US Ambassador Tom Nides’ treatment of Israel and its internal politics is starting to be reminiscent of the treatment of Egyptian affairs by a succession of British ambassadors in Cairo: from 1882, until they were expelled from the country in 1952, the Brits called the shots in Egypt, including imposing martial law in 1921. In mid-February, Ambassador Nides offered the Biden administration’s version of calling the shots for Jerusalem: speaking on CNN’s podcast The Axe Files with David Axelrod, Nides literally referred to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his minister as children, telling the former Obama advisor: “We’re telling the prime minister – as I tell my kids – ‘pump the brakes, slow down, try to build a consensus, bring the parties together.”
Nides was offering his sage advice to Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, ostensibly based on his life in Duluth, Minnesota, where his father was a banker and the president of Temple Israel, and Nides’ own career as an adviser to the Fritz Mondale presidential campaign.
Inappropriate? Quite possibly. But was that Nide’s most embarrassing cameo appearance on Israel’s news channels? Not anymore.
In response to that patronizing statement, Diaspora Minister Amichai Chikli (Likud) told Nides via Reshet Bet Radio: “You should pump your own breaks, and mind your own business.” He said the last part in English, so the ambassador would understand.
On Tuesday, Nides used the opportunity of his interview before a live audience at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, to declare (I kid you not): “I really think that most Israelis do not want America to stay out of their business.”
He then explained: “Some Israeli official – I don’t know who he is, I don’t think I’ve met him – suggested that I should stay out of Israel’s business.”
If Nides was working for me and confessed his ignorance about Chikli, the MK who brought down almost singlehandedly the Lapid government by going rogue for 18 months, and also has regular dealings with US authorities as Israel’s Diaspora Minister, I’d make him give me ten on the spot, then look for an ambassador who knew – preferably not Jewish. Has the State Dept. run out of goyim?
Chikli also told Nides via Reshet Bet a week ago: “You are not the sovereign here, to get involved in the matter of judicial reform. We will be happy to discuss foreign and security matters with you, but you should respect our democracy.”
The graveyards are full of people who appealed to the US to respect their democracy.
On Tuesday night, Chikli tweeted, in English, so Nides would receive a copy and be able to read: “The US is our closest ally and a beacon of democracy. I’m confident it will stand by our conviction that Israeli citizens should run their own affairs and enjoy – in the words of Thomas Jefferson –‘״a government that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.’”
The US is our closest ally and a beacon of democracy. I'm confident it will stand by our conviction that Israeli citizens should run their own affairs and enjoy – in the words of Thomas Jefferson – ״a government that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed״.
— עמיחי שיקלי – Amichai Chikli (@AmichaiChikli) February 28, 2023
Alon Ronen, one of a small group of Israeli media personalities who have held on to their sanity in recent months, retweeted an interview the incoming US Ambassador Tom Nides gave Kan 11, where he stated: “I am not in Israel to interfere in Israel’s legal process. The people of Israel do not want moral preaching from America. It is not the business of the US to interfere in legal issues that the people of Israel are dealing with.”
נראה שטום ניידס שכח דברים שהוא אמר ממש לא מזמן בראיון ל@kann_news:
“אני לא נמצא בישראל כדי להתערב בתהליך המשפטי של ישראל. העם בישראל לא רוצה הטפות מוסר מאמריקה. זה לא עניינה של ארה”ב” להתערב בסוגיות משפטיות שהעם בישראל מתמודד איתן”. pic.twitter.com/Rv0CgRbDM0
— אלון רונן (@Ronen2022) February 28, 2023
Tom Nides should totally heed the advice of Tom Nides and shut up.