President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday named David M. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer aligned with the Israeli far right, as his nominee for ambassador to Israel, elevating a campaign adviser who has questioned the need for a two-state solution and has likened left-leaning Jews in America to the Jews who aided the Nazis in the Holocaust....Haaretz's Chemi Shalev says that Friedman
Mr. Friedman, who has no diplomatic experience, has said that he does not believe it would be illegal for Israel to annex the occupied West Bank and he supports building new settlements there, which Washington has long condemned as illegitimate and an obstacle to peace.
is an extreme right-winger. He might find a place in the settler movement or with Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi Party, but only on its right-wing fringes. He makes Benjamin Netanyahu seem like a left-wing defeatist. From where Friedman stands, most Israelis, never mind most American Jews, are more or less traitors.The Forward notes the Jared Kushner connection:
... Friedman’s appointment ... could weaken Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority -- which would please Friedman, as he has often written -- and give rise to more extreme leaders who will try to spark a new and violent intifada.
In recent years, the parents of Jared Kushner -- the son-in-law and trusted confidant of President-elect Donald Trump -- have donated tens of thousands of dollars to organizations and institutions located in the West Bank settlements, according to their tax forms....But isn't Trump's fan base full of anti-Semites? If you're a Jewish journalist and you write something negative about Trump, aren't you likely to be bombarded with Photoshopped depictions of yourself in the gas chambers, and worse? How do we reconcile these things?
Jared Kushner ... sits on the board of his parents’ family foundation....
Among organizations and institutions in the West Bank that receive funding from the Kushner family, the leading beneficiary is American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva. Located in one of the more hard-line, ideological settlements, Beit El Yeshiva received $20,000 from the Kushner family in 2013.
The president of American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva, whose offices are located in Forest Hills, New York, is David Friedman....
I don't think Trump has deep convictions about Jews or the state of Israel. If he has a deeply held belief, it's that he likes fighting with people -- and in the case of both the pro-settlement hardliners and the anti-Semitic alt-right, he's siding with the angriest, least accommodating people. Such people are always Trump's kind of people.
This also explains why a guy who had moderate or even liberal views on a numbers of issues over the years is now putting together the most conservative Cabinet in American history: Trump likes picking fights, and the right is where you want to go if you think everything in politics should be a zero-sum battle to the death.
In politics, where did Trump find his happy place? He found it watching Fox News, where every ideological disagreement is for massive stakes and on every issue there can be only one winner. Trump mixes traditional Roger Ailes conservatism with Pat Buchanan paleoconservatism and Steve Bannon whatever-it-is-ism -- and being an ultra on Israel works too. Whatever leads to the most combat.