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March 9, 2017 1:13 pm

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approves Trump’s Nomination of David Friedman as Next US Envoy to Israel; Only One Democrat Backs Appointment

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

David Friedman, President Donald Trump's pick to serve as the next US envoy to Israel. Photo: Screenshot.

David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s pick to serve as the next US envoy to Israel. Photo: Screenshot.

The Senate Foreign Relations committee on Thursday voted 12-9 to approve President Donald Trump’s nomination of attorney David Friedman as the next US ambassador to Israel.

All Republican members of the committee voted in favor of the nomination. They were joined by Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey, while the body’s nine other Democrats voted against Friedman.

The nomination will now be sent to the full Senate for a vote, which has yet to be scheduled. Given the majority held by the Republicans in the Senate, it is expected the nomination will be approved there as well.

The Republican Jewish Coalition tweeted after the vote, “We applaud the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on their bi-partisan vote in favor of David Friedman’s nomination!”

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J Street, on the other hand, said in a statement, “The level of opposition faced by David Friedman today in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote was unprecedented. This is by far the most contested vote on a nominee for US ambassador to Israel ever. The fact that nine senators voted against Friedman is a clear signal that he is a completely inappropriate and disastrous choice for such an important position.”

As reported by The Algemeiner, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder recently called much of the criticism of Friedman “beyond outrageous and really quite wrong.”

Many liberal Jewish groups oppose the Friedman appointment, in part due to past controversial comments and positions, including his slurring last year of J Street supporters as “far worse than kapos” — Jews who collaborated with the Nazis.

For the first time ever, the Union for Reform Judaism last month publicly expressed opposition to an ambassador appointment.

At his mid-February confirmation hearing, Friedman said he regretted his use of “inflammatory language” during the presidential campaign. He also clarified his position on the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling it the “best possibility for peace.”

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