Daniel B. Shapiro
| Daniel B. Shapiro |
Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||Washington University, Brandeis University, Harvard University|
|Member of||WestExec Advisors|
Daniel B. Shapiro is a longtime political operative in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, particularly with Democratic members of Congress. Shapiro worked briefly at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration under Sandy Berger. He then worked first as legislative advisor and then deputy chief (mostly on foreign policy issues) to Rep. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).
Shapiro was US ambassador to Israel between 2011 and 2017.
Dan Shapiro was born to a Jewish family in Champaign, Illinois, one of four children of novelist Elizabeth Klein Shapiro and University of Illinois English professor emeritus Michael Shapiro. He graduated from the University Laboratory High School in 1986. He first entered Washington University in St. Louis, spending his sophomore year in Israel, and then transferred to Brandeis University, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in 1991 in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Two years later he earned a master's degree in Middle Eastern Politics from Harvard University.
He is touted as: "... a foreign policy specialist with particular expertise in the Middle East."  While Shapiro was advisor to Bill Nelson, Nelson co-sponsored legislation with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to restrict US contacts with Palestinians, to criminalize Middle Eastern groups, and to torpedo the Dubai-Port Authority deal, where the Dubai company was to manage 6 US ports.
Working for Obama
In 2007, Shapiro emerged as an advisor/strategist ("work on Middle East issues and Jewish outreach") for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, at the same time as he was named vice president of Timmons and Company, a Washington D.C. lobbying firm with cable-industry clients.   Shapiro's ascendance coincided with Obama's emphasis on proving his pro-Israel credentials in the form of several speeches to Jewish audiences; Obama also delivered a major speech at the 2007 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference.  James D. Besser writing for the Jewish Week outlines the effect Shapiro's recruitment will have:
- With millions of campaign dollars at stake as well as votes in a handful of key primary states, the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is poised to dramatically increase its Jewish outreach. That includes the recruitment of top Jewish donors and advisers, and an expected major speech on Israel and the Middle East that a Democratic insider said “will set the baseline and establish Sen. Obama as a reliable, strong supporter of Israel.” 
Using Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's own aircraft
In September 2011, Robert Fisk, the renowned journalist, commented on the Palestinian bid to gain recognition at the United Nations. The United States lobbied hard to sabotage this effort and threatened to veto the measure when it would come to the Security Council. Fisk asks: "How come, let's ask, that the US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, flew from Tel Aviv to New York for the statehood debate on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's own aircraft?"
- Ambassador Dan Shapiro AllGov, accessed April 12, 2016
- 'Obama's AIPAC speech (text as prepared for delivery)', Sun-Times website, 2 March, 2007
- James D. Besser, Obama Set For Big Jewish Push, Jewish Week, 16 February, 2007.
- Robert Fisk, A President who is helpless in the face of Middle East reality, The Independent, 23 September 2011.