On David Friedman, the ‘kapo’ smear, and Jewish honor


David Friedman (left), the choice of President-elect Donald Trump to serve as ambassador to Israel, and German-Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News, via Getty Images/JTA; Public domain)
David Friedman (left), the choice of President-elect Donald Trump to serve as ambassador to Israel, and German-Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News, via Getty Images/JTA; Public domain)
As Trump’s pick for ambassador has demonstrated, some 60 years after the Jewish ‘collaborator’ trials in Israel, the term still packs a venomous punch

By Matt Lebovic | The Times of Israel

When President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel called J Street members “far worse than kapos,” David Friedman was tapping into a rich tradition of Jews denigrating other Jews as Nazi lackeys.

Kapos were insidiously deployed to pit prisoners against each other in their roles as highly visible functionaries who helped the SS keep order in Nazi camps. They generally wielded tremendous power over fellow inmates, some of whom survived the war to later denounce former kapos.

When Friedman called J Street supporters “far worse than kapos,” he invoked the left-wing group’s support of the two-state solution to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Friedman views two-state activists as not only putting Israel’s existence at risk, but doing so voluntarily, as opposed to kapos who were coerced into service by the Nazis.

According to Friedman, J Street supporters are “smug advocates of Israel’s destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas — it’s hard to imagine anyone worse,” Friedman wrote in a June op-ed on the far-right Israel National News website.

read more