The White House announced the nomination of Thomas Nides on Tuesday as the US ambassador to Israel. Nides must still make it through his Senate confirmation hearing. And although he is a lesser-known figure than other previous ambassadors, no significant opposition is expected for his appointment.
But Nides does have a history of hostility towards Israel.
Serving as the deputy secretary of state under former US President Obama, the former Israeli ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, recalls Nides as a politician expressing hostility towards Israel while supporting ex-Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government.
In his book ‘Ally’, Oren expounds on his encounter with Nides who chastised the former for pushing to defund UN bodies that were anti-Israel:
Even if the Security Council rejected the Palestinians’ bid, other UN bodies might not. In that case, long-standing congressional legislation mandated the immediate closure of the PLO’s Washington office, the cessation of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority, and the defunding of any UN agency that recognized Palestine. Israel strongly endorsed all three repercussions, which the White House just as vehemently opposed.“You don’t want the f***king UN to collapse because of your fucking conflict with the Palestinians, and you don’t want the fucking Palestinian Authority to fall apart either,” Deputy Secretary Tom Nides warned me at the State Department.
Most challenging to explain to Israelis was Obama’s support for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Contrary to the assurances I had received that the administration would not engage the Islamist movement, the State Department formally initiated ties with Brotherhood leaders in January 2012. Six months later, after the election of the movement’s leader, Mohammed Morsi, to the presidency—by just over 51 percent of the vote—those contracts became an embrace. Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides led a delegation of one hundred American businessman to Cairo to shore up the new government financially. Jay Carney, meanwhile, labored to cover up for Morsi’s statements denouncing Obama as a Zionist and vilifying Jews as warmongers, apes, and pigs. “U.S. policy is focused on actions, not words,” the press secretary said. The fact that Morsi rejected any contacts with Israel’s government and openly supported the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing, Hamas, did not prevent the White House from inviting him for an official visit.