TEL AVIV – Ahead of Thursday’s vote on the confirmation of David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel, the president of the World Jewish Congress said the criticism leveled against President Donald Trump’s nominee was “beyond outrageous and really quite wrong.”
In a letter addressed to Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is set to vote on Friedman’s appointment later in the week, WJC head Ronald S. Lauder said he believed Friedman “would be a tremendous US ambassador to Israel.”
“One might disagree with him [Friedman] on a political point, but that doesn’t mean he is not extremely capable, upstanding, and that the president should have the absolute right to nominate whomever he desires,” Lauder wrote in the letter which was obtained by the Algemeiner.
“I have come to know Mr. Friedman over the past few months and I can attest to his brilliance, his honesty, and the strength of his character,” he added.
Corker also received a letter from Michael Siegal, the former chairman of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), expressing his amazement at the “vitriol” directed at Friedman.
Siegal hailed Friedman as “gracious” and “humble,” and said, “I think all people will be quite pleased by the eloquence and determination he will display in representing all of us to the Jewish State of Israel.”
Several Jewish groups have expressed support for Friedman’s appointment, among them the JFNA, the Zionist Organization of America, the Orthodox Union, the American Jewish Congress, the National Council of Young Israel, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
However, a long list of liberal Jewish groups have slammed Trump’s nominee for his controversial remarks, which include a reference to members of the far-left, George Soros-financed Mideast advocacy group J Street as “kapos” – Jews who collaborated with Nazis.
At his first Senate confirmation hearing in February, Friedman apologized for using “inflammatory language” during the presidential campaign. Friedman, a known supporter of settlements, clarified his stance on the two state solution, saying that while it was the “best possibility for peace” it had failed so far due to Palestinian intransigence.