America’s ambassador to Israel caused a diplomatic shudder last week after referring to Israel’s “alleged occupation” of Palestinian territories.
The U.S. State Department was forced to clarity comments made by David Friedman, who was Donald Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer before being made envoy, in interview he held with Jerusalem Post late last week.
The interview has since been removed but one of two journalists who interviewed him confirmed the comments, and U.S. officials quickly stressed that his statement did not represent a change in thinking.
“The ambassador’s comment in the interview does not represent a shift in U.S policy,” a U.S. official told The Guardian.
“President Trump has made clear that it is a top priority for him to work toward achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. He remains optimistic that progress to that can be achieved.”
A Jewish New Yorker, Friedman does not believe in a Palestinian state, is an ardent advocate of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and has said that liberal American Jews are “worse than kapos,” a reference to Jewish concentration camp prisoners who worked for the SS guards.