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Bob (the Senator), can he fix it?

Robert Menendez is the senior United States Senator from the state of New Jersey.

Dear Senator Menendez,

Last June, David Friedman, the current U.S. ambassador to Israel, wrote an article for Arutz Sheva, a Zionist newspaper. His article discussed “how dangerous the Jewish left is to the State of Israel” and called liberal Jews “far worse than kapos–Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” On March 23rd of this year, Mr. Menendez, you were one of only two Democrats who voted for David Friedman as the U.S. ambassador to Israel.

As a liberal Jew, I am deeply offended by Friedman’s words, not only because they trivialize the deaths of millions of European Jews in the Holocaust, but also because they’re divisive and obstruct future peace in Israel. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., CA) agrees. Shortly after the vote, she said: “Mr. Friedman takes extreme positions that will move the two parties further from peace.” As your constituent, and a Democrat, I disagree with your choice to vote for Friedman’s appointment. While the outcome wouldn’t have been different if you voted the other way, it should have been clear that the right choice for the sake of Israel and the Jewish people was to vote no on Friedman’s appointment.

David Friedman supports moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. This potential move is devastating for two main reasons: it would be a violation of international law, and it would be a huge setback to peace in the Middle East. Jerusalem is already a volatile city and the move would cause even more violence. I urge you, Mr. Menendez, to oppose this move, and any bill in Congress that would attempt to speed along the process. Since January of this year, Senators Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), and Dean Heller (R., Nev.) have been working on a bill that would freeze State Department funding until the U.S. embassy is moved to Jerusalem. I hope I have shed light on why this move would be disastrous, I and urge you to look into these issues more deeply and prevent this bill from moving forward.

One of the most well known stories in the Jewish religion is about a non-Jew who wanted to convert to Judaism. He said that he would only convert if a rabbi could teach him the Torah while he stood on one foot. Rabbi Hillel accepted the gentile’s request and told him: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.” I, along with thousands of other American Jews, use this story to develop our beliefs on Israel and to make moral decisions. Friedman, with his right-wing rhetoric advocating for the annexation of the West Bank and the continued oppression of Palestinians, is far from what the Jewish people, as a whole, stand for.

While I believe your decision to vote in favor of appointing Friedman was a mistake, I have every confidence that you can make better decisions for your constituents and for Israel in the future. I hope that you will ultimately disavow Friedman’s disturbing comments about liberal Jews and take a clear stance against the occupation of the West Bank. I hope that in the future you will respect the wishes of your constituents over super PACs. Thank you for taking time to listen to the opinion of one of your constituents and for serving the people of New Jersey.


Maya Jodidio

This piece was written as part of JWA’s Rising Voices Fellowship.

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How to cite this page

Jodidio, Maya. "Bob (the Senator), can he fix it?." 19 June 2017. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 25, 2023) <https://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices/bob-senator-can-he-fix-it>.

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