t excerpt this one:
While a student of American and Israeli foreign policy, I am no expert. I have little to add to the disgust already expressed by the experts with regard to the horrific agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran – undoubtedly the worst international accord since Neville Chamberlain conceded Eastern Europe to Hitler. But I am an expert in negotiations, especially with difficult and often dishonest counterparties. And in that context, I would like to weigh in on how utterly inept Obama and Kerry proved to be.
A phrase commonly used for a negotiation where everything is up for grabs and there are wide swings between the bids and the asks is a “Persian Bazaar.” In a Persian Bazaar, the overriding rule is caveat emptor – let the buyer beware – and there is not even a pretext of honesty, integrity or good faith.
The Iranian nuclear negotiations were a prototypical Persian Bazaar. The Mullahs repeatedly spoke out of both sides of their mouths, professing, simultaneously, a desire for world peace and for death to America and Israel, making supposed concessions and then taking them back, refusing to consider new issues and then adding new conditions of their own. What would you expect? They are Persians playing a game they invented. And the United States was badly outplayed.
There are some basic rules to negotiation in such an environment. Simple and obvious rules that America flubbed at every opportunity.
Because it shows that in at least one aspect, Friedman knows a hell of a lot more than all the editors at the New York Times combined.
Then comes the op-ed from former ambassador Daniel Kurtzer:
Donald Trump’s Israel Ambassador Pick Is Hazardous to PeaceThrough his other appointments thus far, Mr. Trump has made it clear that he wants to take American policy in an abruptly new direction. In the Middle East, especially in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mr. Trump’s approach is a prescription for trouble and the loss of American credibility.
The consequences of acting upon Mr. Friedman’s public suggestions are clearly dangerous. Moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem — not a pressing issue for most Israelis — will inspire riots across the Islamic world.
So to this diplomat, doing the right things always takes a back seat to the veto power of the fear of Muslims. Good to know.
Finally, the editorial itself:
There are other reasons to question Mr. Friedman’s fitness for the post. He has accused President Obama of anti-Semitism, absurdly, and called supporters of J Street — a liberal American Jewish organization that has lobbied for a two-state solution and the Iran nuclear deal — “far worse than kapos — Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” American ambassadors to Israel traditionally maintain close contacts with American Jews, as well as Israeli officials, but Mr. Friedman reportedly told a closed-door forum in Washington earlier this month that he would refuse to meet with J Street, effectively ostracizing a significant part of the community.
J-Street isn’t a significant part of the Jewish community. It is a significant part of the White House strategy to split the Jewish community. Too bad the NYT doesn’t know the difference.
In a further sign of Mr. Friedman’s apparent zeal for confrontation rather than diplomatic finesse, he has announced that he expects to have his office in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv, where the American Embassy has been for 68 years, along with the embassies of most other countries. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem, which has sites that are sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews, as their capital. Like the crucial questions of borders, Israeli security and the fate of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, the contested status of Jerusalem should be resolved by negotiation, not by American fiat. Unilaterally relocating the embassy to Jerusalem would be interpreted as tipping the scale for Israel, further eroding America’s role as an honest broker.
I still have not seen a decent argument against moving the embassy to Jerusalem within the Green Line, and the NYT is not adding any. It obfuscates the issue, making it sound like the Arabs have a valid claim on Israel within the Green Line. US diplomats visit Jerusalem routinely without any Arab objection, because after all it is where Israel’s leaders live and work. It is a silly fiction that the 45 minute drive between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is needed for peace.
This isn’t a reasoned objection to Friedman. This is an obsession.
And, as the Free Beacon notes, the NYT derangement over Friedman spills over into Twitter.
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