The White House on Tuesday announced that former State Department senior official Thomas Nides has been nominated to be the next US ambassador to Israel. This makes him the third consecutive Jewish American to serve in this position, following President Obama’s Dan Shapiro (2011-2017) and President Trump’s David Friedman (2017-2021).
Nides is the managing director and vice-chairman of Morgan Stanley. He served as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources under Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Nides is the son of Shirley and Arnold Nides from Duluth, Minnesota. His late father, who owned Nides Finance—a national consumer finance company, was president of the Duluth Temple Israel and the Duluth Jewish Federation.
Democratic Majority for Israel CEO Mark Mellman, the man credited with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid’s victory this year, said Nides is “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 US-Israel relationship make him a perfect choice to be America’s top diplomat in Israel.”
So, yes, if you expected President Joe Biden to appoint a Republican as his man in Jerusalem you’re probably disappointed. And according to Haaretz, J Street also congratulated Nides, saying he is the best qualified for the “highly sensitive and complex post,” a joyous statement that has “renewed peace process” written all over it. But that’s J Street’s politics and not necessarily what Joe Biden wants.
Like his former boss Hillary Clinton, Nides is probably the most pro-Israel senior Democrat on the scene these days, and his appointment shows Biden’s commitment to Israel’s security, more so than his anticipation of a new round of peace talks any time soon.
Danny Danon, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations and current chairman of the World Likud (currently an opposition party), told the Wall Street Journal that Nides is “very knowledgeable about the region,” adding, “We are looking forward to working with him on all the issues.” Well, it was back on May 28, before the big change.
Florida Congressman Ted Deutch, a Democrat, who was pushing former Florida Congressman Robert Wexler, also a Democrat, for the job in Jerusalem, 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 US-Israel relationship.”
Nides is also a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the former Chairman of the Board of the Woodrow Wilson Center (under Obama).