March 23, 2017

Duckworth Statement on David Friedman’s Confirmation Vote to be Ambassador to Israel


WASHINGTON, DC -U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) issued the following statement explaining her vote against David Friedman's nomination to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel:

"Considering the close relationship between our two countries, the next Ambassador to Israel should be a unifying figure who can work collaboratively and diplomatically to strengthen the U.S.-Israel alliance and advance American interests in the region. After a careful review of Mr. Friedman's past statements and policy positions, I could not support him. Alarmingly, he has demonized large sections of the American Jewish population - including some of my colleagues - he has insulted Palestinians, and his policy positions suggest he doesn't support a two-state solution or lasting peace in the Middle East. The relationship between our countries is too important to jeopardize with the appointment of someone who has a record of such controversial and polarizing statements and policy."

Over the past few years, Friedman has made a variety of inappropriate and inflammatory comments that raise questions about his diplomatic abilities, and his lack of diplomatic experience. Friedman has previously accused President Obama of engaging in "blatant anti-Semitism," U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of "appeasing terrorists," liberal Jews of being "far worse than Kapos [Nazi collaborators]," and said the Palestinian people "worship death." He's praised Vladimir Putin's leadership abilities and argued that Muslim immigrants should not have access to the First Amendment or the rights to free speech or privacy. Friedman has also advocated for the expansion of Israeli settlements and for the Israeli annexation of the West Bank, which would destabilize the region and make a peaceful two-state solution nearly impossible. If enacted, his views would constitute a radical departure of previous U.S. policy towards the Middle East.