US envoy Nides says claims that US is funding protests in Israel are ‘absurd’

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides speaks at an event in Jerusalem on February 19, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides speaks at an event in Jerusalem on February 19, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides says it is “absurd” to claim that the United States was pushing and funding anti-government protests in Israel.

“That’s absurd, absurd… we’ve had nothing to do with these protests, this is a democracy, people are coming out and speaking both for and against reform,” Nides says in an interview with Channel 12 news filmed earlier today, calling a far-right claim that the CIA has been involved, “absolutely ridiculous.”

Nides says “we applaud” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to halt the overhaul legislation for talks, and “we are anxious to see how President Herzog’s team comes together and negotiates some compromise that we hope we all can embrace.”

He declines to confirm that the US was exerting heavy pressure on Netanyahu to pause the legislation, saying only that “friends talk to each other all the time.”

Nides says that there is “still more work to do” in order to finalize Israel’s entry into the US Visa Waiver Program, but that “we are going to get this done on behalf of the Israeli people… my hope is by September.”

Asked when Netanyahu will be visiting Washington and meeting US President Joe Biden, Nides says “he will obviously be coming at some point, and hopefully somewhat soon.”

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