In Letter to Top Senator, WJC Head Lauder Defends Trump’s Pick to Serve as Next US Envoy to Israel, Blasts Criticism as ‘Beyond Outrageous’
Much of the criticism of attorney David Friedman — President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next US ambassador to Israel — has been “beyond outrageous and really quite wrong,” the president of the World Jewish Congress said in a recent letter, seen by The Algemeiner, to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, which is set to vote on the Friedman appointment later this week.
“One might disagree with him [Friedman] on a political point, but that doesn’t mean he is not extremely capable, upstanding, and that the president should have the absolute right to nominate whomever he desires,” Ronald S. Lauder wrote to Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee last Tuesday.
“I have come to know Mr. Friedman over the past few months and I can attest to his brilliance, his honesty, and the strength of his character,” Lauder continued.
Lauder further stated he believed Friedman “would be a tremendous US ambassador to Israel.”
Also writing to Corker last week in support of Friedman was Michael Siegal — a former chairman of both the Jewish Federations of North America and Israel Bonds International. Siegal said he was “somewhat amazed and perplexed at the vitriol” that has been directed at Friedman by opponents of his appointment.
Siegal described Friedman as “gracious” and “humble,” and predicted, “I think all people will be quite pleased by the eloquence and determination he will display in representing all of us to the Jewish State of Israel.”
Many liberal Jewish groups have spoken out against the Friedman appointment, in part due to past controversial comments and positions, including his slurring last year of J Street supporters as “far worse than kapos” — Jews who collaborated with the Nazis.
For the first time ever, the Union for Reform Judaism last month publicly expressed opposition to an ambassador appointment.
At his mid-February Senate confirmation hearing, Friedman said he regretted his use of “inflammatory language” during the presidential campaign. He also clarified his position on the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling it the “best possibility for peace.”