WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Israel confronted repeated heckling at a Senate affirmation listening to on Thursday in addition to robust questions on views he has expressed about liberal American Jews, Jewish settlements and a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian battle.
David Friedman, a chapter lawyer who Trump has known as a longtime good friend and trusted adviser, has supported Israeli settlement constructing and advocated for the annexation of the West Financial institution, which Israel captured from Jordan within the 1967 struggle.
His nomination has been fiercely opposed by some American Jewish teams.
Friedman expressed remorse over derogatory feedback he made likening liberal American Jews to Jewish prisoners who labored for the Nazis in the course of the Holocaust, telling the Senate Overseas Relations Committee in his opening assertion, “I remorse using such language.”
A shift in U.S. coverage towards Israel has already begun. On Wednesday, with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his facet, Trump dropped a U.S. dedication to a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian battle, lengthy a bedrock of Washington’s Center East coverage, at the same time as he urged Netanyahu to curb settlement development.
The controversy over Friedman’s nomination erupted within the listening to room as Friedman started his opening assertion, with a number of hecklers together with a person who held up the Palestinian flag and shouted about Palestinian claims to the land of Israel.
“My grandfather was exiled,” the person mentioned earlier than being escorted out of the room. “Palestinians will at all times be in Palestine!”
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, acknowledged that Friedman has mentioned issues he didn’t agree with however mentioned he backed the nominee as certified, skilled and passionate.
“I imagine he’s the proper man on the proper time. He’ll be Trump’s voice. Trump gained the election,” Graham mentioned.
Senator Ben Cardin, the senior Democrat on the committee, mentioned he was involved about Friedman’s stances.
“Mr Friedman, I’ve questions on your preparedness for this vital put up. I’m unsure of how you’ll signify all Individuals to all Israelis and whether or not you’re dedicated to a longstanding U.S. coverage to a two-state resolution,” Cardin mentioned.
5 former U.S. ambassadors to Israel from each Republican and Democratic administrations urged the Senate in a letter to not affirm Friedman, saying that he holds “excessive, radical positions” on points resembling Jewish settlements and the two-state resolution.
“We imagine him to be unqualified for the place,” wrote the previous ambassadors together with Thomas Pickering, Edward Walker, Daniel Kurtzer, James Cunningham and William Harrop.
Friedman is more likely to be confirmed by the Senate, which is managed by Republicans.
Whereas campaigning for the presidency, Trump pledged to modify the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, the place it has been positioned for 68 years, to Jerusalem, all however enshrining the town as Israel’s capital no matter worldwide objections. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Enhancing by Frances Kerry)