By Isabel Kershner and Sheryl Gay Stolberg / The New York Times
December 16, 2016
“He has made clear that he will appeal to a small minority of Israeli — and American — extremists, ignoring the majority of Israelis who continue to seek peace. Friedman’s appointment as ambassador runs directly contrary to Mr. Trump’s professed desire to make the ‘ultimate deal’ between Israelis and Palestinians.”
He is president of the American fund-raising arm for a yeshiva in a settlement deep in the West Bank headed by a militant rabbi who has called for Israeli soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate settlers.
He writes a column for a right-wing Israeli news site in which he has accused President Obama of “blatant anti-Semitism,” dismissed the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, likened a liberal American-Jewish group to “kapos” who cooperated with the Nazis, and said American Jewish leaders “failed” Israel on the Iran nuclear deal.
Now, David M. Friedman, an Orthodox Jewish bankruptcy lawyer from Long Island, is Donald J. Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel, despite his lack of diplomatic experience and frequent statements that flout decades of bipartisan American policy.
“Bankruptcy law and involvement with settlements are not normally seen as an appropriate qualifications for the job,” one of its former occupants, Martin S. Indyk, said on Friday. “But then these are not normal times.”
Mr. Friedman, 58, has done legal work for Mr. Trump since at least 2001, when he handled negotiations with bondholders on Mr. Trump’s struggling casinos in Atlantic City. Mr. Friedman represented Mr. Trump’s personal interests in the bankruptcies of the casinos in 2004, 2009 and 2014.
Their relationship was cemented in 2005, friends said, when Mr. Trump traveled three hours in a snowstorm to pay a condolence call on Mr. Friedman after the death of his father, a prominent Long Island rabbi.