In an exclusive interview with World Israel News, Friedman said that Trump’s disparaging remarks against Netanyahu were possibly taken out of context.
By: Debbie Reiss
Former U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman has rejected claims made by Barak Ravid in his book, “Trump’s Peace,” saying the veteran Israeli journalist “should have called me.”
Speaking to World Israel News in an exclusive interview, the former envoy said that remarks made by Donald Trump in a bombshell interview with Ravid may have been taken out of context and certainly did not reflect the sentiments expressed by the former president during his time in office.
“Barak Ravid wrote a book about Trump’s policies in the Middle East. I don’t claim to be the single most important influence on that, but I’m certainly in the top three. He never once bothered to speak to me, I would’ve been happy to speak with him,” Friedman told WIN.
“I disagree very much with some of his conclusions,” Friedman added.
In the book, Ravid claims that Trump felt that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “wanted to make a [peace] deal more than [former prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”
“I [had] thought the Palestinians were impossible, and the Israelis would do anything to make peace and a deal. I found that not to be true,” Ravid cited Trump as saying.
Friedman said that Trump’s remarks, if true, were not representative of either his actions or his speech during his four-year term.
“You can look at it as an isolated bunch of comments after the president left office at a time when he was still disappointed at how the election turned out or you can base your view on a very undeniably pro-Israel record,” Friedman said, pointing to Trump’s decision to transfer the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, his declaration of the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory and, on the other hand, his decision to cut funding to the PA over its recalcitrance towards making peace.
“Whatever he said in that interview, on that one day, I wasn’t in the room, I’m not sure what the president was thinking at that time. I worked with the president for four years — I don’t think that anybody was closer to him on the issue of American-Israeli relations — and I never got the sense that he thought that Abbas was the better statesman or a more reliable statesman than Netanyahu,” he said, before going on to note that Netanyahu and Trump had met on several occasions and had a warm relationship.
“I’m not saying he didn’t say it, I’m just no sure what precipitated it, I’m not sure what kind of mood he was in that day, I know that part of his reaction was based on disappointment with how he perceived himself being slighted by Netanyahu when he congratulated [President Joe] Biden on the election,” the former envoy told WIN.
Ravid further claimed that Friedman misled Netanyahu when he said the U.S. would allow Israel to extend sovereignty to Judea and Samaria.
“I remember how I sat in the briefing at Blair House and Netanyahu said, ‘On Sunday we’re annexing,’ because Friedman sold him all sorts of stuff,” Ravid wrote.
“And then half an hour later Friedman knocked at the door of Blair House and said that there had been a misunderstanding and that everything he promised won’t actually happen. Any other version is just made-up nonsense and rewriting history.”