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tv   Israeli Ambassador Nominee David Friedman Testifies at Confirmation Hearing  CSPAN  February 17, 2017 1:57am-3:52am EST

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sen. corker: in order to move on, first of all we are back in session, and in order to move on, senator udall, we will move on to you. sen. udall: thank you very much. i appreciate the hearing. i would like to put in the record the letter from the five ambassadors if it hasn't already been put in the record, bipartisan group of ambassadors that say that mr. friedman is unfit to be ambassador. sen. corker: without objection. sen. udall: and i'm in agreement with much of what they said. i'm strongly opposed to this nominee. i believe secretary tillerson and president trump should recognize that mr. friedman is
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unfit for this or any other diplomatic office and withdraw him immediately. if not, i strongly recommend this committee not recommend him for confirmation. mr. friedman does not represent american values in the region. that is evident from his past statements, and they are not random, off-the-cuff remarks. much of his intensive -- offensive rhetoric has been reported in the newspapers and repeated over and over. he has called for an arbitrary ban on many muslims entering the country. mr. friedman has stated that muslims should submit internet and telecommunications activity for inspection. and he has said, no need to worry about the first amendment. he has also said the rights of free speech do not apply to muslims attempting to enter our country. just last week, the republican majority chose to censure a
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colleague under senate rule 19 for impugning bad conduct to a senator. if we truly care whether senators are maligned, we should look at mr. friedman's words come on think had been mentioned earlier by mr. cardin and i agree with him in the opening talking about him rejecting these comments, but he has insulted and denigrated members of the senate including senator schumer and senator franken and mr. friedman said no matter how we ultimately vote or no matter how we ultimately vote that by making the decision a close call which is plainly not should be, it is schumer violating and validating the worst appeasement of terrorism since munich, end quote. when the anti-defamation league and senator franken criticized the trump ad as being anti-semitic, he said, quote, i don't know how anybody can take the anti-defamation league seriously going forward.
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this is what happens when the people take these insane arguments to their logical extension. they lose all credibility and frankly they sound like morons, end quote. he has criticized president obama and denigrated secretary clinton's personal views on israeli, and he says i don't think that she particularly likes israel, end quote. responding to president obama and the condemnation of violence in israel, he said, engaging in blatant anti-semitism. end quote. we can all detect a pattern here. anyone who disagrees with his extreme views or the approach to israel is an anti-semite.
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and for the record, he has, mr. friedman has said that he has a cognitive disconnect in identifying good and evil. and by these words he disrespects many in the jewish community including my home state of new mexico, where where i have a had many calls from new mexico urging that we are reject this nomination. such divisive and hateful comments against anyone who disagrees with him is unbecoming of the ambassador to any country. it is clear that mr. friedman's appointment would represent a profound break with decades of the decades of foreign policy to support a two-state solution, and resisting the legal
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settlements that make a solution more remote. president president reagan said that the settlement activity was in no way necessary for the security of israeli and diminishes the confidence of yasharabs that an outcome could be free and fairly done. mr. friedman is profoundly unfit to lead members of the state department, and he accuses many of them for being quote over 100 years of anti-semitism, end quote. i say it as a friend of israel that has always supported military aid to defend the borders and if we can confirming him, we are running a dangerous risk that he will inflame a volatile situation, an inflame other foreign governments in the region.
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we need a steady hand in the middle east and not a bomb thrower in a position of high power and responsibility. one final note, sometimes he does not merely stop at name calling of those who disagree with him as anti-semitic, because he rote in an article in 2015, j. street supporters are far worse than capos and jews who turned in their fellow jews in the nazi death camps. they are smug advocates of the israeli's destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure american sofas. it is hard to imagine anyone worse, end quote. that statement in a written article and not off of the cuff remarks demonstrates the complete and total unfitness for this extremely important office. mr. chairman, i would like to enter all of the source documents for all of these quotes into the official hearing record. >> without objection. >> thank you. if the majority wants to jam through all of the president's, president trump's diplomatic nominees, they probably can, but i urge them to caucus in private and talk to president's team to see if we can move in a different direction. mr. friedman, have you ever issued a public apology for any of your insulting comments
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guarding others'views on israel and middle eastern issues? and will you today reject those comments? could you turn on your microphone? >> yes. i have reached out over the last several months to reach out to a number of people who have been hurt by what i uhave said or people who indicated that they would like to speak to me including the union of reformed rab byes and the new york board of rabbis and a personal meeting with with senator franken and includes a telephone followed up with e-mails with john greenlat from the anti-defamation league, and in the latter, the ap poll i -- the latter two cases, the apologies were accepted and i expect on the ongoing basis those relationships and others will be inclusive and
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respectful. >> i also would like to have because i know that the time is out, and i will submit questions for the record, but you invested massively in the settlement movement and so i would like for you to the record to answer in writing whether you have separate separated your financial interests from that of beth-el and any other settlement s thats that you have an interest in and have done so and i appreciate the chairman's courtesies to allow me to run over a little bit. >> and i don't know if that is a yes or no answer. >> i will be happy to submit answers to all of the questions, senator. >> thank you. senator portman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity to hear you respond to some of those allegations and you used
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the word reject, and i this they you are regret as well some of the comments it sounds like and not the put words in your mouth. >> yes, i do, senator. >> that is what i sensed from your remarks today. you can have no advocate than joe lieberman, and he has respect on both sides of the aisle and he knows you as a friend and colleague. so you are smart to have brought him with you today. >> thank you. [ laughter ] graham, i won't talk about -- and he is fine, too. is fine, too. i have concerns, because this is not a tipple cal ambassador, and i have been to israeli to meet with the ambassador there, and in frank, in the world, it does mat matter who the ambassador s and the state department has taken a bigger and bigger role in the last few decades in the foreign policy and even the white house plays a big role in certain countries, but this is a really important one. and that person on the ground developing those relationships, i think it is critical for two reasons.
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one, we do have a lot of the diversion points of view here as you can see. we are all supportive of israeli, i think it is fair to say and i hope that is true, but different a approaches here, and so to an ambassador has to bring all of the different points of view together and provide counsel to the president and our secretary of state and others and the national security adviser, and you will be getting a lot of visitors and some of them who are confirmed from this body and around the world, so it is a very important role in terms of taking all of the different points of view, and so, one of my questions for you is, are you capable of doing that? listening to the points of view and in some respects being a broker to the points of view to present to the administration? >> yes, senator. i do believe i can do that. i think that bipartisanship has been the hallmark for israeli.
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as i have commented occasionally to several of the senators who i have had the privilege to meet. i want to do everything i can to work with the members of congress to build upon what is, i think, much more that unites us than divides us, and all of those views are made in good faith, and so if i am confirmed it will be a high priority of mine to synthesize and to the extent of harmonizing the views of the congress and also to do the same in israel. as divided as the united states is, the state of israel is just as divided. >> and let me continue that the second role i wanted to mention is the one that you are suggesting now, is that the
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ambassador role is typically someone who has a personal relationship with the leadership there, and not just the prime minister, but also members of the cabinet and the opposition parties, because as you can say , it is diverse and a little kay -- a little chaotic, and so in those relationships, and so do you believe that you can be effective there and how would you go about representing the united states of america? would you be interested in the public comment? some ambassadors have taken that route or more private conversation, and do you feel as though you have relationships in the country beyond the coalition government, and beyond the existing parties that are in power to be able to perform that role. >> senator, on the issues of the --lic comments are private,
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public comments or private, discretion is incredibly important, and i this u that public comments can be self-defeating. as you saw yesterday, people hang on every word that is issued on this subject, whether or not the speaker intended that or not, and i think that you have to be careful. i think that if there is progress to be made in the middle east, and the peace process, it is through the private diplomacy, and through forging agreements and common interests behind the scenes. that is important. i do understand well the center of the left and the right of the israeli knesset, and they are all good people, and they have all sacrificed for the country. many of this em have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the loss -- many of them have paid the
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ultimate sacrifice for the loss of love in the country, and the people to the left have lost their families can continue to maintain the positions on the left, and they are entitled to do so and they should do so, and so it is hard to bring it together. ultimately, this is a rubiks cube, and lot of pieces that have to come together, and i do think that i know the issues and the players, and i do think that i have worked in a albeit much less complicated capacity, but i have worked to develop a skillset that is complimentary to the task. >> in your law practice? >> yes. >> ok. one specific issue that i want to raise is what is the investments and i think the ambassador to israeli is going to have to be someone who is a spokesperson for the u.s. point of view on this, and will have the ability, i hope to try to communicate to the rest of the world what it means for instance
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to have sanctions or boycott with regard to the west bank and what does that mean in terms of israel? and the palestinians? another issue that is becoming a part of the bds in some for ums, and what is your view on bds and ben cardin and i have legislation that we want to get passed, but talk about how you feel as ambassador to israel, how you can be a communiquecator -- can be a communicator to put this global effort in what is a strong support from the united states to combat it. >> i will be a fierce advocate against the bds movement. and ambassador haley has committed to as well. i look at the example of soda stream, and i don't know if you know the company, but it was extraordinarily successful company that employed hundreds of palestinians and israeli and paid them the same wages and benefits and paradigm of the pal
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-- paradigm of israelis and palestinians working together, but because soda stream was on the wrong side of the green line, they were boycotted and then palestinians lost their jobs. it is an entirely self-defeating prospect not only for the palestinians as well. >> senator kaine. >> i want to say welcome and i want to talk about the press conference that was yesterday between president trump and prime minister netanyahu. the resolution has been to support, and this is in the words of the resolution, itself, a partition to the area previously known as palestine into two states, the jewish state and the arab state, and that has been the cornerstone of american foreign policy and reaffirmed often by the palestinians and the israelis since the oslo according. and yesterday, president trump
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signaled potentially a new direction. and i don't want to editorialize, but i want to say that i am looking at a one-state and two-state formulations, and i am happy with the one that both parties like, and i can live with either one. as i read that, i assumed that both parties were israeli and palestinians more broadly. is that how you understood that? >> yes, i watched it from my iphone in keen interest, and i was not involved in the meeting with the prime minister or the lead-up to it or the follow-up, so i am relying on what i saw as well as you, but yes, i heard it that way, whatever the palestinians and israelis agree upon. >> this is something that would get near unanimous view up here the u.s. policy should be to support a resolution that both parties like, but if either or
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both parties don't accept it, then the u.s. should not support that policy? is that fair? >> well, i cannot speculate on the policy that might not gain bilateral support. and certainly, it is the policy of this country for generations to foster direct negotiations and to help bring those to a conclusion conclusion. >> but would you agree with the general thrust of the president's statement that i like the one that both parties like. >> certainly. >> regarding a two-state resolution, israel not accept any from elation or a neighboring palestine would refuse to recognize it as a jewish state contemplated by resolution 181. >> i think so. >> and israeli would not like any formulation where a neighboring palestine would refuse to treat it and live with it as a peaceful neighbor. you agree with that? >> yes.
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>> and so based on the president's statement, if israeli did not like a two-state pulls up one of those two reasons, then the u.s. cannot support it based on the i support something that both sides like? >> again, that is the u.s. could not support -- i think that i have to know more about what exactly the u.s. is presented with. >> you would not expect the u.s. to support a two-state deal where there was not a pledge to recognize israel's right to exist or israel's security? >> no. israel is one of our strongest allies and we owe it no less. >> so let me switch over to one-state formulation, and the palestinians would not like any one one-state formulation, and they would not like to be forced to evacuate their land. >> no. >> no. >> and the palestinians would not like a one-state solution unless they had full and equal rights in such a state. >> i don't think that anyone would ever support a state where different classes of citizens
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have different rights. >> i think you and i agree on that, and we talked in my office that not only would the u.s. not accept a situation are where the people were consigned to a second-class status, but from my somewhat limited experience in israeli, and your dratmatically -- and you're dramatically more experience, but i don't believe either would accept where palestinians would have a second class legal status. >> i don't know anybody who would support that because it is an untenable construct. >> and based on the president's formulation, one-state solution would be acceptable if the palestinians accepted it, and they won't accept fit they are treated as second-class citizens in that formulation. >> i agree. >> and so let me summarize based on the president's theory that we can't support any formulation, we can support any formulation that makes both side
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s happy. the u.s. could never accept, talking about the u.s. policy and not israeli or palestinian poll policy, but the u.s. could never support a two-state solution if it did not require full recognition of israeli as contemplated in the resolution commitment to live in peace. we could not support such a policy? >> correct. >> and so the u.s. could not support any solution where the palestinians are deprived of the full and equal rights that are accorded to any other citizen, correct? >> i think so. >> i don't have any other questions, mr. chair, thank you. >> thank you, sir. senator johnson. >> thank you, mr. friedman, for your willingness to serve. having done a whole lot of negotiating myself, you have to sit down with people negotiating in good faith, and the fundamental problem is that you is the other side of
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palestinians refusing to acknowledge israel's right to exist and isn't that the fundamental problem here? it is a continuing problem for a generation. >> i wanted to talk about how you mentioned in the testimony that palestinians are being held hostage. in their education system for decades, they have been teaching vital things about israelis and jews, correct? >> yes, they have. >> and in palestinian law, they are rewarding terrorist, correct? and it is increasing and cynic of the people who have been murdered? >> yes, that is true. >> so it is really true that a majority of the palestinians are held hostage and they would like a peaceful coexistence with the israeli state? >> i believe that the majority of the palestinians would like peaceful coexistence. >> i hope that is true. to what extent should america continue to provide foreign aid to the palestinian authority when they are teaching the young
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children the vile things they are teaching? and incentivizing the palestinian terrorists to continue the murder jews? it is is an important question for congress to consider. we cannot continue to incentivize this behavior and it is entirely self-defeating to the palestinians and israeli and the entire world. i understand that congress is looking at this and i applaud this evident. >> do you know what the administration's position is going to be on that and are we going to continue to provide that foreign aid? or condition the foreign aid on certainly the not teaching those things? providing those types of incentives? >> i don't know if the administration has a specific position on it, but i would be delighted to find out.
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>> israel recognize it was not working to rules of law applied. senator kaine's question here, for those syrian citizens, they needed some certainty, so they decided to apply the measure. so can you explain the affect? >> i think it's an importantly -- important strategic area for israel. one can only imagine how israel would be suffering right now if it didn't have it. it is not an area of conflict. i'm not saying -- there may be some conflicts but my experience is i think it worked out quite well. >> i think if i were a syrian i would rather be living there on -- living there rather than aleppo. >> i would say that's true. >> say they had to move their family in the middle east, could choose any country in the middle
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east, which would they choose to move their family? i can tell you i would move mine to israel. that's my final question. thanks. >> thank you, chairman corker, ranking member for holding this important commission hearing. you, mr. friedman for being willing to serve the american people. we had a pointed conversation. you are well known to the delaware bar. i'll stipulate for the record at the outset that your legal skills are widely respected and as many of my colleagues have asked that's really not the central concern raised by former ambassadors. it's not whether you are skilled at reaching complex legal resolutions, but rather your
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intemperate previous statements sit suggest in a unique -- should suggest in a unique circumstance with a president unskilled in diplomacy and inclined toward inflammatory tweets that your temperament is important for this critical ly important post. that's sort of the central question today. let me first say one of my core concerns is that the vital alliance between the united states and israel shouldn't be sacrificed on the altar of partisan politics. i've long believed that bipartisanship in support of israel advances our interest, israel's interest and is the best path towards peace in the world, but greatly concerned that -- are pulling officials away from a middle ground on the left and right at a time of real division in both our nations i think it's important that this congress act in a way that reaffirms or bipartisan commitment to israel.
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we have a great deal at stake. iran continues to threaten israel and american interests, continues to destabilize the middle east, isis, hamas, hezbollah jeopardize the safety and security of too many americans, israelis. israel is a vital partner for the united states. much of the media coverage focuses on shared challenges but recent successes shouldn't go unnoticed. we discussed the ten-year mou and $38 billion of support the largest u.s. aid package ever and something president obama deserves credit. defense minister liebermann say that our security cooperation intelligence sharing has never been stronger but worry with so much to gain by further
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cooperation we are allowing rhetoric by hard liners in israel and extremist palestinians are driving us farther apart. i think it is critical for there to be progress towards the long hoped for two state solution for palestinians to give an unequivocal right to exist and direct efforts toward sorting out a plan for peace, but both sides have to consider their words and actions that contribute to these dangers visionss -- a dangerous and continue to not grow. i'm concerned that both sides will have to listen to each other and come together for a lasting peace. as we discuss the challenges and put real pressures on a jewish democratic state in long run, that's not our only challenge. i was concerned and disappointed that president trump didn't
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support a two-state plan yesterday. something that's been a pillar of bipartisan support for israel. it is very difficult to articulate a rational plan or framework in which palestinians would accept for a one-state solution that would have any viability. tomorrow, i will be meeting with a wide range of representatives of the jewish community in my home state. many of them have expressed concerns, given previous statements that were made intemperate or insulting whether as an ambassador they would be welcomed, valued in the u.s. embassy in israel. i'm concerned that successful diplomacy means considering the consequences of our rhetoric an d our behavior. so mr. friedman my central
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question is do you believe that in the role of ambassador if confirmed that you can act in a way that welcomes, celebrates and validates the entire american pro-israel and jewish community in a way that steers the trump administration and its agenda in the middle east towards peace and away from division and partisanship. >> thank you senator for the question. the short answer is yes. i think it's extraordinarily important as we discussed yesterday to cause the issue of israel to not be a political football. it never has been in the past. i'm certainly not immune from criticism. i deserve the criticism and probably contributed to the problem, but we have all i think not -- many people in the jewish community and pro-israel
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community have become more partisan, more separated when at the end of the day as i said earlier they all support israel, they all love this country and all want peace and i think on those common footings, it's important to reunite the pro-israel community and i will pledge to you that i will do every thing i can and be inclusive and respectful of different views and if i'm fortunate enough to be confirmed, i will solicit and very seriously consider all the views of people who in good faith want to strengthen the bond of the united states and israel. >> i appreciate that. i can't remember a previous confirmation hearing for an ambassador repeatedly interrupted by protests. the rhetoric of the campaign and explosive environment in the middle east, the long standing divisions between israelis,
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palestinians, excites very intense passion and your statements have been intemperate and many cases inappropriate and insulting and has been a subject of great back and forth. do you support or will you advocate for israeli annexation in the west bank? >> i will not. >> do you believe a two-state solution is the most ideal path toward peace? >> i think it's the most ideal and has considered the most thought and consideration. obviously it's been tried for a long, long time, and we continue to wrestle with it. much smarter people than me have tried to make progress and failed, but it still remains i believe the best possibility for peace in the region. >> thank you. >> senator yellen.
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>> mr. friedman i enjoyed our time together in the office. we spent roughly an hour talking about at full range of topics pertaining to the u.s.-israel relationship and the lack of stability in the middle east. i think i shared with you as a marine corps intelligence officer. my role was to serve as a unit that flew around drones jointly developed with the state of israel. i came to appreciate through that experience the importance of information sharing between our two countries and also technology development and during my recent years as a member of congress come to appreciate the military aid and armed sales, israel and the u.s. have common threads and shared ideals and our military benefits both countries, if confirmed, would you do all you can do
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strengthen and deepen even further these military to military efforts of cooperation between our countries. >> senator, i would do all i could do to strengthen that. whether on a strategic military bases, it has been one of the great success stories of the relationship and very much benefiting both countries and will do everything i can to continue to improve and strengthen that level of cooperation. >> that's encouraging. closer to home we have been doing our part in the state of indiana. the indiana national guard has a long standing relationship with the israeli defense forces since -- defense forces. since 2010 our guard has joined counterparts in israel in
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conducting combined training exercises. regularly traveled training in jerusalem, my hometown, the urban training center which i know the idf has found helpful in preparing for their own defense. in 2016, 65 indiana national guard's participated in united front. it was conducted -- there were search and rescue operations conducted. so i would ask that you seek more of these if confirmed which i think is highly probable. i would like to turn to the issue of the protect of peace. do you believe an acceptable agreement can be reached between the israeli government and the abbasinians with mahmoud
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at the helm? >> i would think so but the challenges are daunting. i would point out that he refuses to accept israel as a jewish state and the palestinian authority undoubtedly preferable to hamas and to their credit , they have engaged with israel very productively in security matters, but i still think they have positions inconsistent with lasting peace. >> so you have spoken to the challenges. do you see a successor with whom we might be able to do business in a much easier fashion?
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maybe you could speak to what is perceived by some to be a chaotic success crisis occurring among palestinian leaders? >> there appears to be a crisis almost by definition when you have a president who has exceeded his elected term by i think it's seven or eight years now past his electoral mandate. i think -- i hope that there are a new generation of palestinians that want the same thing everybody wants which is a better life, better opportunity for their children and to live in peace. it would just seem obvious to me that they're out there and i know some palestinians who are just like everybody else and i would venture that the vast majority just want what everybody in the world wants, and we have to do what we can to help foster both economically and politically the development of that political class and
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accompanying middle-class to try to draw out that type of leadership. >> yesterday as has been mentioned prime minister netanyahu drew out recognition as an israeli state, and security control west of the jordan river. what is meant by security control west of the jordan river? >> it's really analogue to the naval control with regard to hamas. there's an extraordinary risk of weapons transfer in that area. if the israelis didn't block the flow into gaza, there would be more weapons than right now and i think the prime minister is concerned of a comparable flow
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of weapons out of jordan into a palestinian state and i think as it been explained to me an israeli red line in terms of their own security. i'm not a security expert but very important to the prime minister. >> this would likely require military forces on the ground in that area though. >> i don't know how control would be achieved -- again, i am not an expert in that -- but would require some military control over the border, yes. >> can you conceive palestinian leaders who would be amenable to this sort of situation? >> not today. i think that ultimately it would be in their interests as well to stop the flow of arms into a state that ideally should be demilitarized. it should not be a deal breaker,
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but at this point i think the answer is no. >> what role might the saudis play in moving forward? open to advance potential agreement between the palestinians and israelis? >> i think as we heard yesterday in the prime minister speech far more amenable to productive discussions than in the past. it does not seem to be the third rail as what it once was and just based upon what i heard it would seem to me that's a very productive avenue for future discussions. >> before turning to the senator, i think the prime minister has been clear that when he talks about security in the west bank, he is talking
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about military presence. do you agree with that? >> yes. >> senator booker. cooks thank you, mr. chairman. -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you first of all for coming to my office yesterday. i really appreciate the respect you showed me and appreciated our conversation and especially the deputy of your love for state of israel something i admire. i wanted to zone in. i have grave concerns about the volume and breadth of your past statements as we discussed a bit . you stated in your testimony that you regret some of these hurtful in which you used against -- hurtful language used against president obama and 60 clinton. two people who have spent 30 years in service. engagingd about obama
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in blatant anti-semitism. you don't believe president obama is an anti-semi, do you? >> i don't believe that for a second. , i spoke thes language the president use in a guard to the iran deal. i proceeded to be something which was historically anti-jewish. >>ks the comments about -- but it wasn't just about that, it's a sycophantic missions but senator mccain who gave a thought about israel, you called him an israel basher, you don't believe senator cain is an issue rail basher do you? >> no, i completely redact that -- completely retract that statement.
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>> and former senator clinton, you talked about her having anti-somatic sentiments. .- anti-somatic sentiments senator schumer, again someone who shares your depth of love for israel, but said no matter how he ultimately votes by making the decision such a close call, senator schumer is inviting the worst appeasement of terrorism since munich. that obviously to me -- i tried to find other ambassadors post such as this who said such things that you would agree that were not just policy disagreements or just the heat of a politician. those are comments that demean the character of another human being, would you agree they were demeaning to the character of those individuals?
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>> i tried to criticize the words rather than the person, but i can certainly understand how it extended to the character. it was not intentional but i understand that. >> sir, you and i know from our histories know a lot about hate words, and know when people dismiss things is just words, they are belittling the harm and damage that it could do to entire communities. would agree with that? >> i would. >> you also attacked the state department, with 100 year history of anti-semitism -- promotes the payoffs of palestinians in exchange for their agreement to support solution -- support a two state solution. the state department has been
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antisemitic to israel the past 70 years. the ambassadors who wrote a letter that has been entered into the record, they took issue with someone now who is going to be working with the state theo -- the state department who cast a broad net who make sacrifices, they write, mr. freeman has accused mr. obama of anti-semitism. he has characterized supporters of jay street, as kapos. jews who cooperated with the nazis than the holocaust. they say these are extreme radical positions.
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words like kapos resonate with me in particular because they reflect words again that you and i both know personally from our family histories how cruel, mean spirited that kind of language is. you understand that, right? >> i understand it, senator. in addition to understanding it, in the course of thousands of e-mails i received in response to those comments i received an e-mail -- some were unrepetable, just some more unrepeatable, -- some more unrepeatable, some were frightening, but another touching who survived the holocaust, he disagreed with me on the best tactics but felt i had invalidated the good faith of his positions and the last
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person in the world i would want to offend would be someone like that and it is something that i deeply regret. >> so your past comments to me, i understand that you're apologizing, but we both know the difference between apology and atonement, correct? >> i think apology might be the first step to atonement. >> yes, sir. you're looking to be in a position of a diplomat at a time where you're entering the area of the globe that is delicate to say the least which there is tremendous passion and heart invested which your love and my love of the state of israel often as you said earlier in your testimony a measured word the wrong way can have great ramifiations. >> yes. >> i have deep concerns, with that history of uttering
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words, writing them, thoughtful ones and not understanding the ramifications they could have. i want to ask in turn to another simple question but the usaid program going on in the west bank. -- exxonuld you have a do you have intention to visit the best bank should you be confirmed as ambassador? >> if the state department rules are changed -- >> i appreciate you recognizing that. do you have intention to have visiting the temple mount? >> no. i never have visited. i've been to israel several times and never visited the temple mount. >> thank you for letting me go over my time. >> senator rubio. >> let me begin by saying i find this whole process to be unreal, this sort of ordeal you're being put through to account for all the words, given some to have groups. this group jay street a few years ago invited the
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palestinian -- who justified the murder of jews as self-defense as a person they invited to speak at the conference. people who hold views i find to be a smear and mischaracterization of our position. second thing i think you're confronting not in this hearing per se but at large is what is this orthodoxy, in the state, -- state department, somehow the united states needs to be a fair and balanced arbiter in this situation we're facing in the middle east. i don't understand that, i really don't. my view is israel is our fungus ally in the region. in addition to a moral obligation to protect the right of jewish people to a homeland, especially one found in the aftermath of the holocaust.
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the second point i would find startling, all these so-called professionals, i very rarely hear them stand up and speak vociferously. they are never reluctant to step forward and condemn israel time and again. and this is what you are going to confront time and again. this whole dialogue around this is that you have somehow -- a wholesale rejection of the two state solution. you have said in a perfect world you would have two states peacefully side by side living next to one another. perhaps the least of which the
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existence in judeo and samaria -- judeo and samaria -- to impose upon them a negotiated settlement outside the bounds of what the jewish people support and the interest of the nation of israel. a bigger impediment is the unwillingness of the leadership of the palestinian authority to recognize israel's right as a jewish state. that is the key phrase, not justice rail just israel's right to exist. how are you going to negotiate a peaceful coexistence with the neighbor who does not admit the right of your existence? how about young palestinians into a doctrine of hatred an justification and killing and murdering of jews that begins outrageously at a very young age.
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that's a big inpediment. -- big impediment. another is to impose on israel a termsated solution on the -- another big impediment the incitement of leaders. that isn't widely reported. that doesn't make it into to the english presses. when they dedicate monuments to martyrs who are nothing but terrorists. when they explain what they're mount,o do on the temple these things incite violence. i view these things as bigger impediments and i think it's not that you're opposed but recognize at this moment given the circumstances that exist and in that region in particular it is not likely to have that outcome and hopefully that will change.
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hopefully the palestinians will have better leadership, the more prosperous, grow the economy. ten, 15, 20 years, five years, we all hope the situations will be better for that to occur, but the worst thing to do is to impose on our most important ally in the region a deal that's bad for their security and future, is that an accurate characterization of your feelings with regard to the two-state solution? >> i think it is, senator. >> i want to enter into the record, a letter from the union of orthodox jewish congregation of america. >> without objection. >> as ambassador, your role would be to advocate for and implement the policy of the president is that correct? >> 100% correct. >> so on any issue whether it's the location of the embassy,
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whether it's our position on any given matter, it is your job ultimately to be an advocate for the decisions made from the oval office and by this administration, not your personal views. >> i would be an advocate for the same way as clients. my personal views are completely subordinated to the views of the board and the president. >> thank you mr. friedman for taking time to come and meet with me yesterday. i'm not going to relitigate the concerns that people have raised about some of your statements with respect to senators and the former president. though i share those concerns. but, i'm concerned about an article that you wrote in november of 2015 talking about russia's intervention in syria
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where you held up that intervention as a model, and predicted that they would succeed in defeating isis, and the title of the article is "learn a lesson from russia." i would ask that it be entered into the record. >> without objection. >> at that time we had seen news reports about russia's failure to go after isis and their motives to hold up the assad regime and we have seen since then their indiscriminate bombings of civilians in aleppo, blowing up of aid workers, bombing of hospitals so i would ask do you still believe in the last year the russian military has done more to defeat isis than the united states? >> no.
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and my -- i was not intending to in any way praise russia. my point there was simply that russia had used isis as a platform, an excuse if you will to enter the region to prop up the assad regime. i thought it was a deplorable act. the point was that i simply lamented that the united states had not acted when threatened threatened -- threatened to do when the president set the red line. but much has changed and the united states has certainly done more to defeat isis than russia. >> i appreciate that you did in that article characterize the leadersn, american force -- fight with two hands and a leg tied behind their
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backs. vladimir putin might be a thug, but he knows how to execute a military plan and ultimately prevail. you refer today the global coalition to counter isil as a coalition of cowards, hypocrites left from behind from the american president. do you think that's conducive to securing partners in this fight against isil? >> no, i don't. i think it was a view i raised as a private person without that objective. >> so, i appreciate the comments that you made about ensuring that israeli arabs are treated fairly. i appreciated that comment when you met with me yesterday. i've heard troubling stories from arab-americans who say they
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have experienced discrimination israeli authorities at the israeli border for no other reason than because they have arab last names. as someone who has an error last .ame -- has an arab last name how would you as a master address these concerns that you hear, should you hear that from arab-americans who feel like they have not been to fairly. >> i would be the ambassador for the benefit of arab-american as well as other americans, and it's inexcusable to discriminate on the basis of one's nationality, religion or otherwise. want to engage with the israelis to understand the process they are using for the immigration and encourage them own nationaltheir
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security issues which i think we all respect but that's not a basis to engage especially against the american population in any process that would be dis -- discriminatory. it did make sure that not proceed. >> you have written the israel policy of schizophrenia, criticizing disloyal arab citizens while simultaneously drawing upon them the citizens -- the benefits of citizenship is not working. stancesclarify any under which citizens of israel should be stripped of their benefits? what benefits could be removed? >> i think this was in the context of criminal activity, nationality.sis of just be clear, i don't support any activity that would be based
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upon one's nation of origin. >> how you feel about the president's effective order on immigration? >> i accept the president's representation. that was a temporary ban to keep the country safe. >> even though we had not had any incidents from terrorists from any of those seven countries that we can point to? >> center, i was not just senator, i was not involved in that order. i don't know. >> thank you. i want to and by reading you accept from a letter that i received from a constituent from new hampshire. she says, "as a jewish constituent of yours whose great uncle survived the holocaust, i'm am appalled by david friedman's liking that liberal jews cannot be collaborators. my great uncle was born in 1920
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in portland -- in poland. he was interned at a concentration camp. he lost his mother and sister during the holocaust. he was only able to survive due to his talent for fixing watches. it is such a shame for someone who survived the not see regime would be despaired by the israeli ambassador nominee as a capo or not to collaborator simply for standing up for what he believes is right. my friedman, what do i tell constituent about why she should not feel differently, that you could represent her? and you are not disparaging people who have her happyiedman: i would be to give to you my number and i
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would apologize to her personally. i am searching feels that way and i respect your feelings and i would like to make amends. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is an observation. thank you for being care. i know we had a very good meeting. you are here today having to recant every single strongly held belief that you have expressed. almost. about thisst curious job and its importance to you to everyling to recant single strongly held a leaf that you had. i wonder if you would share that with us because it is interesting to listen -- you have done a lot of that and i appreciate that. sometimes, when people run for public office, they say things and they have to massage them to is fairlyut this
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extraordinary. i wonder if you would share with us why you would be willing to do that to serve in this capacity. mr. friedman: the opportunity to serve my country as ambassador to israel would be the dreamlment of a life's and work. people,f study of the the culture, the politics of israeli society. one of the great things i love about this country is the fact that it was a first country to recognize israel and has stood with israel steadfastly through thick and thin over very many challenging circumstances. myelieve that based upon relationship with the country and its people, i can be helpful and i can do good. i believe that based upon my relationship with the president, i can help him get to the right place. and as he's dead -- and as he
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said colloquially to bring peace to the religion -- to the region. my views are my views. rhetoriccertainly the and the inflammation. that i have caused. the heard that i have caused. i need to do a much better job going forward and i intend to and i will with regard to a diplomatic mission. ary different from being private citizen writing articles. this is something i really want to do because i think i can do it well. and there is nothing more important to me then at strengthening the bonds between the united states and israel. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. friedman. this is kind of a continuation of that team. congresstant is it -- has been the bulwark of support for israel over the years. as you mentioned in my office.
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it is congress that is an enduring institution that has supported israel and it has always been marked by part -- it has always been marked by bipartisanship. and you talk about that in words? mr. friedman: it has been the exception rather than the role that the congress has divided over an issue like israel. not a political issue. for the united states, it is very much a moral issue. the united states stands with israel because israel and the united states have common interests militarily, economically, technologically but first and foremost their relationship is on the basis of shared values. they are not political. they are the direct connection that the two countries have. commitment to democracy, human rights, to biblical values.
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me, it would be greatly disappointing if i could not departisanize the relationship of the united states with israel. addressflake: let me the comments yesterday with the prime minister's visit. a peopleent that report that we are no longer committed in this country to a two state solution. i know that has been addressed at length. i do not see it -- that break. i think the framework that is most likely to produce lasting peace is a two state solution. is there any likelihood at all that our fundamental principles is that the parties themselves through direct negotiations arrive at a solution -- is or any likelihood that the parties
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would adopt anything other than a two state solution? i would just like your thoughts on that. mr. friedman: i have seen no appetite by the palestinians to a one state solution. guess i would say if it happens, we will notice it but i have not seen it yet. senator flake: if the bedrock principle is still drag negotiations between the parties and not have a solution imposed by outside organizations such as the general assembly, the security council, or any other body including the united states. mr. friedman: that is correct. senator flake: thank you, mr. chairman. senator: thank you very much for being willing to be here and
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your willingness to server -- to serve. building off the opening question from senator flake, the reason many of us are asking you as detailed questions about statements you have made in the past about those who have ofetimes been supportive diplomatic engagements in the have not always been supportive of the position that has taken is that israel has become another political football. what was most important in the support ofeping our israel out of the political playing field and today that is not the case. the short time i have been in public service, israel has gone from being an issue that unites us to an issue that is used in political campaigns in order to divide us. and so i think you are being asked these questions because we are very worried about what the future holds.
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and your nomination is when of the strongest partisans on the issue of israel. being willing to call democrats all sorts of terrible news to just we are in for another rough stretch when it comes to trying to heal those divisions. i appreciate what you said -- that you want your tenure to be one of healing divisions. there are frankly a lot of people who would have been better suited to play that role. and so i want to ask some questions. i think senator corker is right exceptional the andl of recantations reversals. i guess it is something different to me to regret words that you have said then it is to actually change your underlying opinion. let me make sure -- that i have this right. street andid that j
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supporters of j street are worse thean capos. i hear you say that you regret those words but have you changed your opinion on the matter? mr. friedman: i have profound differences of opinion with the j straight organization. i do not think that will change. my regret is that i did not express those views respectfully asognizing that they are entitled as i am to have a different view. my regrets are to the language and the rhetoric. i am not withdrawing my personal views as to the organization. senator: is your personal view still that j street and its supporters are worse than the capos of the world war ii era? no, that is not my
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view. you abouthat me ask the word anti-semite. prettye thrown it about liberally to describe the actions of the obama administration. thatushback on that is that phrase is a description of motivations. it is a description about what lies in someone's heart. the idea that someone hates juice and thus carries out actions based on that belief. thatt want to make sure you believe that in calling my words or my actions anti-semitic that you are calling me anti-somatic -- anti-semitic. mr. friedman: i do not agree with that. senator: why? mr. friedman: i think someone can it in berkeley say something
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-- inadvertently say something. wouldthe speaker himself have done it unintentionally or even with good intentions. sometimes, words are uttered by one and perceived why another. the speaker and the -- senator: perception is in the eye of the beholder. you are saying that the phrase "anti-semitic" is owned by the itson who hears the words -- is not about the motivation of the individual. my motivations have nothing to actions that could legitimately be described as anti-somatic. emitic.-said tha mr. friedman: words can legitimately be viewed as
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anti-semitic. i have no desire to discriminate against juice. mr. friedman: i could see withouting the words challenging the motivations of the speaker. senator: another one of your more controversial statements was your without challenging the motivations of the speaker. hope that donald trump individuals in the state department who have opposed policies that you and he have espoused such as moving the embassy. , through his press secretary, has said that those in the department of state that do not agree with the president's viewpoints should get on board or get out. and has suggested that the typical means of expressing dissent within the department of state are no longer legitimate. you either agree with the
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president or you have no place in the administration which would topple decades of precedent within the department. your statement suggests that you agree with that -- that the president should fire individuals that do not agree with his positioning. is that also a statement that you recant and have reversed? ousterou try to seek the of individuals working for the embassy that do not agree with your viewpoint? no, senator, i think any executive has a right to have people that execute his views no matter how they feel. department,tate there are tens of thousands of people who are entitled to their own views. to president is entitled have people report to him better prepared to execute his directives on foreign policy. he is the commander in chief. senator: given that you will be
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you willn embassy, have a lot of civil servants who have served the country well. they will be in important positions like political officer military officer, people liaising with the israeli government. what level of individual have to believe in their heart the same as you to maintain their position? mr. friedman: in my case, because i am not making policy, i am simply observing the direct hits of the president. me orr people agree with not within the embassy is irrelevant. chairman corker: thank you. gardner: we really appreciate the chance to get to know you better and talk about the leadership opportunities we have in the united states with israel and the opportunities we have a twin the two both from an economic standpoint as well as security. israel, time i visited
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about a year ago, i think it was time i had thet opportunity to visit israel was in august of 2011 with a few other members of congress. headquarters and general whoith the i believe was the head of the israeli planning division. one of the -- one of my colleagues asked a simple question that i thought was simple. view of- what is your u.s. foreign-policy in the region? after about 45 seconds or a minute of him trying to avoid the question, my colleague said -- please just give us your answer. you will not offend us. the general then spent several minutes frightening us and talking about his answer. his answer was this -- they did not know where the foreign
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policy of the united states was. they did not understand what we were doing in the region. that was 2011. there was a lot happening around that time from. sometime later, i went back to israel and visited with the same general. -- to no reason to work remember me but i asked him the same question. what is your view of u.s. foreign-policy in the region? i was startled with the same answer. today, mr. friedman, what would views the how israel u.s. foreign-policy and what do you think can be accomplished under your leadership that they would walk away understanding the firm commitment the united states has to israel? mr. friedman: i think the most important thing in the relationship between our two countries is something that i picked up this morning or late
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last night in the readout between the prime minister of israel and the president which is that there be no daily between the two countries. it does not mean there should be no disagreements. israel has no other friends like the united dates. sometimes they have no other friends at all other than the united states. when the rest of the world sees that the united states and israel are not aligned, there is a risk they will become more aggressive against israel. loyalty and respect and no daylight -- everything else is details and can get worked out. is what i think israel needs from us. and i think that is where the president is now. senator: the strategic outlook for israel in the region -- where are we going with iran
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right now? i don't know if you have addressed the deal and what is happening in jordan and its stability which is key to stability and security and israel. can you talk about the outlook of the region? states,dman: the gulf the egyptian scum the jordanians, and the israelis are all united perhaps inadvertently so but they are all you needed -- are all united about a common concern regarding iran. i think without relitigating the deal, which i think is no secret i was very much against it -- but sitting here an just recently tested ballistic missile's. they continue to provoke the united states. as the prime minister of israel said yesterday they write in
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hebrew on their missiles "destroy israel." israel does not have the distance between itself and i that we have. they are all nervous and the sunni states are nervous as well. i don't inc. this is something that i will be engaged on but i certainly support the president's view that we need to in -- re-institute leverage on to the very them first page of the jcpoa which says iran will not develop or acquire a nuclear weapon. page that wethe ought to be focusing on and enforcing as hard as we can. senator: thank you, mr. friedman. mr. chairman, when we were in
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israel with senator cardin's delegation, we visited an iron dome rocket battery. as the celebration was taking place, you could hear the voices participating in that holiday right by the iron dome facility. think the mention of daylight between our two nations is important and we have to spend time, the united states and israel, assuring and restating that there is no daylight the train our two nations and i look forward to working with you to make that happen. mr. friedman: thank you, senator. menendez: congratulations on the nomination. lawyer a lawyer and as a you have obligations to clients. could you describe so singly what your obligation is to any
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given client? mr. friedman: confidentiality. the zealousness. mendoza: who is your client? mr. friedman: i would pledge to support and defend the constitution of the united states so i have an obligation to the entire country. : it is in theez national interest of united states that you would pledge fidelity to the nation is that correct? mr. friedman: yes, sir. senator anand is: you have -- you haveenendez: presented yourself as someone who is smart, measured, and temperate and yet i get a sense that your love for the state of israel overwhelms your language. which was not necessarily tempered at the end of the day.
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and so the question is -- we cannot have an ambassador who ultimately will be moved as much as as they may be passionate about the country they are sent to or by the prime minister of that country. as much as we may have the greatest of relationships. that will not bend their will to that but will bend there will to what is in the interests of the united states. mr. friedman: my loyalty will be 100% to the united states and to no one else. senator been that does: -- senator menendez: i have heard you actually use "i apologize to individuals." i take some of your rejection of what you said as an apology to those you may have affronted. is that fair? mr. friedman: yes.
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menendez: when you came to see me, i was interested in hearing from you and unsolicited late you talked about -- you spoke about building a strong palestinian middle class. we have not heard a lot about that today. mr. friedman: there is business activity in the west bank. there are people who are businessmen in the west bank who are building industries. rate in thement west bank is too high. the only way i can think to bring it down is to foster that type of industry. i would like to work with israel the commercial environment in the west bank less burdensome. there are issues of water. issues of electricity.
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issues of the movement of goods and services. there are also security considerations that overwhelm everything else. but technologies are improving. security can be less intrusive than it has been in the past. i think israel could probably do better and without a specific instance, i think they can do better. and i think we could as part of the effort within the region, the gulf states, the egyptians, the jordanians, to try to improve the palestinian economy. i think we can look to some of the wealthier nations to help. menendez: some of the necessary underpinnings to achieve the peace that we all desire -- it would be fair to say that in one context, tilting the economic livelihood and tolities of palestinians realize their hopes, dreams, and aspirations, is an important one. is that fair? mr. friedman: it may be the most important one.
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senator ben dundas -- senator : you left out of your statement for purposes of time something that i found interesting. calledported an entity organization in israel that uses advanced technology to weed through traffic to provide emergency services. it so special is that it is comprised of volunteers from the entire spectrum of the israeli population including juice, muslims, and christians. they all operate under a single credo -- treat patients in the order of their affliction and never let any other considerations, political, religious, or otherwise influence your commitment to saving lives.
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you go on to say that it represents the best of the israeli people. does it capture the essence of your feelings towards both pal --both palestinians and israelis? mr. friedman: it does. i was in israel this past summer at eight session of the knesset -- when an eight-year-old boy eight gave and a muslim volunteer. the volunteer had pulled his mother out of a burning car a year and a half earlier and saved her life and the boy -- a jewish boy gave this award to a muslim volunteer for saving his mother's life. i don't think there was a dry eye in the house. this organization represents the very best of all of the israeli people. it gives me great hope and optimism for the future. life of you believe the
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a palestinian child is of the same value as a jewish child? do you believe that palestinians ultimately have a right to self-governing? mr. friedman: yes. i do. in addition to pursuing the national interests and security of the united states, i assume whatever personal interest you may have in israel that you will wall those off in such a way that that will not be a question as well. mr. friedman: i have agreed to sell my business interests in israel. : some mightndez think that this is a nomination conversion. process towards atonement for some of the things that may have been said in an ideological war and in a
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political context and environment and that they are just for the purposes of achieving the goals of getting your nomination through. what would you say to that? to those who are thinking that? mr. friedman: i am sitting here under both taking that both seriously. my views are entirely impartial. z: what you have told me in response to my questions is what you have in your heart, what you have in your mind, and what you will do if in fact you are confirmed by the senate? mr. friedman: that is correct. paul: welcome, mr. friedman and congratulations on your nomination. i think sometimes there is a presumption that a america knows of everythingarge
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and we will tell everybody the way things are going to be. it ignores the sovereignty of other nations and their opinions. particularly in the peace process. we have decided what the peace process is since 1947 and it does not look like there is peace yet so maybe there should be other thoughts. i am not here to say what the best process is but maybe we should take a step back and realize that any peace process will require agreement from both sides and what both sides of the conflict think is probably more important than us. the same would apply somewhat to settlements. we can all have our own opinion. i know you have yours. but it is also not our country and we do not live there. i am not saying it is not a problem but i am not so sure that the united state should dictate that but that being said, i think we ought to be aware of the ramifications of
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policy and we can voice our opinions on these. yours has been very strong in favor of settlement. my question is, is that -- and this has come up with a press conference -- president trump has voiced some hesitancy to the 5400 new units in the west bank. i am not here to say what my opinion is or what the government should tell israel it should do, we ought to account for and think about what 5400 new settlements in the west bank do to the possibility of peace. are you open to thinking about what the ramifications are and there is another side of the settlement issue other than we should build everywhere all of the time. mr. friedman: yes. paul: i think that is what people want to hear. that you are open-minded and there are ramifications and you will listen. we thinkn america everyone thinks alike in israel. if anything, they have more
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diversity of opinions and thoughts than we do on israel. and your job as ambassador will be to understand that may be to understand that maybe a third of the population of israel, a significant number do not want new settlements in the west bank either but your job will be to report that to the president and to let him know the different viewpoints in israel, the ramifications of new settlements even if we do not get a say. the capital is a little bit different. israel gets to decide the capital of their country. have talked about is that no one else has an embassy there. there will be ramifications if we move it. i want to know if you are a thoughtful individual, will you think about the ramifications, will we think to ourselves long and hard that if we do move our embassy there and 1000 israeli soldiers die because of it or somehow americans are caught up in it, will it have been something that was worth our while if we do it for the
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symbolism of it if people die because of it. and will you think through the ramifications of that and advise the president that there is more than one side to the issue. mr. friedman: yes, the decision will be made by the president and i am confident and i was support him considering all of the political security and other ramifications associated. senator paul: i do not put myself out as an expert with answers to middle east peace but having traveled there once i have an opinion like everyone else. my opinion is that it is fairly elusive. i think i am justified in that. i came back from israel thinking that our best hope is incremental change. i think it is an equation where israel holds most of the cards and the power. they have an unparalleled military. and i don't think things will change militarily. these are the facts on the ground. there is a chance for improvement but it will be
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incremental. i met with palestinian businessman recently -- palestinian businessmen and they mentioned areas in the west bank. they feel like they do not have access to it. that they are forbidden for drilling for water, setting up enterprises where they can make money. my advice would be to meet with palestinian businessmen and --, is there a- way to lessen hostility and tension. let us see if trade can be enhanced. there are all kinds of things that are not the final agreement which is elusive that we could do. i want to know that you are open-minded to say -- it is less likely we will have war if we trade more and have more interaction. senator, i would be excited to have those
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discussions. senator paul: i think some of that could be done here. there is some here between the different parties. some can be done over there. i think it is important that you project to them that you are open-minded on these things because it you have had, and i have strong opinions also -- having strong opinions is not a fault but i would say that you have to show that you are open-minded enough to be a diplomat which means hearing from and talking to both parties and understanding the complexity and ramifications of every little policy that happens over there. mr. friedman: i will, senator. thank you. murphy: we spoke in my office about a two state solution. may beed about what possible. you said it was the gold standard. in our conversation and perhaps you could help me flesh this out you mentioneder,
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a scenario under which the west bank could be incorporated into israel. and that the country would still maintain its jewish and democratic identity. could you go through that looked atnd how you those numbers and how you would view that as an alternative? mr. friedman: i don't do it as an alternative. discussion was more in the hypothetical. but i think that there is a general conventional wisdom that israel can either be jewish or democratic but not both under that type of scenario. i do not know the demographics of the west bank well enough. there are multiple studies that have been done. i think demographics of the west
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bank are a very important part of working forward. and i think we ought to have the same data. populationof assumptions go from a million and a half of two 3 million. and at a million and a half , and, it is one scenario at 3 million, it could be another. i don't know if it is true or if some number in the middle matters. i think because demographics matter to any discussion, we ought to have good data. i would encourage the israelis on a nonpartisan basis to try to get better data on those demographics. senator murphy: ultimately, do you think the palestinians would accept a solution that has the west bank incorporated into israel? and then if the demographics were such that they would then remain in the minority and gaza
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was excluded from a final agreement -- do you think there is a scenario under which the palestinians could accept a deal that created that new entity and kept the palestinians in a permanent minority within that greater israel that would have been created? mr. friedman: i can't imagine either israel or the palestinians would accept a scenario where there were different rates for different citizens. whether the palestinians were in the majority or the minority, i could not speak for them. i would only point out that israel is itself has a very good track record of providing good education, health care, commercial opportunities, human rights, writes to the -- rights to the lb gt q community.
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that thet be something palestinians in the west bank might be attracted to but i would never speak for them. do not murphy: you personally support israeli annexation of the west bank. mr. friedman: no, i do not. senator murphy: you are saying that it would have to be part of the agreement. mr. friedman: it would all have to be agreed to by the parties. is hard forhy: it me to envision a situation where the palestinians would allow a division where the west bank was a part of israel and gaza and its residents would not have rights equal to the citizens of that part of the palestinian population. you talked about the two state solution as the best possibility. can you give us another possibility? sitting here
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today, i do not have a better option. senator murphy: you do not. mr. friedman: no, i do not. senator murphy: i know this terrain has already been traveled in the hearing but if i could i would like to go out and the l little bit about sentiment. it is training students to successfully delegitimize the notion of a two state solution facts on the ground in the face of the international community's desire to uproot us. can you talk about comments like that coming out of that community in ramallah? and your views on those comments the implications?
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mr. friedman: i think they are a challenge on many to achieving a two-state solutia. -- achieving a two state solution. a hum lytic academy -- hamudic academy. my philanthropic activity there has not been connected to their political act vividly which i had no part in. senator murphy: if the land in that area was included in a two state solution and the land had to be returned to the palestinians, would you support the return of that land? mr. friedman: in the context of a fully agree to two-state solution, yes.
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senator corker: i know that senator cardin has some questions. i will let him finish. senator cardin: with no disrespect to the chairman, i will ask my questions and then thank mr. friedman for your patience and your willingness to serve and your passion for the relationship between israel and the united states. come across very clearly from your testimony and i want to underscore that. the white house issued a statement on february 2 saying that we do not agree the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace. the expansion of existing --tlements beyond their core beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. what is your view? mr. friedman: i think the expansion of settlements -- i
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agree with the president. it may not be helpful. to treadt makes sense very carefully in that area. senator cardin: for the record, we have been talking a lot of of the west bank but very little about gaza. gaza is much more difficult than the west bank. we had a chance in my office to talk a little bit about gaza that i want to put that on the record. it is a complicated situation on how you deal with gaza if you do not have a viable two-state process moving forward. thank you, mr. chairman. : i saw therker headline you had written about the two state solution in somewhat of an allusion. and yesterday, with others i had a meeting with prime minister netanyahu who we all respect greatly. --ave listened to him say
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referred to the fact that until the palestinians can accept the fact that israel has a right to exist, it is difficult to have a two state solution. he refers rightly so to the fact that one of his great responsibilities is the security and thatople of israel there is not a time when you can see in the future, ever, where there is not a military presence by the israelis and the west bank. we keep talking about the west bank because it is a place that is most likely for something good to happen and gaza, obviously, is way beyond that. , especially after yesterday, but also seeing all of the many efforts that have been put in place around the two i know connie,
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blair -- i don't know how many been to the area. maybe 160 times. it is not the amount of effort but it is the result his wife said. are we helping the situation by continually talking about a two aate solution when having military presence in the west bank ad infinitum forever i israel is really something different from a two state solution? is a serious question and i am beginning to wonder if we are actually verbalizing this in the appropriate manner. honest question. i know you have expressed strong feelings. i sometimes think we here in the public arena talk about things
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and keep holding something out regarding many conflicts around madeorld that the -- that be is not achievable on the ground. i wonder what your observation is regarding that. rabin, regarded universally as the architect of the two state solution and who gave his life in pursuit of that two state solution, he himself said his vision was either for state minus. something like that. the challenges here are israel's security and the palestinians' quality of life. i don't know if the palestinian people at this juncture care more about the flag over the heads, who is leading them, as they care about reducing the unemployment rate down from an
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ungovernable level to a manageable level. decry heard palestinians their leadership and they are no friends of israel either. to the regionkey is economic empowerment and not political debates and that is , until i am proven wrong, which could be soon, i would work to try to improve the economic levels. chairman corker: i absolutely think that is something that needs to occur. in my last trip there, speaking to the prime minister in ramallah, i would say that was the focus. the flipside is that you have settlements and you have to have security around those settlements. it is difficult to do commerce in between. let us face it -- it is more than partisan. i am not --
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criticizing, just observing, that it is very difficult to do commerce when you are dealing with that. so, again, what would be a better way of describing the state there because a ,hat has ad infinitum, forever sort of military for realistic security measures has the military of another country in it, what would we call that? "state minus" is not a particularly good description. we use talk about this, rhetoric that i'm beginning to believe is unrealistic rhetoric. and i do not know if it is useful. in getting to a solution when you are describing some that to me is becoming more and more unrealistic for many reasons. i am not casting blame. mr. friedman: candidly, senator,
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i do not have a good answer to your question and i do not have a good word to articulate a vision. it is an enormous challenge. -- ita big rubrics cube is a big rubrics cube that we all try to wrestle with every day. i tried to not make it worse, do no harm, and then try to make it better. that is the only advice i have right now. chairman corker: your response on the settlements indicates that. primee ask you this -- minister netanyahu has been clear on this for many years. you know israel well. do you think the vision of military presence in the west bank, forever, is the general view of the mainstream of the knesset there?
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mr. friedman: i think the control of the jordan valley is something that people on the left and the right agree upon. i think that is the single most important feature of any palestinian state. it does not mean it has to be military embedded within the communities or the tales but at the perimeter, i do believe that on the left and the right there is unanimity that there must be control of the perimeter. chairman corker: it seems to me that if that is the case, and i agree with you, i think that is the case, it seems to me that we are at a point in time when we ought to be discussing the future -- at least the future years anyway20-30 in a different way. i do not know exactly how to describe that either but it that in addition to having a partner that is not a real partner on the palestinian
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side, that there are -- there is a vision on the israeli side that is not fully compatible with what we would normally describe as a tuesday solution. again, it is just an observation. it seems to me that we would be as a world community to talk about it in terms that are different then we are talking about it right now. mr. friedman: senator, you heard the president yesterday use "a larger canvas." i have not had a chance to talk to him and flesh out those concepts but an open-minded commitment to peace up of all else and to improve quality of life is a step in the right direction. chairman corker: you have acquitted yourself well today. you have been here for many hours as has your family. we thank you for your
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willingness to serve. there will be additional questions coming from folks. we would like to keep the record open until friday. my sense is that you will want to answer those questions pretty probably. and without further questions, or comments, this meeting is adjourned. mr. friedman: thank you.
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>> since its official opening last september, the national museum of african american history and culture has welcomed over 750,000 visitors. tv on, american history c-span3, will take you inside for a live tour. a special look at the galleries and the exhibit telling the african-american story from slavery to the first african-american president. mary elliott and the curator will tour the -- will provide the tour. join us for an exclusive live visit inside the national museum of african american history and culture, live sunday beginning at 6:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3.


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