Trump's Pick for Israel Envoy Angers Liberal US Jewish Groups
Hard-liner David Friedman backs moving embassy to Jerusalem
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 16, 2016 7:47 AM CST
President-elect Donald Trump speaks in Cincinnati on Dec. 1.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(Newser) – Donald Trump has announced that he will nominate attorney David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel, selecting an envoy who supports Israeli settlements and other changes to US policies in the region, reports the AP. Friedman says he looks forward to carrying out his duties from "the US embassy in Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem," even though the embassy is in Tel Aviv. Like some of his predecessors, Trump has vowed to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, a politically charged act that would anger Palestinians who want east Jerusalem as part of their sovereign territory. The move would also distance the US from most of the international community, including its closest allies in Western Europe and the Arab world.

The president-elect says Friedman will "maintain the special relationship" between the US and Israel. But the announcement sparked anger from liberal Jewish groups, with the president of J Street calling Friedman's nomination "reckless," citing his support for settlements and his questioning of a two-state solution with the Palestinians. (Friedman has previously likened liberal Jews in the US to Jews who aided the Nazis during World War II, notes the New York Times.) The statement doesn't detail how Friedman could work in Jerusalem. One option would involve Friedman, if confirmed by the Senate, working out of an existing US consulate in Jerusalem. The administration would essentially deem the facility the American embassy by virtue of the ambassador working there.

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