Sen. Josh Hawley (R- Missouri) on Tuesday blocked a move by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee for Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, by unanimous consent. Nides was one of eight nominees blocked by Sen. Hawley, who did not explain the reason for his objections.
Missouri was the birthplace of President Harry S. Truman, who was the first world leader to recognize the newly born State of Israel on May 14, 1948, eleven minutes after it declared itself a nation.
But denying the president his ambassador to Israel may be a signal of Republican disapproval of the administration’s Israeli policy, including the plans to violate Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem by opening a consulate there that would serve only residents of the Palestinian Authority; and the attacks of the Biden administration on Israeli plans for some 3,000 new homes in the settlements, only about a thousand of which are designated for the near future.
Thomas Richard Nides would be the third consecutive Jewish ambassador representing the US in Israel. The youngest of eight children, Nides grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, to his mother Shirley and his father Arnold who was president of the local Temple Israel and the Duluth Jewish Federation.
Three Republicans objected to Nides’ nomination in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Bill Hagerty. Sen. Hagerty (R-TN) in late October introduced a bill that would block the Biden’s plan to reopen “a US consulate for the Palestinians that divides Jerusalem.” Endorsed by 36 Republican senators, the “Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021 (S.3063)” aims to “protect the full and faithful implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and block the Biden Administration’s efforts to subvert the law.”
The Republican’s block now forces Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to run the nomination through the Senate with debates and a voice vote, which would be an opportunity for pro-Israel Senators—perhaps not only Republicans—to express their objections to the administration’s generally cool treatment of Israel.
A frustrated Sen. Menendez reacted to Hawley’s move saying, “So we will have no ambassador in Israel as we deal with the challenges of Iran and others in the region. It is mind-boggling all of those who get up here and talk about our ally the State of Israel, but we won’t have an ambassador there to help us meet the challenges that Israel faces.”
We hear you brother, but what if one of the challenges Israel faces is – you?