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Why Diplomats Are Agog at Trump’s Ambassador to Israel

Vivian Bercovici
 

By Vivian Bercovici (original source Wall Street Journal) 

“President-elect Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel, the attorney David Friedman, has been received in some quarters with contempt and disbelief. Mr. Friedman’s presumed failings are said to be many. As a lawyer, he has no diplomatic or foreign policy experience. He is a right-wing “extremist,” supposedly because he supports expanding settlements and moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

At its core, criticism of Mr. Friedman reflects the erroneous notion that only professionally trained diplomats can do the job. That is simply false. Modern diplomacy—which I experienced as Canada’s ambassador to Israel—is an anachronistic system of entitlement and privilege aligned with the aristocratic sensibilities of the late 19th century. The “foreign service” model that prevails today was the institutional response to a surfeit of well-bred, indolent men needing something to do. So they were sent abroad to underwrite fancy parties and salons, in the name of the King, Queen or Republic.”

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