Nom­i­nee apol­o­gizes, says he will be a re­spect­ful en­voy

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NATION - By Richard Lard­ner

WASHINGTON >> The com­bat­ive at­tor­ney Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump picked as his am­bas­sador to Is­rael sought to re­pair the dam­age from past at­tacks on po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents, telling Congress he deeply re­gret­ted us­ing in­flam­ma­tory lan­guage and promised to be “re­spect­ful and mea­sured” should he be con­firmed. Dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing Thurs­day, David Fried­man said he de­served crit­i­cism for in­cen­di­ary com­ments that tar­geted former Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, former Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton, lib­eral Jewish ad­vo­cacy groups and oth­ers. Fried­man had called one group, J Street, “worse than ‘ka­pos’” — a ref­er­ence to Jews who helped the Nazis im­prison fel­low Jews dur­ing the Holo­caust.

“Apol­ogy is the first step to atone­ment,” Fried­man told the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee. “I have pro­found dif­fer­ences of opin­ion with J Street. My re­gret

is that I did not ex­press my views re­spect­fully.” The son of an Or­tho­dox rabbi, Fried­man has been a fer­vent sup­porter of Is­raeli set­tle­ments, an op­po­nent of Pales­tinian state­hood and staunch de­fender of Is­rael’s gov­ern­ment.

The hear­ing played out along fa­mil­iar party lines. Repub­li­cans largely sought to play to the Trump nom­i­nee’s strengths, while Democrats aimed for weak spots. Sen. Marco Ru­bio, R-Fla., vig­or­ously de­fended Fried­man and re­jected the no­tion that he needed to dis­tance him­self from pas­sion­ately held be­liefs. Ru­bio ar­gued the U.S. should be unashamedly pro-Is­raeli, not­ing that the Jewish state is Amer­ica’s staunch­est ally in the volatile Mid­dle East. But Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., de­liv­ered a blis­ter­ing assess­ment of Fried­man’s record, which the sen­a­tor said is full of in­sult­ing com­ments and ex­treme views. Fried­man la­bels any­one who dis­agrees with him, in­clud­ing the en­tire Obama State Depart­ment, as anti-Semitic, Udall said. Protesters in­ter­rupted Fried­man dur­ing his open­ing re­marks. Two men, min­utes apart, stood and shouted pro-Pales­tinian slo­gans. They each held up Pales­tinian flags be­fore be­ing re­moved by the Capi­tol po­lice.

Other protesters sang be­fore be­ing ush­ered out. One blasted a sho­far, an in­stru­ment made of a ram’s horn used by Jews dur­ing the High Hol­i­days. He pref­aced it with the tra­di­tional chant “tekiah” that pre­cedes the blow­ing of the sho­far. A woman shouted, “Do not con­firm David Fried­man. He is a war crim­i­nal!”


David Fried­man

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