(UnitedVoice.com) – In July, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides left his position in the federal government. He’d served in the role since 2021. President Joe Biden has finally nominated someone to replace him. His new nominee is facing criticism for his past position on Israel.
On September 5, the White House announced that Biden had nominated former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to serve as the next US ambassador to Israel. During former President Barack Obama’s administration Lew, who is of Jewish descent, served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the president’s chief of staff. He also served as the OMB director during former President Bill Clinton’s administration.
Lew currently serves as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as chairman of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and is the co-president of the board of the National Library of Israel. He’s also a visiting professor at Columbia University and is a managing partner at a private equity firm, Lindsay Goldberg.
When it became apparent that Lew was in line to succeed Nides, The Times of Israel published a profile on him. According to the paper, the 68-year-old has supported Israel for a long time but has spoken out against the country’s policies in the past.
In 2016, Obama refused to veto a resolution before the United Nations Security Council that condemned the Israeli government for its settlements. Lew defended the position by claiming he didn’t think America should be the only thing “standing between [Israel] and condemnation.”
In 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech to the US Congress and spoke out against the Iranian nuclear deal, behind Obama’s back. Lew called the move a “huge mistake” saying the speech “wasn’t going to work” and accused the prime minister of perpetuating the belief that Israel is “partisan.”
Economist Morton Klein wrote an op-ed for The Jerusalem Post imploring lawmakers to reject Lew’s nomination. He said the nominee “has a history of insulting” the prime minister and will “further harm the US-Israel relationship.” Klein accused Lew of lying about the Iran nuclear deal when he served the Obama administration.
Lew’s nomination comes at a time when the Biden administration is trying to push Saudi Arabia to normalize relations with Israel. If confirmed, Lew would play a key role in those negotiations, and would likely have to work closely with Netanyahu, a man he has long disagreed with.
Normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia would give Israel a boost. However, the deal between the two countries won’t be easy. It’s left some wondering if Lew is really the best man for the job.
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