Trump’s Israel envoy ‘unqualified’, say five former ambassadors

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Trump’s Israel envoy ‘unqualified’, say five former ambassadors

A group of Republican and Democratic former envoys slap down president Trump's choice of David Friedman to be the top diplomat to the Jewish state

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump

Five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel have said Donald Trump’s choice of envoy is “unqualified for the position,” in an unprecedented diplomatic slap.

The group – a mix of Democratic and Republican presidential choices spanning three decades – joined forces this week in a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressing “concern” about David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who supports settlements.

Friedman has no diplomatic or political experience, but helped bail out Trump’s businesses. He funds Jewish settlements in the West Bank and has said American Jews who support the establishment of a Palestinian state are “worse than kapos”, in reference to Jews who turned in other Jews in Nazi death camps. He also said President Obama and John Kerry were “anti-Semitic” and described the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as “morons”.

Among the five former ambassadors is Thomas Pickering, an influential figure who has been at the heart of U.S. national security and foreign policy decision making since working with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1970s.

In the letter, they say Friedman holds “extreme, radical positions” and thinks the two-state solution is an “illusory solution to a non-existent problem”. They questioned his “balance and the temperament,” saying an ambassador “must be dedicated to advancing our country’s longstanding bipartisan goals in the region”.

They added: “If Israel is to carry on as a Jewish, democratic nation, respected internationally, we see no alternative to a two-state solution… We are concerned that Mr Friedman strongly disagrees.” They asked the Committee to carefully evaluate his appointment, saying: “We believe [Friedman] to be unqualified for the position.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: