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After exciting disruptions, David Friedman hearing is a walk in the park

on 26 Comments

A repentant David Friedman, Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next ambassador to Israel, got an easy ride at the Senate Foreign Relations committee this morning. He said that his apologies to Senator Al Franken and to the head of the Anti Defamation League, for calling them “morons“, were accepted by them; while former Senator Joe Lieberman said he had slept at Friedman’s house and he’s a great guy.

All the senators on the panel agreed that Israel policy should never become politicized, even though it has been; and they seemed determined not to aggravate the divide. Sen. Cory Booker seemed on the verge of tears when quoting Friedman’s use of the word “kapos” to describe critics; Friedman said he would “atone” and “make amends.” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said that a relative of a Holocaust survivor in New Hampshire wants his apology. Give her my number, Friedman said solemnly.

Despite a chorus of voices saying he is too extremist to be ambassador, including from five former ambassadors to Israel who served Republicans and Democrats, Friedman appears to be a lock to be approved, especially given the warm reception he got from Senator Rand Paul, the one Republican who might have broken ranks in the vote, and the strong identification that Democratic Senator Ben Cardin expressed with Friedman, as Zionists.

Palestinian protester disrupts Friedman nomination hearing. (Screenshot: CSPAN)

The most exciting part of the hearing were the first few minutes, as Friedman’s opening statement was interrupted repeatedly by protesters, who were pulled out of the hearing room.

Here was the first disruption by a Palestinian man holding up a Palestinian flag and describing the fate of Palestinian refugees, including his grandfather, forced off his land.

A second Palestinian man also held up a flag and was escorted out, then a shofar sounded, and several young Jews from IfNotNow disrupted the hearing, speaking as American Jews against the occupation. “David Friedman, you promote racism… you do not represent us and you will never represent us.” IfNotNow says three members were arrested. Here is a one-minute video:

As for the exchanges with senators… Friedman said he was for the two-state solution, if only the Palestinians would finally accept the existence of Israel, which they don’t want to do; but that he was convinced there had to be some young Palestinians out there who want what everyone else in the world wants, a chance to get ahead. He said that President Obama wasn’t really an anti-semite, even if he had accused him of being one for saying that Democratic donors were undermining the Iran deal; he said that people can express anti-semitic ideas without actually meaning any harm to Jews. He promised Ohio’s Rob Portman that he would do his utmost to fight BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign that Portman said seeks Israel’s delegitimization. He said that he would sell his interests in Israeli businesses, without saying what those were. Senator Marco Rubio took Friedman’s side, vociferously, and attacked J Street, saying it smears its opponents and invited Saeb Erekat to its conference.

In an exchange with Sen. Shaheen of New Hampshire (who said she is married to a Lebanese-American), Friedman promised that he would take seriously allegations of mistreatment by Arab-Americans at Israeli ports. He said he knew Israel had reasons but he expected it to investigate such cases. Hmmm.

David Friedman’s zealotry/temperament were repeatedly questioned by the Democratic members; but he appeared phlegmatic and unruffled. He said he had been to Israel 50 times and this job would be the capstone of his life. 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. He said that American Jews are devoted to Israel, even if they disagree; and he said his late rabbi father Morris was his hero, and that in the 70s his father had many times locked himself to the gates of the Soviet embassy demanding freedom for Soviet Jews.

Haaretz has reported that Friedman’s claim that he only used inflammatory “kapos” rhetoric to describe opponents in the heat of the election campaign is inaccurate; he kept at it after the election was over.

Responding to the hearing, human rights attorney Noura Erakat said, “Despite his disciplined performance before the Senate confirmation panel, David Friedman has made abundantly clear his agenda regarding Israel and Palestine. In his capacity as ambassador, he will serve the interests of Israel’s right-wing government and settler movement to consolidate a vision of Greater Israel that includes sovereignty over occupied East Jerusalem as well as the largest settlement blocs sprawling across the occupied West Bank.”


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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26 Responses

  1. eljay on February 16, 2017, 3:34 pm

    … Friedman said he was for the two-state solution, if only the Palestinians would finally accept the existence of Israel, which they don’t want to do …

    Zionists like Friedman don’t want Palestinians to accept the existence of Israel – they want Palestinians to accept the existence of Israel as a colonialist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” absolved of its obligations under international law (incl. RoR) and of accountability for its past and on-going (war) crimes. Palestinians should not be expected or required to accept such an injustice.

    • Citizen on February 17, 2017, 7:36 pm

      No other country has ever recognized Israel as officials “The Jewish State,” nor have they had to acknowledge the existence of such a state. Truman crossed out the adjective “Jewish” in the memo he signed in a rush, to beat the USSR from being the first to recognize Israel’s provisional government of the new, self-declared state of Israel. The PLO recognized the state of Israel at Oslo, in 1993, if memory serves. Bibi came up with his demand Palestinians recognize the “Jewish State of Israel” in the latter 1990s, again if memory serves.

      Why should the Palestinians recognize the Jewish State of Israel and thereby, accept the Nakba, sanctify it for the Zionists, and give up the right of return they have under international law?

      • talknic on February 17, 2017, 9:48 pm

        @ Citizen February 17, 2017, 7:36 pm

        ” Truman crossed out the adjective “Jewish” in the memo he signed in a rush, to beat the USSR from being the first to recognize Israel’s provisional government of the new, self-declared state of Israel. “

        I don’t see what difference it would have made who was (on) first :-)

        The name “State of Israel” wasn’t even known to the Jews until just prior to the plea for recognition

  2. US Citizen on February 16, 2017, 5:12 pm

    Congress is considering this nomination of a hardcore pro-settlement lunatic to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel. Five ambassadors, former ambassadors to Israel, of both parties, came out and opposed him on the grounds that he’s essentially insane.

    Softball questions from them all, no mention of the Occupation, illegal settler terrorism, apartheid or human rights. All the 20th century rhetoric came to the fore, Israel is the victim, Palestinians bad, Jews good. It was shameful, embarrassing. And the stooges sitting behind Friedman looked like AIPAC monitors, just like Scientologists making sure he said stayed on point and did not deviate.

    It is not the responsibility of the the Palestinians any other Arab state or any other country or entity to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. They have recognized Israel’s right to exist and that is sufficient.

    Israel’s survival in incumbent upon it maintaining a facade of being the victim in the conflict and Occupation and Friedman and our pathetic Congress does nothing to dispel that.

    A tiny country the size of Bakersfield Cal that’s 6,000 miles away controls the most powerful nation in the world. Pathetic.

    • Mooser on February 16, 2017, 6:00 pm

      “A tiny country the size of Bakersfield Cal”

      Hmmm, funny, “dabakr” never mentioned that when I asked him for numbers. I wonder how they squeeze all of (aprox) 900,000,000 Zionists in there.

      • US Citizen on February 16, 2017, 8:54 pm

        You do the math.

  3. talknic on February 16, 2017, 6:31 pm

    Zionists are pathological liars. What else is new?

    • Kay24 on February 16, 2017, 9:39 pm

      Well, to your point even their dishonest pink champagne drinking leader, was called a liar by a couple of world leaders.

  4. iResistDe4iAm on February 17, 2017, 8:43 am

    David Friedman will make an excellent ambassador to a fascist state.

    I wonder how long he will last before Trump fires him.

  5. on February 17, 2017, 9:20 am

    The most conspicuous interruptions during the hearing were by Jewish groups. Yet this is how the NYT described those interruptions — ‘It was not the only time Mr. Friedman would be interrupted during his brief opening statement. As he and senators sat quietly, police officers removed the protesters, and some other spectators seemed agitated by the interruptions, admonishing the protesters to “sit down” and “show respect.”’

    If you know how Jewish the NYT is, and the lengths to which it goes to protect the state of Israel — that the Times would run a whole editorial — at the very same time! — on anti-semitism — without addressing the issue. Itself.

    The Times is always trying to make this Israelis against Palestinians. It’s not. It’s not even Jews against the world. As those demonstrators so clearly demonstrated, and what the Times purposefully lied about — it’s Zionism against the world.

  6. captADKer on February 17, 2017, 9:40 am

    [Senator Marco Rubio took Friedman’s side, vociferously, and attacked J Street, saying it smears its opponents.]
    unfortunately sen. rubio’s eloquent unscripted speech link is not opening. could someone there attend to this so that all can view this most moving and cogent part of the hearing? thank you, captADKer

  7. ckg on February 17, 2017, 10:25 am

    Trump’s new pick for Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, could also be in for an interesting confirmation hearing. Mondoweiss readers may remember him as the federal prosecutor who gave Jeffrey Epstein a controversial sweetheart deal when Epstein’s friend Alan Dershowitz was defending him.

  8. Ronald Johnson on February 17, 2017, 10:58 am

    Perhaps we need to be reminded of the awesome Pro-Israel contributions to the two (walking dead) political parties. To observe the Senators accepting this, “Confirmation Hearings Conversion” about written defamations, long unrepentant until nomination, is very telling.

    I ask if we should conduct these examinations with a polygraph attached to the nominees with a partial-screen display of the lie detector pens? Mr. Friedman’s demeanor impressed me; butter would not melt in his mouth. If he can count cards, he must be really good at poker.

    • captADKer on February 17, 2017, 11:56 am

      you got that right. onward now with settlements and one democratic jewish state from river to sea

      • Mooser on February 17, 2017, 1:36 pm

        “you got that right. onward now with settlements and one democratic jewish state from river to sea”

        Excuse me, but how many Jewish Zionists willing to live under those conditions will you need to accomplish this? Please, round of to the nearest thousand, no point in quibbling.

        And where are they supposed to come from? Do you think Jews have nothing better to do?

        But then again, unpleasant things must often be done. What’s your plan to coerce, compel Jews into doing this settlement and expansion crime, or supporting it? (I just want to know what I an in for)

      • diasp0ra on February 18, 2017, 6:50 am


        I have no problem with living in an egalitarian state from the river to the sea.

        How are you going to maintain it Jewish when almost half the population isn’t Jewish? How would the law not be discriminatory? Anthem? Everything?

        Genuine questions.

      • eljay on February 18, 2017, 1:50 pm

        || captADKer: you got that right. onward now with settlements and one democratic jewish state from river to sea ||

        “[D]emocratic jewish state” sounds a lot like “Jewish and democratic state” – in other words, like a poor disguise for colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • Talkback on February 19, 2017, 4:21 am

        captAKDer: “you got that right. onward now with settlements and one democratic jewish state from river to sea.”

        A typical Zionist. Calling BDS racist on the one hand and at the same time supporting illegal aquisition, illegal settlements and an ethnocracy on the other.

  9. HHM on February 17, 2017, 11:57 am

    We already have the well-established International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and Jewish Voice for Peace. Would someone be willing to tell me how “IfNotNow” differs from those two organizations? –

  10. Citizen on February 17, 2017, 8:05 pm

    DIdn’t see anything much about the vetting on the cable TV news/infotainment shows. Nothing at all that would Dick and Jane a clue about what the protesters were yelling about.

  11. captADKer on February 18, 2017, 11:11 am

    to mooser-
    4k-7k zealots technically armed to the teeth will break the trails linking river to sea. govt will pay families, name statues and streets after the fallen. immortalize their sacrifices at yankee stadium’s wall of fame too. how bout dat moose!

    • Mooser on February 18, 2017, 12:53 pm

      “4k-7k zealots technically armed to the teeth will break the trails linking river to sea. govt will pay families, name statues and streets after the fallen”

      My God, the Israeli Army has 4,000,000 to 7,000,000 soldiers in it? All ready to die to have a street named after them? Yeah, okay.

      And you will do your part from Canada “captADK”?

      “immortalize their sacrifices at yankee stadium’s wall of fame too”

      Yes, baseball has been very, very good to us.

  12. Ossinev on February 18, 2017, 11:51 am

    “Bibi came up with his demand Palestinians recognize the “Jewish State of Israel” in the latter 1990s, again if memory serves.”

    I think that he first pulled this cute little rabbit out of the hat in a 2009 Bar – Ilan speech:

    Also worth noting in his speech:

    “In this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect. Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government. Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other.”

    The first comment is the usual Yahoo lying hypocritical bullshit ie incremental ethnic cleansing and genocide doesn`t in the least bit threaten the survival of the Palestinian people. The speech also includes the all time greatest Yahoo inverted logic fart calling upon Palestinians to agree to negotiations “without preconditions” whilst simultaneously listing Israel`s pre- conditions such as the aforesaid Jewish State recognition and demilitarisation.

    Its always worth bearing mind that this floating excretion is viewed by the US and most of the rest of the world community as “right wing” but not “extreme right wing”.Hopefully he will very soon self implode in his desperate efforts to keep up with Herr Bennett.

    • traintosiberia on February 18, 2017, 3:09 pm

      Nine years ago, then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell delivered a speech on the Middle East in which he briefly called on Palestinians to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” Powell doesn’t recall how the phrase ended up in his speech, but David Ivry, then the Israeli ambassador to the United States, says he persuaded an aide to Powell to slip it in.

      From that small seed – the first time a U.S. official took sides on the issue – a significant and potentially insurmountable hurdle has emerged, one that could scuttle President Obama’s newly launched effort to promote a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

      President George W. Bush picked up the “Jewish state” concept in his speeches and used it in a controversial exchange of letters with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004. Obama has also adopted the phrase, most recently in a speech last month before the U.N. General Assembly.

      Another example of insiders using their positions and access to insert in long passages something absolutely otherwise unacceptable if presented were separately ,openly and in right forum

      This is the way a lot of Israeli centric Anti Arabs wordings have been inserted in various entirely unrelated bills presented for approval in the Congress throughout last 60 yrs

  13. Boris on February 19, 2017, 5:50 pm

    But, according to Barghooti, BDS is winning. So, it is not too bad…

  14. traintosiberia on February 20, 2017, 10:37 pm Netanyahu turned down secret peace offer, former U.S. officials say…

    Netanyahu took part in a secret summit that Kerry organized in the southern Jordanian port city of Aqaba last February and included Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. The secret meeting was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz1

    According to two former Obama administration officials, Kerry proposed regional recognition of Israel as a Jewish state — a key Netanyahu demand — alongside a renewal of peace talks with the Palestinians with the support of the Arab countries.

    Netanyahu rejected the offer, which would have required a significant pullout from occupied land, saying he would not be able to garner enough support for it in his hard-line coalition government.

    Herzog tweeted Sunday that “history will definitely judge the magnitude of the opportunity as well as the magnitude of the missed opportunity.”

    Two former top aides to Kerry confirmed that the meeting took place secretly on Feb. 21, 2016. According to the officials, Kerry tried to sweeten the 15-year-old “Arab Peace Initiative,” a Saudi-led plan that offered Israel peace with dozens of Arab and Muslim nations in return for a pullout from territories captured in the 1967 Mideast war to make way for an independent Palestine. mong the proposed changes were Arab recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, recognition of Jerusalem as a shared capital for Israelis and Palestinians, and softened language on the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees to lost properties in what is now Israel, the former officials said. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were still not authorized to discuss the secret meeting publicly, said the Egyptian and Jordanian leaders reacted positively to the proposal, while Netanyahu refused to commit to anything beyond meetings with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas…”

    Oslo peace process did not include the term Jewish State Now that is tacitly accepted , new roadblocks are put into place . The underlying kinetic is all about seizing more lands and offering new direction new ideas new discourse while simultaneously destroying the hopes arising out of meeting of the previous demand – even the most atrocious illogical illegal demands -only to make more illogical illegal arrant demands .

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