Politico‘s Laura Rozen has the scoop that National Security Council Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa Dan Shapiro will be moving to Tel Aviv to serve as the next US Ambassador to Israel.
This is a big shift and one wonders who will succeed Shapiro at the NSC desk and whether Obama is thinking that having Shapiro right there in Israel will help soften up Bibi Netanyahu.
The combination of Shapiro’s close working relationship with President, Tom Donilon, Denis McDonough and Ben Rhodes may mean that Shapiro may be more than the normal Ambassador who has to process through State Department bureaucracy and cables — but rather be a direct guy on the line for Obama wrestling with the Israeli government.
Very good move in my view. I have had the privilege of knowing Dan since the mid-1990s when he was Senator Dianne Feinstein’s brain on foreign policy, and he has always impressed me.
Rozen writes about Shapiro:
Shapiro has been one of Obama’s closest Middle East advisers, and one who uniquely seems to get along well with everyone. The President trusts Shapiro, who has worked closely with National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security adviser Denis McDonough, the NSC’s top Iran and regional strategist Dennis Ross, as well as Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, and has a good rapport with Congress, where he previously served as a staffer. Shapiro also has good ties with the Jewish community, having served as a key White House point of contact for the Jewish community, and helped head up Jewish outreach for the Obama campaign.
Shapiro, who speaks fluent Hebrew, also has good ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and has accompanied Mitchell on countless shuttle diplomacy trips in the region.
We’ll see what other chairs move around — but this one is good for the mission of ‘eventually’ getting to yes on an Israel-Palestine deal.
— Steve Clemons