Former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman told Breitbart News that the State Department was not pleased about his outspokenness as a loyal Jew.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart published on Monday, Friedman said: “The State Department has historically not been hospitable to the state of Israel or its supporters,” explaining that Israel is part of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, comprised of countries that are mostly hostile to Israel. “Israel is only one Jewish state and it finds itself in a bureau in the State Department with other countries that historically have been anti-Israel.”
US diplomats serve in Middle Eastern countries and then after several years, they’re transferred to Israel. “They’re all Arabists and they come to Israel and find the environment different from what they’re used to and they don’t really take the time to understand it or appreciate it,” Friedman said.
In his memoir, Sledgehammer: How Breaking with the Past Brought Peace to the Middle East, Friedman describes some of his less-than-pleasant experiences in the State Department.
When Friedman wanted to stop at the Kosel upon arrival in Israel, his colleagues at the State Department told him: “Mr. Ambassador, don’t be so Jewish.”
“You represent the United States of America,” one senior official said. “Tone down the Judaism in your work.”
Friedman angrily responded: “Do you think I am under any disillusion as to who I represent? I’m not a politically correct person but I have to ask you, why do the laws of political correctness not apply to Jews?”
Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren told Breitbart in an interview earlier this year that he’s not surprised by Friedman’s experiences described in his memoir, explaining that the State Department had no Jews for many years and former President Harry Truman even condemned the State Department for its antisemitism.
Although currently, Jews are even disproportionately represented in the State Department, openly Jewish loyalties are frowned upon.
“The State Department wouldn’t be sympathetic to David [Friedman], who’s an Orthodox Jew who speaks openly about G-d,” Oren said. “David broke the mold.”
“But telling him to tone down his Jewishness? Well, that’s like telling the ambassador to the Holy ‘See in Vatican City, ‘don’t be too Catholic.’ Or else telling the Muslim Ambassador to Cairo, ‘Don’t be too Muslim. It would never be said,” Oren concluded.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)