Foxman blasts Trump’s Israel envoy pick for ‘ugly’ attack on ADL

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Abraham Foxman, the retired Anti-Defamation League director, said language that President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel directed at the group is “unacceptable” and “ugly.”

“Ambassador-designate Friedman’s ugly language in describing ADL, its current CEO, and J-Street is unacceptable and it undermines the need for unity in our community to face the challenges we know are ahead of us, whether it is rising anti-Semitism or the threat of radical Islam,” Foxman said in a statement distributed Tuesday by the ADL about David Friedman.

Trump last week nominated Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer, a longtime friend and one of his chief surrogates to the Jewish community. A number of liberal Jewish groups have raised concerns about the nomination, noting that Friedman is heavily invested in the settlement movement and has called J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, “worse than” Jewish collaborators with Nazis.

Jewish Insider this week reposted a post-election interview in which Friedman castigated the ADL as “morons” for raising questions about a pre-election ad in which Trump spoke about secretive international banking conspiracies while featuring images of Jews that Trump associated with his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

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For noting the ad’s resemblance to classic anti-Semitic themes – albeit without mentioning the word “Jews” – Friedman said the ADL “completely destroyed and perverted their own mandate.”

Foxman said he hoped “that as ambassador, Mr. Friedman will exercise greater restraint in his public remarks, recognizing that it is far better to disagree civilly than to attack indiscriminately.”

Foxman’s successor, Jonathan Greenblatt, has yet to release a statement.