Dear Senators Donnelly and Young,
We write to you as proud American Jews, Indiana residents and pro-Israel college students. As strong advocates for Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state and Palestinian human rights, we strongly support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with a strong US-Israel relationship based on our shared values.
It is with these important goals and principles in mind that we urge you to vote against the confirmation of David Friedman, President Trump’s nominee to serve as US ambassador to Israel.
David Friedman is unequivocally unfit to serve in this sensitive and important position as a representative of our country. His extreme views, rhetoric and temperament make clear that he is deeply unqualified and would present a danger to US and Israeli interests, undermining the prospects for peace in a tumultuous region.
Friedman is a prominent supporter of the settlement movement in the West Bank, leading an organization that has contributed millions of dollars to expanding and entrenching settlements that are designed to undermine the possibility of a two-state solution. Again and again, he has publicly criticized the two-state solution. Despite the fact that supporting two states is a longstanding bipartisan US policy, Friedman has viciously mocked and attacked those who support it, including the overwhelming majority of American Jews and senior US officials.
We are appalled by Friedman’s repugnant attacks on American Jews who share our support for a liberal democracy, diplomacy and peace. Friedman has called liberal Jews “worse than kapos,” referring to Jews during World War II who assisted the Nazi regime. He has even called liberal Jews, like us, “not real Jews.” This rhetoric disrespects the legacy of the Holocaust, its millions of victims and its survivors. It reveals Friedman’s hateful and deeply divisive worldview, especially when he is attacking his own community.
Placing someone so undiplomatic in the important role of Ambassador to Israel could have devastating consequences for Israelis, Palestinians and Americans. It could trigger new crises and international incidents that could cost real lives on the ground. And it is guaranteed to undermine any US efforts to help Israel pursue and achieve peace.
As proud Indiana hoosiers, we hold in high esteem the fact that we have the highest per capita of people enlisted in the military. We highly value the sacrifice our military and their families give for this country and want to do the same for Israel — a place where everyone goes into the army. Inserting Friedman into the already volatile Middle East could exacerbate conflicts, putting even more lives on the line.
As your constituents, we implore you, Senators, to oppose this nomination and to vote against Friedman’s appointment. Now is not the time to enable more hatred, ignorance and volatility, least of all in the Middle East. We need our leaders to uphold the mainstream, bipartisan policy of pragmatic US diplomatic leadership and support for a two-state solution that will secure Israel’s future and the feasibility of a future state of Palestine. We need to reject extreme positions and divisive words.
Friedman’s nomination must be rejected. We ask you to publicly stand up for American diplomacy, Israel’s future and basic decency and vote against this nominee.
Leah Grynheim, Indiana University
Esther Florence Roselaar, Purdue University