Democratic Presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that if he were elected President he would not move the United States Embassy back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem.
The decision to relocate the Embassy honored bipartisan Congressional requirements first passed into law over 20 years ago in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which were subsequently reinforced in multiple bipartisan motions – most recently in Summer of 2017.
“I think what’s done is done,” Buttigieg said in an interview with Axios on HBO. “Look, we need a big-picture strategy on the Middle East,” he elaborated. “I don’t know that we gain much by moving it to Tel Aviv.”
While Buttigieg slammed the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he expressed strong solidarity with Israel and its alliance with the United States. The mayor has defended Israel on multiple occasions in the past and has strongly rejected condemnation of the Jewish State by other progressive lawmakers.
In January, he rebuked comments made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar that compared Israel with Iran, saying the remarks were “just wrong.” Buttigieg, a married gay man, stressed: “People like me get strung up in Iran.”
In May 2018, the mayor visited Israel as part of a delegation led by the American Jewish Committee and, upon his return, described the Jewish State as a role model for the United States in the field of security.
“Seeing the way that a country can be on the one hand very intentional, very serious, and very effective when it comes to security and on the other hand not allowing concerns about security to dominate your consciousness,” Buttigieg said. “I think that’s a very important lesson that hopefully Americans can look to when we think about how to navigate a world that unfortunately has become smaller and more dangerous for all of us,” he added.
He also emphasized that the hardship suffered by the Palestinian people is the fault of Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization which exercises complete political and military control over the area, as well as the lack of a unified Palestinian leadership.