June 16, 2021 In The News

Haaretz: Democrats, Jewish Groups Welcome Tom Nides as Biden’s Pick for Israel Ambassador

Democratic officials and Jewish organizations welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to nominate Tom Nides as U.S. ambassador to Israel, expressing optimism that he can help bolster U.S.-Israel ties with the new Bennett-Lapid government in place.

J Street congratulated Nides, saying that it believes he has the necessary experience to take up this “highly sensitive and complex post.” The pro-Israel, left-wing organization said it looks forward to hearing from Nides how he believes the United States can best act to create a more just, equitable and peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Democratic Majority for Israel CEO Mark Mellman called him “a wonderful man whom I’ve had the honor to know for decades. His deep experience in the State Department, his outstanding diplomatic skills, broad policy knowledge, and his deep commitment to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship make him a perfect choice to be America’s top diplomat in Israel.”

Mellman, who is also a senior advisor to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, noted that Nides worked closely with Israeli officials while serving as deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration, and that he was highly regarded as an advocate for Israel’s security. Mellman also urged his confirmation. Nides is expected to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at some point over the next several weeks.

Rep. Ted Deutch said he was “pleased that President Biden has nominated Tom Nides as Ambassador to Israel. With a new Israeli government now installed, there is much work to be done between our two countries. I look forward to working with Mr. Nides to advance the U.S-Israel relationship.” Deutch had previously backed former Rep. Robert Wexler for the position.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro congratulated his “good friend,” saying Nides is “a great choice,” adding that “he will do it with skill and charm.” Shapiro has been rumored to be under consideration for a separate diplomatic role relating to the Middle East at large.

Americans for Peace Now also congratulated Nides, wishing him luck at his confirmation hearing and saying it looked forward to working with him. Israel Policy Forum too urged a swift confirmation for “this well-qualified nominee, so he can get to work on a realistic reset of American policy in this critical moment.”

The progressive IfNotNow Movement urged Nides to “forgo the business-as-usual approach to Israeli policies denying Palestinian rights — like settlement expansion, the blockade on Gaza and demolishing Palestinian homes — and work towards a just future.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. and UN, Gilad Erdan, said he looks forward to working with Nides on issues including expanding the circle of peace in the Middle East, the Israeli-U.S. partnership on the fight against climate change and COVID-19 and countering global antisemitism, as well as continuing dialogue on Iran and Hamas.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who represents Nides’ native state of Minnesota, noted that they have been friends since they met as college interns for then-Vice President Walter Mondale.

She detailed Nides’ career path from saving a fog horn for the City of Duluth to leadership positions at the State Department, where he “distinguished himself as a key voice on Israel and an advocate for humanitarian support for U.S. allies.” She added that “now more than ever, we need an ambassador committed to fostering enduring peace and stability.”

The Alliance for Middle East Peace said it looked forward to working closely with Nides on the implementation of the Nita Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act and on U.S.-led efforts to expand multilateral support for peace building. U.S. lawmakers and experts have been increasingly urging the White House to take advantage of the already authorized and widely supported bipartisan tool.

Various countries have additionally expressed eagerness to establish an international fund for Israeli-Palestinian peace, though the Biden administration opted not to push for this at the recent G7 summit.

Nides has years of experience on both Wall Street and Capitol Hill and has been lauded for his ability to manage and navigate complex diplomatic and bureaucratic situations.

His appointment signals that the Biden administration has a clear vision on how to engage with the Middle East, and that they believe Nides’ multipronged experience as a manager in both the public and private sectors makes him the appropriate choice for this delicate moment after weeks of violence called into question the administration’s previous posture toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.