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Biden nominates Thomas Nides as ambassador to Israel 

June 16, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Thomas Nides in Washington, DC on 20 December 2012 [Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

US President Joe Biden appointed Thomas Nides as the country’s next ambassador to Israel, the White House announced in a statement yesterday.

Nides, 60, is vice chairman of Morgan Stanley, the fourth-largest US investment banking firm and has previously served as deputy secretary of state from 2011 to 2013 during the administration of former President Barack Obama.

“Thomas Nides is a distinguished public servant and business leader,” the White House said in a statement. “Nides was Chief of Staff to the US Trade Representative Micky Kantor, was Senior Advisor to Speaker of the House Thomas S. Foley, and earlier to House Majority Whip Tony Coelho,” the announcement reads.

“He is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the former Chairman of the Board of the Woodrow Wilson Center appointed by President Obama. Nides received his B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota. He is the recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award,” it adds.

Born in 1961 to a Jewish family in Duluth, Minnesota, his father, Arnold Nides, was the president of Temple Israel and the Duluth Jewish Federation.

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As deputy secretary of state, Nides built effective working relationships with several Israeli officials and played a key role in the Obama administration’s approval of an extension on loan guarantees for Israel worth billions of dollars in military aid, including funding for the Iron Dome missile defence system.

In 2012, Nides articulated the Obama administration’s opposition to an effort to redefine Palestinian refugees as only people who were forced to leave Palestine in and around 1948 – excluding their descendants.

“United States policy has been consistent for decades, in both Republican and Democratic administrations – final status issues can and must only be resolved between Israelis and Palestinians in direct negotiations,” Nides said in a letter to congressional leaders at the time.

“The Department of State cannot support legislation which would force the United States to make a public judgment on the number and status of Palestinian refugees.”

His appointment now needs to be confirmed by the Senate, but no opposition is expected.