WASHINGTON -- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday voted to recommend David Friedman as America's ambassador to Israel, moving his nomination to the full Senate floor for a vote in the coming days.
Nine members of the committee voted against US President Donald Trump's nominee, whose controversial statements throughout Trump's campaign for the White House irked several Jewish and Democratic groups. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey was the only Democrat to support Friedman's nomination; 12 senators voted for him in total.
The ranking member of the committee, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, warned that Friedman had in the past questioned the two-state solution as the ultimate goal of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, and said that Friedman contributed to an environment in Washington that is undermining bipartisan support for the Jewish state.
During his confirmation hearing, Friedman apologized for the bombastic rhetoric
he used throughout the campaign, including his comparing a liberal Jewish organization, J Street, to Jews who had collaborated with Nazis during the Holocaust. He vowed to remain disciplined in his rhetoric as US envoy if confirmed.