FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2017
Activists with IfNotNow Stand Against Friedman’s Nomination as Ambassador to Israel
Washington, DC – Three members of IfNotNow were arrested this morning as they interrupted the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing for David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Ambassador to Israel. These young Jewish Americans expressed outrage at Friedman’s pro-occupation ideology and acted in part to counter the near-total silence on his nomination from the Jewish establishment.
The protest occurred the day after Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington DC.
“That Trump went through the entire press conference yesterday refusing to support the long-standing American policy of a two-state solution confirms what has long been suspected: Trump intends on doing all that he can to actively entrench the Israeli occupation.” said Tom Corcoran, an IfNotNow member who was arrested. “With Friedman as his representative in the region, untold violence could erupt.”
Friedman, who would serve as the American representative in the region if confirmed, has made his pro-occupation views known to the public through numerous writings in the far-right wing newspaper Arutz Sheva and through his role as president of the American Friends of Beit El Institutions–an organization that has funneled millions of dollars into an illegal settlement in the West Bank.
“Friedman is a totally unconscionable choice to represent Americans in the region. As an American Jew, I refuse to allow his pro-occupation views go unchecked,” said Lila Weintraub, an IfNotNow member. “The leaders of my Jewish community have been silent on Friedman — so I had to speak out.”
The activists stood after blowing a shofar — a rams horn used in the Jewish tradition to call our community to action in times of crisis — and recited a few of the many reasons they believe Friedman should not be confirmed by the Senate. As they were being led away, they sang Olam Chesed Yibaneh, a Hebrew song about building the world with love.
“Trump and Netanyahu are two sides of the same coin — and we know that Friedman will use his position to further their shared goal of a permanent occupation.” added Isaac Flegel-Mishlove, another IfNotNow member, “We refuse to let pro-occupation ideology become normalized in America. We must fight for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.”
IfNotNow plans to escalate its effort to oppose Friedman and the Jewish community’s silence on his nomination across the country in the coming week.
IfNotNow is a Jewish movement to end our community’s support for the occupation and gain freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians. IfNotNow has chapters in New York, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C, and Los Angeles. For more information: www.ifnotnowmovement.org