Tuesday, 28 March, 2017

Confirmation hearing for Israel ambassador nominee David Friedman

David Friedman Donald Trump's designated Israel envoy David Friedman Donald Trump's designated Israel envoy. USA Today Youtube
Howard Terry | 17 February, 2017, 00:24

- The combative attorney President Donald Trump picked as his ambassador to Israel sought to fix the damage from past attacks on political opponents, telling Congress he deeply regretted using inflammatory language and promised to be "respectful and measured" should he be confirmed.

The committee is scheduled to meet Thursday for Friedman's confirmation hearing. "These were hurtful words and I deeply regret them, they were not reflective of my nature or my character".

Friedman is a strong supporter of Israeli settlements and opposes Palestinian statehood. He has also raised millions of dollars toward settlements, including one near the Palestinian city of Ramallah. Friedman replied that he would support either a two-state solution in which Israel was recognized as a Jewish state, or a one-state solution in which all that state's inhabitants and residents would enjoy equal civil rights.

A shift in USA policy toward Israel has already begun. He specifically mentioned an exchange with Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the anti-Defamation league, which he called a bunch of "morons".

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like", Trump said.

Trump, during a White House news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, was evasive about endorsing a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

The letter calls on either the president to withdraw the nomination or the Senate to reject Friedman's bid if Trump is unwilling to take such an action. He asked him to clarify why he's willing to reverse himself on so many previous statements.

Yoni Fromwitz, who works at the Tefillin factory in Beit El, said he believes Friedman will keep his personal feelings in check if he becomes ambassador. "If you want me to rationalize it or justify it, I can not. There's nothing more important to me than strengthening the bonds between the United States and Israel".

"We are concerned that Mr Friedman strongly disagrees". He got into a discussion with Senator Cory Booker about the difference between apology and atonement after agreeing that Tim Kaine wasn't an Israel basher and that former President Obama wasn't an actual anti-Semite.

Udall went on to call Friedman "completely unfit for this or any other diplomatic office". Friedman expressed regret for this comparison in his opening statement. He described Friedman as "someone who knows Israel because he was here - not because he read the newspapers that the Arab population is very good at using on their side". "You do not represent us and you will never represent us", one protester shouted.

"First of all, the two-state solution is what we support", Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, told a gaggle with reporters on Thursday.

Such views are unprecedented for USA ambassadors to Israel, who in the past, whether from Republican or Democratic administrations, have avoided travel to settlements.

Among the ambassadors who signed the letter were Thomas Pickering, who was ambassador to Israel under President Ronald Reagan; William Harrop, who was posted to Israel in the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations; Edward Walker, who also served under Clinton; Daniel Kurtzer, who served under George W. Bush; and James Cunningham, who was ambassador under Bush 43 and Obama.

"I don't think anyone would support a state where different classes of citizens had separate rights", Trump's nominee stated, according to Haaretz.

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