Protesters repeatedly interrupt hearing for Donald Trump's Israel ambassador pick

Demonstration comes as bankruptcy lawyer is grilled by committee senators over support for Jewish settlements

Peter Walker
Friday 17 February 2017 23:27 GMT
Protesters disrupt hearings for Israeli ambassador nominee

Donald Trump’s nominee for US ambassador to Israel was repeatedly interrupted and heckled by protesters during his confirmation hearing.

One demonstrator waved a Palestinian flag behind David Friedman’s back as he was delivering his statement, shouting “Palestinians will always be in Palestine”, and four more followed.

The former bankruptcy lawyer, and long-time friend of the US President, was grilled by senators during the three-hour hearing over his position on Jewish settlement building.

"Mr Friedman also said that Palestinian refugees don’t have a claim to the land, don’t have a connection to Palestine, when in fact they do,” said the protester, who was eventually bundled out of the room.

“My grandfather was exiled, was kicked out by the state of Israel… Palestinians will always be in Palestine.”

A second young demonstrator shouted “you will never represent us” as security ushered him away.

Mr Friedman has publicly backed Jewish settlement building, said Jews who back two states are worse than Nazi collaborators, and advocated the annexation of the West Bank, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets Theresa May

The 58-year-old son of a rabbi, who has said he would move the Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has also branded Barack Obama an anti-Semite and called Jewish senate leader Chuck Schumer an "appeaser".

Ben Cardin, a senior Democrat on the committee, said: “Frankly, the language you have regularly used against those who disagree with your views has me concerned about your preparedness to enter the world of diplomacy.”

Tom Udall, another Democrat, said: “We need a steady hand in the Middle East, not a bomb thrower.”

Mr Friedman said he regretted the “use of such language”.

Mr Trump said he was "open" to a one-state solution on Wednesday, while flanked by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but simultaneously urged his counterpart to curb settlement construction.

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