Dan Shapiro to Be Obama’s New Israel Ambassador
In a sign that Pres. Obama is rewarding those who devised the inert policy he’s adopted toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Haaretz reports that the new U.S. ambassador to Israel will be Dan Shapiro. During the presidential election campaign, Shapiro ran a good operation on his candidate’s behalf in the Jewish community. He fought back vigorously and effectively against the smears levelled by the Republican Jewish Committee and other right-wing political operatives. And Obama won the Jewish vote decisively, which spoke well for Shapiro’s skills.
However, after the election Shapiro became one of the president’s chief advisors regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict serving in a senior National Security Council post. As such, Shapiro, Dennis Ross, and others in the administration known for their closeness to Israel must take the lion’s share of the blame for his failed policy.
What this new post indicates is that Obama is rewarding his subordinates for their failure. Shapiro gets the big promotion and now gets to carry water for Israel as our new ambassador there. What new policy ideas does he bring to the table? What indication is there that he’s willing to do what it takes to knock heads together and bring a dose of reality to Bibi Netanyahu’s government? I don’t see any.
Come the next war, do you see Shapiro playing any vigorous role to bring Israel to heel? Or will he merely be carrying messages from his friends in the Israeli government to the administration back home? We don’t need water carriers, we need honest brokers willing to speak toughly and fairly. We need someone more like an independent-minded George Mitchell and less like a beholden Dennis Ross.
25 thoughts on “Dan Shapiro to Be Obama’s New Israel Ambassador – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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The real question is whether Shapiro will be the US’s ambassador to Israel or AIPAC’s ambassador to Israel.
Has there ever been a non-jewish US ambassador to Israel, and if so, what was the political result? Was it better than usual, or was it worse?
Has there ever been a Jewish ambassador to an Arab or Muslim country? If so what was the result?
I think it’s called racism to approve or disapprove of a diplomatic appointment on the grounds of the religious affiliation of the appointee.
I was just wondering about the number of Israeli Arab ambassadors of Israel. Can you enlighten me? Because I completely agree with you – of course – that no discrimination based on religion should be allowed…
Probably none. They might appoint one or 2 to Third World countries, but I even doubt that.
Discrimination is allways a crime, not only by religious reasons!
He’s not “Obama’s ambassador” as stated in the title of the article, he’s the US ambassador, he represents the state and not the administration.
This makes no sense. Of course he represents the administration as it appoints him & he’s one of Barack’s boys.
The sense of my question was to ask for, wether it is helpful to have an ambassador who is linked to the culture, the religion and probably the language of his host-country or not? To take an average US-citizen would be more complicated in the day-to-day-business, more things to explain in details probably, and the risk to be by-passed by lobbies like AIPAC?
In fact, most ambassadors of the United States to Israel have WASP or Catholic (?) origins (according to the family names)
There’s only Martin Indyk (2000-2001) and Daniel Kurtzer (2001-2005) being Jewish.
The present US ambassador to Morocco is Samuel L. Kaplan, there was a ‘Ginsburg’ in the 1990’s, Jeffrey Feltman in Libanon (2004-2008) and Daniel Kurtzer to Egypt (1997-2001).
George Mitchell would never be appointed to Israel. Don’t forget he’s got Lebanese roots 😉 though it would be a really courageous step, an American of Palestinian origin would be an even stronger sign.
“…In fact, most ambassadors of the United States to Israel have WASP or Catholic (?) origins (according to the family names)…”
Recently, I was visiting an old jewish grave yard. Remembering the names on the stones, as “normal” german names. There is no way, at least in my opinion, to recognice jews by their family names. There may have existed regional differences, because names had been forced on them in the past, sometimes no nice names, but generally there is no difference to german names…
In the 1960s there was a footballer who played for Fulham United in England by the name of George Cohen, and he was as “goyshe” as they come – with no known Jewish connection.
Names may have worked decades ago to help identify ashkenazi Jews who emmigrated or were expelled from Europe, but nowdays it’s a very crude method.
You’re right, but McDonald is hardly Jewish 🙂 I looked through the list, and checked some of the names. I know that most German names are used by both Jews and non-Jews. Oliver Kahn is not Jewish, but there’s a famous Jewish Kahn-family in France, originating in Alsace/Elsass.
Olli Kahn, the former german national teams soccer-keeper, is coming from Baden, the german border region to Alsace, just from the other side of the river Rhine ;-))
Jewish or not, apart from some famous “blackouts” an excellent, probably the best german keeper ever?
Nah, I’ve never liked that guy. Arrogant, wasn’t he ? Sepp Maier was better. But best of all: 1986: Argentina 3 – Deutschland 2. Hahaha.
There are generally “Jewish” names and non-Jewish of Germanic/Polish origin. The generalizations don’t always hold but often do.
I have read that Israel and/or AIPAC has/have virtual veto power over the appointment of U.S. ambassadors to five nations: Israel, Lebanon, Morocco and two others. I can’t remember these other two for certain. Egypt? Turkey? Jordan? Syria?
This may be a bit off subject, but why, Dickerson, do you represent yourself with that smirking photo of GWB? Does he represent your true ideology, or might you be mocking us?
You can all rest assured that Obama, or any other president, wouldn’t appoint an ambassador to any country without the approval of respective lobbies concerned. I have personally known too many of them (Americans and Brits) in Europe to think that any are independent or make policy decisions on their own.
Ambassadors to any country are usually “friendly” to that country, and any country has the right to deny cedentials to the incoming ambassador if it feels that the appointee is critical of its policies or existance, or actually without even giving a reason. This is diplomacy. No country will deliberately provoke by sending a known antagonist, that would be a diplomatic faux pas.
It’s interesting that you would see an ambassador willing to be independent, strong & fair as a “known antagonist.” There have been Jewish ambassadors who weren’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers in the Israeli gov’t. And they weren’t “antagonists” for doing so. In fact, they had Israel’s best long term interests at heart. Though a rightist Israeli gov’t wouldn’t see it that way. I strongly doubt Dan Shapiro will be such an ambassador.
Sure. The current ambassador, James Cunningham isn’t Jewish. If the ambassador was Jewish & prepared to be an honest broker, it could prove to be a potent asset.
Shapiro is the wrong target for this question – you’d have to ask if there’s any indication that Obama is willing to do all these things. All right, I can’t see any either, but that can’t be laid at the feet of a designated ambassador. It will be his job to sell policy made in DC and to report back there, not to push his boss in this or that direction. Why would Obama, or any president, appoint a diplomat, expecting him to single-handedly change foreign policy by 180°?
What exactly has George Mitchell accomplished as special envoy to the Middle East, Richard? What could he accomplish if he were named amb. to Israel instead of Shapiro?
Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!
WordPress.org. For someone who hasn’t had much experience blogging I’d highly recommend WordPress.com.