WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Wednesday on David Friedman’s nomination to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Israel:
“The U.S.-Israel relationship is a strategic anchor for the United States in the Middle East and one of our most important relationships with any country. The bilateral relationship is also sustained by the deep bonds of friendship between the people of our two countries. Given the range of strategic challenges across the globe and the unprecedented instability and violence roiling the Middle East, now is the time to unify support for the U.S.-Israel relationship across the political spectrum.
“Since the creation of the State of Israel, support for the U.S. relationship has been bipartisan, bicameral, and supported by successive U.S. administrations. I believe it is critical for the U.S. ambassador to Israel to be seen as a unifying figure in this enduring relationship.
“Following extensive consideration of Mr. Friedman’s record and taking into account his statements during his nomination hearing, I have concluded that his past record would make it very difficult for him to serve as that unifying force. For that reason, I am unable to support his nomination as America’s top diplomat in Israel.
“I appreciate Mr. Friedman’s efforts before the Committee to express regret for his record of divisive, inflammatory, and offensive statements. Unfortunately, I believe that the body of Mr. Friedman’s published work will compromise his effectiveness representing the United States –and all Americans – to the Government of Israel and all Israelis.
“Taken together, Mr. Friedman’s statements and affiliations make it clear that he does not believe the two-state solution is necessary for a just and lasting peace. I am concerned that Mr. Friedman’s history on this issue undermines his ability to represent the United States as a credible facilitator of the peace process. There is no realistic, sustainable prospect for a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians other than two states living side by side with security.”