President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel is one of his main lawyers, David Friedman, who accompanied him during the election campaign and advised the candidate in respect to Israel and Palestine. In a difficult era in which no political act is isolated, everything seems related: Brexit, Trump and the millions of refugees arriving in Europe, driven by nationalism and racism. Moreover, the world is gripped by a neoliberal drift, in the absence of a clear left with clear programs or convincing answers for the most vulnerable groups, while workers are disappointed by politics today and seek a response from those who are accelerating the process of exploitation.
The announcement of the appointment of Friedman comes at a time of escalation for the Syrian conflict, while the situation becomes ever-more complicated. Remember al-Qaeda? The Sept. 11 attack was used as a pretext to wage war on Iraq, due to a hell that continues today, and has come with a tremendous price in terms of human lives. Al-Qaeda, Jabat al-Nusra Front and the like, with the support of the West, have been painted as champions in the fight for freedom and democracy. So the “rebels,” so palatable in the West, have perpetrated horrendous crimes but are confronted by a coalition, with the crucial support of Putin, who committed other heinous crimes to support Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian people face the consequences of this in the form of destruction, casualties and millions of refugees.
U.S. ambassadors in Israel have generally been a standard of neutrality, sometimes acting as a moderating element in the midst of the expansionist impulses of various Israeli governments. It may be recalled that on numerous occasions — like in the case of James Baker, the elder Bush’s Secretary of State — Republicans have proven more willing to curb Israel than Democrats. As for the Christian Democrats in Italy, the reason is very simple: Historically the U.S. Republicans and the Democratic Italians were more tied to oil interests and arms trafficking; thus, there was a need to respond positively to the requests of various Arab governments in the region. They were performing balancing acts.