Former Obama Ambassador to Israel Mocks ‘Heavy Breathing’ About Jerusalem Decision: ‘I Don’t Think It’s That Big of a Deal’
Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro criticized the hysteria over President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday, saying he didn’t think it was “that big of a deal.”
Shapiro served during the Obama administration from 2011 until Obama left office in 2017.
Trump made the announcement about Jerusalem on Wednesday and also directed the State Department to begin plans to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The plan was heavily criticized by former Obama administration officials who warned it could inflame tensions in Middle East, and Palestinians and other Arab leaders have warned of possible resulting violence.
However, Shapiro took a different tone when asked about the decision by CNN’s Jake Tapper, who pointed out the promise to move the embassy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a political promise that had been made by candidates of both American political parties.
“I assume you don’t think this was a smart move. Why not? This is a promise that every presidential candidate makes,” Tapper said. “What’s the big deal?”
“In fact, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Shapiro said.
“Oh, you don’t,” Tapper said in apparent surprise.
“There’s a lot of heavy breathing about it, but it’s neither the end of all efforts to achieve all Middle East peace, nor is it the second coming of Harry Truman recognizing Israel when it was established in 1948,” he said. “Essentially, the president did recognize a reality.”
Shapiro said as ambassador, he got in his car every day and drove from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to conduct state business there, and he said it was appropriate to have the U.S, embassy there. Shapiro was critical of elements of Trump’s handling and timing of the decision.