David Friedman, Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Israel and a controversial figure if ever there was one, has been a generous contributor to the political campaigns of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
According to a Haaretz report, Friedman and his wife Tammy have contributed $14,800 to Schumer’s political campaigns in a history going back almost two decades. The couple (with Friedman contributing $9,800 and his wife contributing $5,000) have made 13 Schumer campaign contributions in total, the first in 1998 and the most recent in 2010.
Schumer spokeswoman Marisa Kaufman assured Haaretz that the Senator’s vote in Friedman’s confirmation would not be swayed by the sizable donations.
“As with all nominees, Senator Schumer will decide how he votes based solely on the person’s record, viewpoints, skill-level and the answers provided during testimony,” Kaufman said.
Schumer has been one of President Donald Trump’s most stalwart foes since the latter’s election, leading Trump to brand him a “clown” and earning the POTUS’s ridicule over “fake tears” Schumer cried after the roll-out of Trump’s Muslim majority nations ban.
Nevertheless, Schumer has yet to publicly comment on Friedman, who has been the subject of intense opposition from liberal rabbis, scholars, and Holocaust survivors for his support of Israeli settlements, skepticism regarding a two-state solution, and condemnation of J Street activists as “far worse than kapos.”
Friedman’s credentials were also challenged this week by a bipartisan team of five former U.S. ambassadors, who warned the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of Friedman’s “extreme, radical positions.”
“If Israel is to carry on as a democratic, Jewish nation, respected internationally, we see no alternative to a two-state solution,” the ambassadors wrote. “This has been the bipartisan goal of U.S. foreign policy for decades.”
In a letter to Schumer in January, 120 Jewish studies professors described Friedman’s “rhetorical extremism” as “cause for grave concern on its own. But it is matched, if not superseded, by the extremism of his positions on Israel, which demonstrate that he cannot be an impartial broker of peace or an effective diplomat.”