Biden Makes His Pick for Israel Ambassador

YERUSHALAYIM -
U.S. President Joe Biden walks from Marine One to a motorcade after a weekend trip to Camp David at the Ellipse near the White House. (REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger)

Tom Nides, the managing director and vice chairman of Morgan Stanley, has accepted U.S. President Joe Biden’s nomination to be his ambassador to Israel, according to media reports on Tuesday.

Nides, 59, served as deputy secretary of state for management and resources under Hillary Clinton from 2011 to 2013.

The appointment, as yet not publicly announced by the White House, will require confirmation in the Senate, though no serious opposition is expected.

Nides nosed out former Congressman Robert Wexler, who reportedly had the backing of a number of senior Democrats and Jewish organizations. Nides, had close ties with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and former president Barak Obama going for him. The nominee was born to a Jewish family in Duluth, Minnesota.

As deputy secretary of state, he was said to have been instrumental in the Obama administration’s approval of an extension on loan guarantees for Israel worth billions of dollars, The Times of Israel said.

It also noted that he also helped carry out Obama’s policy against Congressional efforts to limit support for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNWRA) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In 2012, he argued against legislation that sought to distinguish between Palestinians displaced by the creation of Israel in 1948 and those refugees who are their descendants, reducing the number of refugees from 5 million to just 30,000.

Nides wrote in a letter to Congress to do so would undermine American ability to act as a peace mediator, “and generate very strong negative reaction from the Palestinians and our allies in the region, particularly Jordan.”

Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren described Nides to the Times as a friend of Israel and a “very funny guy.”