By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 31, 2019
At a keynote speech at Yeshiva University’s 88th commencement ceremony at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman criticized former President Obama’s policy regarding Israel.
“Should Israel still negotiate with the Palestinians even though Israel did not steal their land? Of course it should, precisely because we are not suggesting, as our predecessor did — that Israel return to the bargaining table as a thief returning to the scene of a crime. Precisely for that reason, there is a basis for discussion,” the Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluhquoted Friedman as saying. “The overwhelming majority of Palestinians are not consumed by hatred nor are unwilling to live in peace. Many are well educated, many of them want what everyone wants — peace, security, good schools, and a better and more dignified way of life. We need to help them get there — not the perpetual handouts that create a culture of dependency and corruption.”
Friedman told the crowd that he will be part of the U.S. delegation to Jared Kushner’s ‘economic workshop’ in Bahrain next month, an event described as the first phase of the Trump peace plan.
Friedman has often been critical of how the previous administration related to its closest ally in the Middle East, if not in the world. At the Zionist Organization of America’s annual dinner in 2017, he accused Obama of committing “perhaps the greatest betrayal of Israel by a sitting president in American history.” Friedman was referring to Obama’s decision not to exercise the US veto against UN Security Council Resolution 2334 which essentially declared a Jewish presence in Jerusalem to be in contravention of international law.
Friedman is an Orthodox Jew and his deceased father was a highly-respected rabbi. Freidman has a personal residence in Jerusalem and is a fluent Hebrew speaker. His middle name is ‘Melech’ (king).