Woodsburgh resident awaits decision

Foreign Relations Committee to vote on Friedman nomination

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Woodsburgh resident and North Woodmere native David Friedman is awaiting the decision of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee after nearly fours of questioning by its members on Feb. 16.

Should the Committee vote to approve Friedman's nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to Isreal, the full Senate then votes on his confirmation. A bankruptcy lawyer, he served as one of President Donald Trump’s advisers on Jewish affairs during the presidential campaign.

An Orthodox Jew, Friedman is considered a controversial choice to be envoy to the Jewish state.

He is a proponent of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem; does not believe that the two-state solution is as viable as many do; and disagrees vehemently with the stance of J Street, a liberal political lobby, that considers itself pro-Israel. Friedman likened J Street supporters to kapos — Jews who supervised forced labor in the Nazi concentration camps.

Backing for Friedman comes from the Jewish right, as the nominee strongly supports maintaining the West Bank settlements.

Throughout the hearing, Friedman was contrite and at times backed off a portion of what he has said and written in the past on specific issues and organizations like J Street. "I will keep my private opinions in New York," he said, when questioned by Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland.

Cardin asked Friedman about his previous statements on the two-state solution. Friedman said that he would be "delighted to see peace come to this region," but he continues to express skepticism since groups such as Hamas refuse to denounce terrorism.

Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, also questioned Friedman on his past statements. Booker, an African-American, noted that both he and Friedman are from ethnic groups that know "how hurtful words can be." Friedman agreed.

Cardin expressed concern that Friedman was asked to "recant" some of views and asked why. "The opportunity to serve as an ambassdor to Israel fulfills a lifelong dream and a life's work," Friedman said.