1. Press Release
  2. Middle East & Iran

Friedman Squeaks Through SFRC as Grassroots, Anti-Settlement Opposition Grows

By Kate Gould, March 9, 2017


Every vote against Friedman’s confirmation sends an important message: Pro-settlement, pro-occupation policies should be disqualifying from serving in one of the most sensitive diplomatic postings in the world.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Kate Gould kate@fcnl.org, 202-547-6000

The Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Legislative Representative for Middle East Policy Kate Gould released the following statement in response to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voting to advance David Friedman’s nomination for U.S. Ambassador to Israel to the full Senate.

The narrow margin of the vote reflects the growing grassroots mobilization to the pro-settlement, pro-occupation policies that Mr. Friedman has promoted.

"Today, David Friedman squeaked out approval from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a two vote margin. The committee’s approval is unfortunately not a surprise, but the massive opposition to his appointment from a broad spectrum of civil society, current and former officials, and editorial boards is. The narrow margin of the vote reflects the growing grassroots mobilization to the pro-settlement, pro-occupation policies that Mr. Friedman has promoted.

From all accounts, the constituent correspondence against Friedman’s nomination far outnumbered support for it. The opposition correspondence included letters from Holocaust survivors, and descendants of Holocaust survivors, including a letter from an advocate in FCNL’s network, which Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) read during one of the most powerful moments of Friedman’s confirmation hearing.

Securing nine votes against Mr. Friedman’s confirmation is the strongest signal of congressional opposition to date to the Trump Administration’s threat to upend a half century of bipartisan U.S. opposition to illegal Israeli settlements. Such opposition is only possible thanks to tens of thousands of grassroots activists, who have called, emailed, wrote letters to the editor, lobbied their members of Congress and staff, and otherwise amplified the voices of the pro-peace constituencies around the country.

Now we must direct this momentum toward the full Senate, as every vote against Friedman’s confirmation sends an important message that support for Israeli annexation of the West Bank, likening support for the two-state solution or the Iran deal to Nazi collaboration, and funding illegal Israeli settlements should disqualify one from serving in the most sensitive and complex diplomatic postings in the world. We strongly urge all senators to oppose Friedman’s nomination for U.S. Ambassador to Israel."

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The Friends Committee on National Legislation, the oldest registered religious lobby in Washington, is a nonpartisan Quaker lobby in the public interest. FCNL works with a nationwide network of tens of thousands of people from every state in the U.S. to advocate for social and economic justice, peace, and good government.

Kate Gould

  • Legislative Representative, Middle East Policy

Kate Gould serves as the Legislative Representative for Middle East Policy. Kate directs FCNL's lobbying on Middle East policy, and is one of only a handful of registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C. working to support diplomatic solutions to disputes between the U.S. and Iran and the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Israel/Palestine.