Senate confirms Jack Lew as ambassador to Israel, over Republican pushback

Jack Lew, a Treasury secretary under former President Barack Obama, advanced 12-9 out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a mostly partisan vote this month. | Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Senate confirmed Jack Lew as the U.S. ambassador to Israel in a largely party line vote Tuesday, installing a permanent envoy to the country as its war against Hamas rages on in Gaza.

Lew was approved 53-43 — a tight tally reminiscent of the Senate’s narrow vote in 2017 to confirm then-President Donald Trump’s pick, David Friedman. U.S. ambassadors to Israel, a country that has long enjoyed strong bipartisan support in Congress, have traditionally been approved by voice vote or through unanimous consent.

“Jacob Lew is eminently qualified to serve in this post. He has extensive experience. He has the political acumen that we need for our ambassador at this time. He has the respect of the Israeli officials,” Cardin said in a floor speech ahead of the vote. headtopics.com

Cardin accused Lew’s Republican opponents of using his nomination to double down on their opposition to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Lew had a role in. Lew, a Treasury secretary under former President Barack Obama, advanced 12-9 out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a mostly partisan vote this month. The committee’s top Republican, Sen.“This is the wrong person, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. We should vote ‘no’ and support Israel” Risch said in a Senate floor speech ahead of the vote.

During his confirmation hearing, Lew denied accusations by Republicans that he secretly gave Iran access to U.S. financial markets, saying, “my actions are what kept them from getting full access to the world financial system.” He also made clear that in Tehran, he believes the U.S. is dealing with “an evil, malign government that funds its evil and malign activities first.” headtopics.com

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