President Trump's controversial choice for USA ambassador to Israel said he "regrets" some of his past inflammatory remarks during an appearance before skeptical lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday. Chuck Schumer of "validating the worst appeasement of terrorism since Munich" when Schumer was considering whether to support the Iran nuclear deal.
Organizing the push to block his confirmation are groups that support a two-state solution and have been critical of the settlements, including J Street, Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, the National Council of Jewish Women, the New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel and T'ruah, a rabbinical human rights group. No one denies that President Trump has the right to nominate whomever he chooses to head all of our embassies around the world, but David Friedman's demeanor should be beyond the pale for any representative of the United States overseas.
The diplomats reported they could find "no alternative" to the two-state solution if Israel were to be seen as a "democratic, Jewish nation that was respected internationally".
"Frankly, the language you have regularly used against those who disagree with your views has me concerned about your preparedness to enter the world of diplomacy", Ranking Democratic Sen.
The former diplomats said they believe that the USA ambassador to Israel must be dedicated to advancing "longstanding bipartisan goals" of security and peace among Israel's neighbours, specifically the Palestinians, and claim that the only current solution is the creation of two separate states.
"I find this whole process to be unreal, this sort-of ordeal you're being put through to account for all these words, in particular given some of the groups that are ratcheting all this up", Rubio said.
When asked whether that was a change from what Trump said, a spokesman for Haley's office said, "Her point was just that we are open to whatever solution the two parties can agree to, which is what the President said". Friedman also serves as the president of American Friends of Bet El, a nonprofit that funnels American donations into the West Bank settlement.
Friedman was named as a defendant in a recent lawsuit filed by 45 Palestinians, Israelis and US citizens for financing war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
During his confirmation hearing, Friedman said he would sell his business interests in Israel.
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. "Moral American Jews stand against occupation and against Friedman" another protester yelled as she was escorted out of the hearing.
"Mr. Friedman also said that Palestinian refugees don't have a claim to the land, don't have a connection to Palestine when in fact they do Mr. Friedman", the man shouted. "There will always be Palestinians in Palestine". "I don't believe that for a second".
Protesters interrupted Friedman's comments three more times.
"An ambassador is charged with representing our entire nation", they wrote, adding, "We are very concerned that rather than try to represent the United States as an advocate for peace, Mr. Friedman will seek to mold American policy in line with his extreme ideology".