Thursday, March 10, 2011

Officially In: Daniel B. Shapiro to Tel Aviv

On March 9, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Daniel B. Shapiro to be Ambassador to Israel. The WH released the following brief bio:
Daniel B. Shapiro is currently Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa on the National Security Staff at the White House, a position he has held since January of 2009. Mr. Shapiro served as a Senior Policy Advisor with a focus on Middle East policy on the Obama for America campaign and the Obama-Biden Transition.  From 2007 to 2008, Mr. Shapiro was Vice President of Timmons and Company, and from 2001 to 2007, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.  Prior to that, Mr. Shapiro served as Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration. From 1995 to 1999, he was a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and from 1993 to 1995, he served as a Professional Staff Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr. Shapiro holds an M.A. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Brandeis University.
President Barack Obama talks with members of his Middle East Policy team, including
from right, George Mitchell, special envoy for Middle East Peace;
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Dennis Ross, senior director for the Central Region;
and Dan Shapiro, senior director for the Middle East, in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Note: Leftmost person in the photo with back to the camera is Jeffrey Feltman,
the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Near East Asia Affairs)
Additional bio below from the Jewish Federations of North America:
Daniel B. Shapiro is deputy chief of staff and legislative director for Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida).  He is a foreign policy specialist with particular expertise in the Middle East.  Previously, Mr. Shapiro was director for legislative affairs at the National Security Council, serving as Congressional liaison for National Security Adviser Sandy Berger.  He served from 1995 to 1999 as legislative assistant and senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), and from 1993-1995 as a professional staff member on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East, under Chairman Lee Hamilton (D-Indiana).  He previously worked for the State Department at the U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Shapiro's direct phone number in the White House is reportedly on speed dial for most Jewish leaders. If confirmed, Mr. Shapiro would replaced career diplomat, James B. Cunningham who arrived on August 2008 as US ambassador to Israel. He would only be the second non-career ambassador to Israel since 1975.  The first was Martin S. Indyk, who was ambassador to Israel from 1995 to 1997 and again, from 2000 to 2001.

Related item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

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