URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs Asks President-Elect Trump About Comments By David Friedman

Contact: Lauren Theodore at 212-650-4154

New York, NY; December 20, 2016 -- Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), sent the following letter to President-Elect Donald Trump today about David Friedman, the nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Israel:

Dear President-Elect Trump:

I write to get your reaction to comments attributed to your nominee to be America’s Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, most recently in the Jewish Insider on December 19, 2016.

We recognize, of course, that the key role of an Ambassador is not to advance his own views but rather to represent the views of the U.S. government. That is why we are eager to hear your response to a number of comments from Mr. Friedman. 

  • The Jewish Insider article cited above notes that Mr. Friedman indicated that while your Administration would seek to develop a working relationship with AIPAC and mainstream Jewish American organizations, ADL would not be welcome at a Trump White House. Mr. President-Elect, is it your intention that those who take issue with you will not be welcome at the White House? Will your doors only be open to those who agree with you? How do you square Mr. Friedman’s approach with your pledge to every citizen of our land that [you] will be "president for all Americans?”
  • Mr. Friedman has called the pro-Israel/pro-peace advocacy organization J Street “worse than Kapos.” Do you agree with this assessment? Have you spoken to Mr. Friedman about it? Are you comfortable with that characterization?
  • Mr. Friedman referred to the leaders of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as “morons.” Do you agree with this assessment? Have you spoken to Mr. Friedman about it? Are you comfortable with that characterization? With that language?

We have not been quiet about our concerns about Mr. Friedman’s nomination. From everything we know about his views on fundamental issues such as the importance of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—including the letter Mr. Friedman wrote to me during your campaign—he  is unlikely to play a constructive role. We have not opposed Mr. Friedman’s nomination, although it is possible that we might do so. We look forward to learning more about his viewsand, even more so, yoursin the weeks ahead.

We look forward to hearing from you, and to your responses to these questions.


Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Union for Reform Judaism



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