Senate Committee approves Friedman, Trump’s ambassador to Israel

Only one Democrat joined all Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote in favor of Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of recommending the nomination of President Donald Trump’s choice for US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, by a tally of 12-9.

The vote was almost completely divided along party lines. The only Democrat who broke ranks to join all Republican members of the committee to vote yes, was New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee explained his decision and that of his Republican colleagues in the committee to recommend Trump’s nominee.

“Mr. Friedman is an impassioned advocate for America and for strengthening the mutually beneficial bond between the United States and Israel,” argued Corker, as he opened up the meeting on Thursday.

“Mr. Friedman is under no illusions about the difficulty of the task at hand, and I believe he views this opportunity as a calling and will put his full energy behind service to our nation and our interests in Israel,” Corker added. “He understands the complexity of the issues at stake for the US and the necessity to support a democratic ally in an important and unstable part of the world.”

The committee chairman also expressed a belief in Friedman’s ability to be an effective ambassador for peace efforts.

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“I hope we can all appreciate the sincere desire of the President for a renewed attempt at a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” Corker said. “To represent the US and facilitate that effort, the President needs an ambassador who shares his vision and his confidence.”

Ranking committee member, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, explained his decision and that of most of his fellow party members in the committee to vote against Friedman’s nomination.

“I appreciate Mr. Friedman’s efforts before the Committee to express regret for his record of divisive, inflammatory, and offensive statements,” said Cardin. “Unfortunately, I believe that the body of Mr. Friedman’s published work will compromise his effectiveness representing the United States–and all Americans–to the Government of Israel and all Israelis.”

“Mr. Friedman’s statements and affiliations make it clear that he does not believe the two-state solution is necessary for a just and lasting peace,” he added. “I am concerned that Mr. Friedman’s history on this issue undermines his ability to represent the United States as a credible facilitator of the peace process.”

After receiving approval from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Friedman’s nomination will be voted on the Senate floor in the coming days.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News

 

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