State Official Reportedly Told Ambassador To Stop Being So Jewish

( According to the former US Ambassador to Israel, in 2017 a senior staffer at the State Department told him “Don’t be so Jewish.”

In his book Sledgehammer: How Breaking with the Past Brought Peace to the Middle East, President Trump’s Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman writes that he faced a great deal of pushback when he was trying to get State Department legal advisors to accept the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wouldn’t even take his phone call.

So Friedman took another approach. When he arrived in Israel, the first place he and his wife went was the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City as a way to recognize Israel’s sovereignty. It was Friedman who helped arrange President Trump’s visit to the Western Wall as a gesture toward recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, making Trump the first sitting President of the United States to do so.

In his memoir, Friedman describes how State Department career officials reacted to this bold move. He said he received a call from one senior staffer who told him, “Mr. Ambassador, don’t be so Jewish.”

The staffer said Friedman represented the United States and should “tone down the Judaism in your work.”

When a furious Friedman hit back, the staffer told him “Just a free word of advice.”

Friedman’s memoir Sledgehammer aims to provide a definitive historical record of the Trump Administration’s Middle East policy. It outlines the diplomatic breakthroughs that led to the historic Abraham Accord peace deal that established new political, economic, and cultural ties between Israel and many of its Arab and Muslim neighbors.

Sledgehammer also chronicles the challenges Friedman and the Trump White House faced in battling against the entrenched bureaucracy in the State Department and National Security apparatus. He notes that much of his conflict within the State Department ended after President Trump appointed Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State.

Friedman also recounts his confirmation battle and the confrontations between him and the Senate Democrats.

Friedman’s memoir, Sledgehammer: How Breaking with the Past Brought Peace to the Middle East comes out this week.