Confirmation hearing for Israel ambassador nominee David Friedman
THOMAS COEX (AFP/Archives)
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday held a confirmation hearing for US President Donald Trump’s pick for US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, with several pro-Palestinian and American Jewish protesters being escorted out for interruptions.
Five former US ambassadors to Israel on Wednesday strongly urged the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a letter to reject Friedman, calling him “unqualified” and “extreme” in his positions.
Friedman is an orthodox Jew who represented Trump as his lawyer for 15 years and has expressed his support of settlement construction in the West Bank.
Friedman was further accused of holding extremist and radical views, leading the ambassadors to question his temperament, due to various remarks that accused former US president Barack Obama and the State Department of being anti-Semitic and “propagating false conspiracy theories that Hillary Clinton’s adviser Huma Abedin” had “well-established ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Friedman has also attacked the J Street organization in the past saying that its members were “worse than kapos,” and said that the Anti-Defamation League were “a bunch of morons.”
In a Trump transition team statement in December announcing his appointment, Friedman said he wanted to work for peace and looked forward to "doing this from the US embassy in Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem."
The hearing takes place the day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s met with US President Donald Trump at the White House.
"I believe public comments on US-Israel relations can be self-defeating."