Portland's chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace calls on Oregon's Senators and Representatives to oppose the nomination of David Friedman as US Ambassador to Israel
Citing his record of support for illegal Israeli settlements and annexation of Palestinian land, the local chapter of the national organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, is calling for strong opposition to the Trump administration's choice for US Ambassador to Israel.
"The United States must break with the past and begin to play an honest role in upholding international law, human rights and equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis," explained Rod Such of JVP-Portland. "The Friedman nomination and the suggestion that the US move its embassy to Jerusalem are dangerous provocations that signal heightened oppression of the Palestinian people and risk increasing violence and instability for the region as a whole."
Local JVP members emphasized Friedman's lack of diplomatic experience as a key factor disqualifying Donald Trump's bankruptcy lawyer, but pointed to his extreme politics as the more serious danger of this nomination.
"Friedman is both a vigorous supporter and significant funder of the illegal, Jewish-only settlements in occupied Palestinian land, settlements that even the Trump administration seems belatedly to recognize as obstacles to peace," said Ned Rosch, another JVP-Portland member. "He has compared members of the Jewish peace advocacy organization, J-Street, to Jewish collaborators with the Nazis, he forcefully backs the illegal Israeli annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and he's endorsed the religious profiling of discriminatory screening of Muslim immigrants, a policy that has put our country into turmoil and trashed our standing in the international community."
“It’s difficult to understand how the US can play a constructive role in ending the half century old Israeli occupation of Palestinian land when this new administration wants to include a person like nominee David Friedman among its ranks,” explained Zaha Handoush, a human rights lawyer and JVP supporter. “Friedman is widely known to have led a US ‘charity' that sends money overseas to support a settlement-colony deep inside the West Bank only meters from the Palestinian president’s home; proponents and financial supporters of war crimes—which is what settlements in the occupied West Bank are—should be automatically disqualified from representing the US anywhere much less in the country where those crimes are taking place."
“Most disturbing is his role as fundraising chair of the militant and radical Bet El Settlement which promotes violence,” added Nick Khoury, Palestinian activist and JVP member. “He has stated his opposition to the two-state solution for Israel/Palestine with unrestricted illegal West Bank settlement construction and annexation.”
“Like we see with the DAPl [Dakota Access Pipeline] and the disregard this administration has for the indigenous land of the Standing Rock Sioux people, Israeli settlements are illegal and constitute theft of homes, lands, livelihoods and often of lives of Palestinians," said Maxine Fookson, another JVP member. “This is the movement that Mr. Friedman represents.”
In addition to urging the Oregon Delegation to oppose Friedman's nomination, JVP-Portland is encouraging fellow Oregonians to speak out. "We hope we can stop this nomination early in the process, specifically in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee," said Peter Miller, another JVP member, "so we're asking folks to call the leaders of that committee, Senators Bob Corker and Ben Cardin, to explain that Friedman’s dangerous extremism threatens any prospects for a just peace in Palestine-Israel."
JVP-Portland is also calling on other local Jewish organizations to speak out on this nomination and the proposed relocation of the US embassy. "We are encouraged that J Street has taken a strong stand on the Friedman nomination, making it a priority of their work," said Carol Landsman, another JVP-Portland member. "We are certain that fellow members of Oregon's Jewish community recognize the danger posed by the Friedman nomination, and we hope they join us in this effort to prevent it from going forward."
On Wednesday, February 15th, from 5:00pm to 6:00pm, at Pioneer Courthouse Square, JVPPortland will join allied groups to protest the Trump-Netanyahu partnership. Details for this action are forthcoming.
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