WILMINGTON, Del. – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement concerning the Committee vote on the nomination of Mr. David Friedman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Israel:
“David Friedman is a well-respected bankruptcy lawyer whose deep relationships in Israel and the United States will serve him well should he be confirmed. I do not question his love for Israel or the United States. I also recognize that Mr. Friedman apologized for his many controversial statements, and I respect that he presented a more moderate perspective at his confirmation hearing. I value this sincere contrition and effort towards atonement.
“However, like many Delawareans, including leading members of the Delaware rabbinical community, I am concerned that his previous inflammatory rhetoric would prevent him from representing faithfully all members of the American Jewish community and all Americans committed to the longstanding U.S. objective of a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. Therefore, I will vote against his nomination to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel.
“The alliance with Israel is one of America’s most important international partnerships. The Israeli people and the American Jewish community deserve the bipartisan support of the U.S. Congress, and I will continue to seek opportunities to maintain that support throughout the Trump administration. I do not believe Mr. Friedman will be able to earn, or keep, the broad confidence of the American or Israeli people, which is vital to bring together all sides of the impassioned debates in the United States and Israel.
“Moreover, given President Trump’s lack of experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Friedman will likely be more than a mere implementer of the administration’s policies towards Israel and the broader Middle East. I deeply worry that his policy views differ from the majority of Jewish Americans and are not what this moment in U.S.-Israel relations calls for. Should Mr. Friedman be confirmed, I hope he moderates his tone and approach to U.S.-Israel relations. He must, if the United States seeks to play a constructive role defending Israel and promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”