Responding to U.S. Ambassador David Friedman’s comments that Israel has a right to annex parts of the West Bank, New Israel Fund CEO Daniel Sokatch released the following statement:
David Friedman’s recent comments about unilateral annexation confirmed what we already knew: Ambassador Friedman holds extremist views that align with the narrow aspirations of Israel’s settler far-right—at the expense of Israelis and Palestinians. His views do not align with a commitment to democracy in Israel—and are far out of step with the attitudes of most Americans, and certainly most American Jews. In laying the groundwork for unilateral and illegal Israeli annexation outside of a negotiated peace agreement, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are driving Israelis toward a dangerous future — one that is unequal, unsafe and baldly undemocratic.
Ambassador Friedman’s comments are resoundingly clear: The Trump administration is intent on substituting U.S. support for Israel’s settlement enterprise for its traditional role as peacemaker. The cost is also clear. It is Israel’s future as a democracy.
The New Israel Fund and our grantees have been at the forefront of movements opposing the occupation and have helped move Israel towards democracy and equality for all Israelis for decades. Friedman’s comments only demonstrate how necessary our work has become.