Trump’s Pick for Israel Envoy David Friedman Heckled Amid Confirmation Hearing at US Senate
JNS.org – President Donald Trump’s pick for US ambassador to Israel faced heckling from protesters amid a difficult confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations committee Thursday.
David Friedman was shouted down by Jewish activists who chanted, “You do not represent us and you will never represent us,” The Times of Israel reported. Another demonstrator held up a Palestinian flag and chanted, “We were there, we are there, and we will always be in Palestine.”
Throughout the session, Friedman apologized repeatedly for some inflammatory statements he had made in the past, including accusing former President Barack Obama of antisemitism and using the word “kapos,” the term used for Jews who cooperated with Nazis during the Holocaust, to refer to supporters of J Street, a Left-wing Jewish lobby.
“Some of the language that I used during the highly-charged presidential campaign that ended last November has come in for criticism and rightfully so,” Friedman said. “While I maintain profound differences of opinion with some of my critics, I regret the use of such language.”
Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) told Friedman, “I have questions about your preparedness for this important post. I am uncertain of how you will represent all Americans to all Israelis, and whether you are committed to a longstanding US policy of a two-state solution,” referring to media interviews in which Friedman downplayed the two-state solution.
Friedman said he would welcome an Israeli-Palestinian agreement “through direct negotiations along parameters agreeable to them…I would be delighted to see peace come to this region where people have suffered on both sides for so long.”
“I have expressed my skepticism solely on the basis of my perception of the Palestinians’ failure to renounce terror and accept Israel as a Jewish state,” Friedman added.
Friedman also noted that the Palestinians have failed to end their incitement against Israel, which was a key requirement of the 1993 Oslo Accords.
“We haven’t made progress since then. In the aftermath of Oslo, terrorism has increased four-fold,” he said.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that, while he has some policy differences with Friedman, Trump’s nominee “is the right guy at the right time. He’ll be Trump’s voice. Trump won the election.”