This is on open letter to Arizona senators Jeff Flake and John McCain from two college students who are members of J Street U, the college and university campus organizing arm of J Street.
Dear Senators Flake and McCain,
We write to you as proud Arizonans, members of the local Jewish community and pro-Israel college students. We care deeply about a peaceful and just future for the State of Israel, and we are therefore driven to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a strong relationship between the U.S. and Israel based on our shared values.
These convictions are precisely why we write to you today to urge you to oppose the confirmation of David Friedman, President Trump’s nominee for US Ambassador to Israel.
David Friedman is wholly unfit and unqualified to represent the interests of the United States in this role. He has a track record of extreme statements and views which call into question his ability to perform the duties of ambassador effectively.
Friedman has been a vocal proponent of West Bank settlements. These settlements have been considered a serious obstacle to peace by every previous U.S. administration. Friedman serves as the president of an organization devoted to their expansion and the undermining of a two-state solution. He has publicly criticized the two-state solution and aggressively attacked those who support it, including the vast majority of American Jews and senior US officials.
Friedman has called liberal Jews “worse than kapos,” in a twisted reference to Jews who aided the Nazi regime during World War II. He has also called them “not real Jews,” attempting to delegitimize and vilify those within his own community who disagree with his controversial and destructive policies.
In a volatile region where words matter, confirming Friedman as ambassador to Israel could bring about frightening consequences. His reckless language and disregard for diplomatic precedent has the potential to inflame conflict in the region, anger key partners, and put American and allied lives in danger.
As your constituents, we urge you to vote against the confirmation of David Friedman. Instead, we need leadership that will stand by effective diplomacy and a two-state solution as the only framework for a just and democratic peace in the region. We can’t allow the forces of hate and division to pervade our foreign policy and harm our interests.
Jonathan Wasserman, Arizona State University
Michaela Davenport, University of Arizona