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Ambassador Friedman visit to Israel October 08, 2017, speaking with Bezalel Smotrich. Credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

David Friedman, financier for the fanatical Israeli “settlers” movement in Occupied Palestinian Territory, former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Ambassador to Israel, from May 5, 2017 to Jan. 20, 2021, expressed unofficially President Trump’s view of the genocide that Israel is inflicting on Palestinians. According to Israeli Channel 12 on Jan. 28, Friedman condemned the claim of Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing,” which President Joe Biden defensively used, as “an outright lie,” claiming Israelis do no such thing, and proclaimed, “I don’t trust the Palestinian Authority. They pay terrorists to kill Jews.” His take on a two-state solution for Palestinian-Israeli peace? “A Palestinian state would be a terrorist state.”

Friedman insisted that “all this malign activity [by Hamas, etc.] goes back to a strong Iran.”

Though Friedman is not a designated spokesman for Trump, it is plainly known that he and Trump are very close and share the same view on Israel. Their friendship dates back to 1994, when bankruptcy lawyer Friedman took on Trump as a client to represent Trump’s gambling empire (Trump owned 20% of all the gambling casinos in Atlantic City), which was then in bankruptcy.

But how Friedman became Trump’s Ambassador to Israel, and the manner in which, during their four years of work together in Southwest Asia, laid a foundation for the current Israeli genocide in Palestine, needs to be known. It will provide a competent understanding of the catastrophe engulfing Southwest Asia and the world today.

Friedman became attractive to Trump, based on his packaging of contributions and offering guidance to the “settlers’ movement” shock troops. In 1977-78, the West Bank settlement of Beit El was established through apparent land seizure by Gush Emunim (translated as Bloc of the Faithful), which was founded by Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook. Kook, a religious fundamentalist, founded an ultra-radical sect, and is considered one of the founders of Religious Zionism. Several of Kook’s followers established other West Bank settlements. Kook’s Gush Emunim had terrorist links. One of Rabbi Kook’s most ardent students and supporters was the American Meier Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League, who practiced vigilante violence against those he considered “anti-Semites.” Kahane won a seat in the Knesset, for which Rabbi Kook wrote a glowing letter of endorsement for Kahane’s campaign. Kahane served only one term, since he was convicted of terrorism.

In 1994, Kahane follower Baruch Goldstein carried out a massacre at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, shooting and killing 29 Muslim worshippers with an assault rifle.

David Friedman is the financer, and more importantly, a packager of money for Gush Emunim’s Beit El settlement. A Dec. 16, 2016, New York Times exposé, entitled, “David Friedman, Choice for Envoy to Israel, Is Hostile to Two-State Efforts,” reported that “Tax forms list Mr. Friedman as president of the American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva, which has raised about $2 million a year in recent years.” Indeed, it appears that Friedman may have helped raise and package between $10-$20 million or more for the illegal Beit El settlement.

The fact that Friedman, who was financing radical settlers to forcibly seize Palestinian land for settlements, should be named as U.S. Ambassador to Israel was an outrage. Friedman was only confirmed by the Senate by a 52 to 46 vote, with five former U.S. Ambassadors to Israel signing an open letter saying that Friedman was unqualified. Trump helped strong-arm the nomination through on Feb. 16, 2017.

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