The U.S. ambassador to Israel said this week that Israel is “on the side of God.”
Ambassador David M. Friedman was speaking at an evangelical group event that marked the anniversary of Jerusalem becoming a U.S. embassy. He told attendees that the relationship between the U.S. and Israel was getting “stronger and stronger and stronger.”
“And the second (reason) is that Israel has one secret weapon that not too many countries have,” he said. “Israel is on the side of God, and we don’t underestimate that.”
With Friedman as ambassador, the Trump administration has made several moves that some have said are too partial to Israel, such as moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Also, the U.S. has made significant cuts to aid for the Palestinians.
Palestinians and Palestinian supporters say they are worried that Friedman is representing Israel’s right-wing policy more than the U.S.
“As the ambassador of the far-right Orthodox Jewish community in the United States, Friedman’s comment makes sense,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer, who was Washington’s ambassador in Israel under both Republican and Democratic presidents. “As the supposed ambassador of the United States government and all its people, it is an extremely inappropriate comment.”
Others, such as Saeb Erekat, of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Friedman shouldn’t have mentioned God at all in his comments.
“What ambassador Friedman is telling Palestinians, Christians and Muslims,” he wrote on Twitter, was “that God is against them (or that they’re enemies of God). This was never an American position.”
Friedman is also reportedly close with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Tuesday, Friedman even mentioned their relationship, joking, “It’s been difficult to be apart from you for so long.”
On giving more support to Israel, Friedman added: “I don’t believe in enough.”
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Lior Mizrahi/Stringer