David Friedman, Trump's Pick For Israel Ambassador, 'Regrets' Past Comments

17 February, 2017, 00:44 | Author: Kristopher Anderson

President Trump's choice to be the USA ambassador to Israel sought Thursday to assure skeptical senators that he can be fair-minded despite previous public statements doubting a Palestinian state and supporting Jewish home building in the West Bank.

"Today's hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the nomination of David Friedman to be the next US Ambassador to Israel was, as Senator Menendez suggested, an attempt at 'nomination conversion.' Regardless of today's farcical performance, Friedman's record speaks for itself".

We are calling upon Jewish communities and individuals to do all that they can to visibly oppose all actions that will endanger the safety and future of all those living in Israel and the West Bank.

While Friedman, 58, will likely be approved by the Republican-led Senate, he'll face tough questions over Trump's position on a two-state solution for the conflict and his proposal to move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a shift opposed by Arab allies who say it will kill prospects for peace. "Anybody that wants to say the United States does not support the two-state solution- that would be an error".

So far, only two diplomatic posts have been officially approved by the Senate Committee: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Their comments came after Trump said on Wednesday that he was open to ideas beyond a two-state solution, the longstanding bedrock of Washington policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump also implored Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "hold back on the settlements a bit" and expressed optimism that his administration would be able to achieve a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. "I can live with either one".

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"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like", Trump said, adding "If Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I'm happy with the one they like the best".

Beit El resident Daniel Aviya, who makes religious phylacteries called Tefillin, said he thinks Friedman will make an excellent ambassador.

Friedman, the son of an Orthodox rabbi, enjoys the support of far-right pro-Israel groups such as the Zionist Organization of America and Christians United for Israel.

Though some Republicans on the committee expressed mild discomfort with Friedman's remarks, many said his stinging criticisms of Palestinians was reasonable given the terrorist attacks directed at the state of Israel, including Sens. "There is no excuse", he told the Senate panel. Author A.B. Yehoshua, considered an "intellectual giant" of Israel's left-wing, recently said, "I have believed in dividing the land for 50 years, and now I see that it can not happen".

David Friedman's record unimpeachably demonstrates that he is ideologically and temperamentally unfit to represent the interests of the United States as Ambassador to Israel.

J Street, which states that it is a pro-Israel organization, has circulated a sample letter among its members that it recommends be sent to their Senators. And he wondered aloud whether leadership exists in the Palestinian community to shepherd them to peace.

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