Protesters Continuously Disrupt Friedman Hearing
BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer
On Thursday morning, the United State Senate held a hearing to vote on whether David Friedman will become the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Friedman, who was President Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer for 15 years, has a long history of funding Israel’s illegal settlements program and advocating far-right views on the conflict.
Anti-Freedman protesters attended the meeting to encourage Senators to vote against Friedman’s appointment. There were multiple disruptions at the beginning of his hearing.
The first came from a Palestinian man who proclaimed: “Mr. Friedman also said that Palestinian refugees don’t have a claim to the land; that they don’t have a connection to Palestine, when in fact they do, Mr. Friedman. I’m right here, Mr. Friedman.”
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) February 16, 2017
Soon, the man was being kicked out by Capitol Hill police, but he continued speaking on his way out, bellowing, “My grandfather was exiled, was kicked out by the state of Israel, Mr. Friedman and I’m right here Mr. Friedman holding up the Palestinian flag. Right behind you.”
As he was leaving the Senate room, the Palestinian protestor said, “We are not going away, Mr. Friedman. We were there. We are there now. And we will always be there. Palestinians will always be Palestine.”
Just moments after, another protestor stood up, also holding the Palestinian flag, saying, “Mr. Friedman is supporting the theft of Palestinian land. Mr. Friedman is living comfortably in a five-story building in a settlement in the West Bank.”
As Capitol Hill police began escorting the protestor out, he continued, “Mr. Friedman supports annexation policies and expansion of the West Bank. Support Palestinian lives.”
Without hesitation, a female protester stood up right after, claiming, “Israeli occupation is an injustice against Palestinians and a moral crisis for American Jews who stand against occupation and against Friedman.”
“Senators, if you send this man to Israel. there are millions of Palestinians and Israelis and American Jews who stand against this man. We stand for freedom and dignity for all,” said a fifth protester, who was escorted out singing a Jewish hymn.
— Rafael Shimunov 💬 (@rafaelshimunov) February 16, 2017
Before Friedman could continue speaking again, a Shofar was blown and a Jewish protester with the group If Not Now proclaimed that he was with American Jews against the occupation. Before also being escorted out, the protester declared, “David Friedman, you promote racism, fund illegal settlements. We will not be silenced. You do not represent us and you will never represent us.”
After all three disruptions, David Friedman did not react in the slightest. He did not turn his head, change facial expression, or skip a word in his pre-written speech. Friedman simply returned to his notes and kept going.
Along with the vocal protesters were silent supporters from CODEPINK, who attended the hearing bearing t-shirts reading “Stop Settlements”.
— CODEPINK (@codepink) February 16, 2017
At least six protesters were arrested at the hearing.
For three months, newspapers around the country have been warning President Trump against Friedman. The lawyer has no diplomatic experience, once referred to President Obama as an anti-Semite, referred to all Palestinians as “radical Islamic terrorists,” opposes the two-state solution, and once called American Jews who advocate for peace as kapos (Jewish prisoners who worked for Nazis).
As a result of his open bigotry, Arab and Jewish American groups have been urging their supporters to call their Senators and ask them to vote against the appointment of Friedman.