President Trump’s pick for Israel envoy donated to a controversial organization that plants Jewish settlers in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City in order to cement Jewish control there, Haaretz reported.
Friedman has given multiple donations to Ateret Cohanim, which owns 59 properties in the Muslim Quarter and East Jerusalem where it has settled some 1,100 Jews, according to Peace Now.
Ateret Cohanim, which means Crown of the Priests, acquires its properties by buying from Muslims or securing their eviction and by acquiring rights to government-seized property. In 1992, Israel’s Justice Ministry found that the government confiscated some Palestinian properties based on unsupported affidavits submitted by Ateret Cohanim.
American Friends of Ateret Cohanim congratulated Friedman on his nomination, wishing him a “heartfelt Mazal Tov” in a statement.
Friedman is also a supporter of Beit El, a settlement near Ramallah, as the head of American Friends of Beit El Institutions.
Friedman’s ties to the settler movement, which he sought to downplay at his confirmation hearings, have earned him opposition from some liberal Jewish groups.
Friedman is expected to be confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, after which his appointment will go before the full Senate.
Contact Naomi Zeveloff at firstname.lastname@example.org
Naomi Zeveloff is the former Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
David Friedman Backs Settler Group That Moves Jews To Jerusalem Muslim Quarter