United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman took another shot at the liberal pro-Israel lobby J Street, calling its motto “blasphemous” in a speech Tuesday at the policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Friedman has a long history of troubled relations with J Street. He once referred to the organization’s members as “worse than kapos,” the Jews who collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust.
After assuming the role of America’s top diplomat to Israel, Friedman apologized for his prior statements and tried to tone down his criticism. But while addressing 18,000 AIPAC delegates, Friedman said he took issue with J Street’s motto, which describes themselves as “pro Israel, pro peace.”
“If you support Israel, then you must by definition support peace with its neighbors,” Friedman said. “It is no less than blasphemous to suggest that any Jew or any Christian is against peace.”
The president of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, said in response that pursuing peace required taking action.
“Contra David Friedman, it’s not blasphemous to suggest that the settlement movement and its allies in the Netanyahu and Trump governments are not committed to peace,” he said. “They have spent years helping to expand and entrench the occupation — undermining the two-state solution and endangering Israel’s future.”