(JNS.org) President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday.
Following the committee’s 12-9 vote, evangelical Christian leader Laurie Cardoza-Moore, president of the Christian Zionist group Proclaiming Justice to the Nations and a special United Nations envoy for the World Council of Independent Christian Churches, called the advancement of Friedman’s candidacy “a strong indication of President Trump’s love and commitment to the Jewish state. Finally, Israel will get the respect she deserves from the White House.”
Friedman’s nomination was opposed by all but one Democrat on the committee, New Jersey’s U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the only Republican to oppose the nomination.
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the committee’s ranking member, cautioned that Friedman had made statements questioning the two-state solution and that his nomination could weaken bipartisan support for Israel. Cardin asserted that Friedman’s past comments “make it difficult for him to have that type of credibility as a unifying force for the support of Israel in our American political system.”
Yet U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who introduced Friedman to the Senate committee, maintained that he is “confident that the overwhelming majority of the members of Congress are very supportive of Israel-U. S. relations.”
Throughout his Senate confirmation hearing, Friedman had struck a conciliatory tone, saying that he regrets “the use of such language,” including an Israel National News oped he authored last year that described supporters of the left-wing Jewish lobby group J Street as “worse than kapos.” He sought to reassure the committee members that he would be more tactful and diplomatic in his role as U.S. ambassador to Israel.
Following the committee-level approval, the full Senate is expected to vote on Friedman’s ambassadorship in the coming days.