Letters from rabbis, Holocaust survivors decry Trump Israel envoy pick David Friedman


The confrontations come as five of Washington's former envoys to Tel Aviv sent a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, calling Friedman "unqualified" to assume the ambassadorship due to his "extreme, radical positions".

After Friedman's first sentence, thanking the committee for hosting him, a young man stands up, holds up a Palestinian flag, and yells that he is the grandson of a Palestinian refugee. "We were there, we are there, and we will always be in Palestine", he shouts as he's escorted out by security.

"I have expressed my skepticism about the two-state solution exclusively on the basis of what I've perceived as an unwillingness on the part of the Palestinians to renounce terror and accept Israel as a Jewish state". The stress they all "care deeply about Israel" as the US' major ally in the Mideast, but cite Mr. Friedman's political views as rendering him unsuited for the high-level diplomatic post.

An editorial in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, titled simply "David Friedman Is Unfit to Serve as U.S. Envoy to Israel", called him "a man with a simplistic, risky worldview, a member of the extreme right who supports annexing territory on the West Bank to Israel".

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Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the committee, read through a highlight list of some of Friedman's most controversial statements, including likening a U.S. Jewish group to "kapos", or Jewish Holocaust collaborators.

Friedman has also called for restrictions on Muslims entering the United States and has advocated for subjecting them to searches of their internet and telephone communications. Author A.B. Yehoshua, considered an "intellectual giant" of Israel's left-wing, recently said, "I have believed in dividing the land for 50 years, and now I see that it can not happen".

"We absolutely support the two-state solution, but we are thinking out of the box as well", Haley added. But he said he does not support calls by Israel's right wing to annex the West Bank in an effort to block creation of a separate Palestinian state.

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.

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"The UK continues to believe that the best solution for peace in the Middle East is the two-state solution", said British ambassador to the United Nations, Matthew Rycroft. "I hope there's a new generation of Palestinians that wants what everyone wants, a better life for themselves and their children", he said, saying the USA should help foster that and draw out that nascent leadership. Senators repeatedly congratulated Friedman on his love for Israel; and many of Friedman's comments suggested that his primary concern was binding up and representing a divided American Jewish community, with very little mention of non-Jewish Americans.

As Trump's appointee, Friedman has faced heavy criticism for his financing of Israeli settlement Beit El.

During the hearing, Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) asked Friedman to clarify his views on the possibility of a one-state solution. He is a supporter of the settlement movement and the president of an organization that funnels money into the West Bank.

In response to questions, Friedman said Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 war had "worked out quite well".

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During his testimony, Friedman walked back many of his statements.