WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after voting against the confirmation of David Friedman to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel. The Friedman nomination was confirmed today by a vote of 52-46.
“I have always been a strong supporter of Israel. The relationship shared by our two nations is one defined by friendship, mutual respect, and close strategic cooperation, which adds stability to an otherwise volatile region. I have long maintained that a lasting solution between Israel and the Palestinians will be one achieved by direct negotiations between the two sides.
“The current Administration has expressed multiple viewpoints on the future, inviting concern that there may be a departure from decades of bipartisan U.S. support for a two-state solution. The nomination of Mr. Friedman to serve as Ambassador to Israel adds to this concern.
“Mr. Friedman has been very vocal about his support for Israel. I worry that Mr. Friedman’s first instinct when faced with opposing viewpoints has often been divisive and inflammatory rhetoric, in some cases targeted at members of the Jewish community with whom he does not agree. While I appreciate Mr. Friedman’s expressions of regret for many of his past comments during his confirmation hearing, I do not believe a person with a history of antipathy for those with whom he disagrees can be a successful diplomat.
“For this reason, I did not support Mr. Friedman’s nomination. Mr. Friedman has been confirmed despite my opposition, and it is my sincere hope that he will moderate his views to better align with historically bipartisan U.S. policies, demonstrate an openness to all members of the Jewish community, and serve as an ambassador worthy of our special relationship with Israel.”
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