On David Friedman


To clarify Gary Rosenblatt’s characterization of David Friedman, there is a clear element to Friedman’s position on Israel and a not-so-clear element (“Trump Pick To Test Unity,” Editor’s column, Dec. 23).

The clear element is that as long as the Palestinian leaders provide no evidence that they will not exploit every capability given to them by the peace process to initiate terror against Israel, they should not be given that capability. To put things in perspective, giving all of the West Bank would give them the capability to import rockets and mortars from Jordan and launch them from schools, mosques and hospitals at Israel’s coastline and Ben-Gurion Airport.

The unclear element is what Friedman’s reaction would be to the Palestinian leadership providing evidence that they would not do so.

Supporters of Israel, whether domestically liberal or domestically conservative, should be able to unite around the first. Conceivably, hawks and doves could part company on the second. However, given the reality coming from the Palestinian national movement that there is no evidence that they accept the right of the Jews to have any piece of sovereignty within Dar al Islam, the point is moot.

Similarly, Rosenblatt laments Friedman’s demeaning “liberal Jews with a different vision of the Zionist state.” There is a difference between having a different vision and the tactics one is willing to embrace to push that vision.

Lobbying Israelis to support a more dovish vision is legitimate. Saying that if Israelis assess the situation and conclude that they cannot embrace that vision, you will support diplomatic isolation against them, is not. Doing so would almost justify being labeled a “kapo.”