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Summary

Peter Buttigieg was born in 1982 and is the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. On March 1, 2020 Mr. Buttigieg announced that he was dropping out of the presidential race.

Pete Buttigieg was first elected mayor of South Bend in 2011 and reelected in 2015. Prior to running for mayor, he ran for State Treasurer of Indiana in 2010, winning the Democratic nomination, but losing the general election. In 2017, Buttigieg was a candidate to become Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but he withdrew from the race on election day. In late 2018, Buttigieg announced that he would not run for a third mayoral term.

Mayor Buttigieg served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. As mayor, he took a leave of absence in 2014 to serve in Afghanistan for a seven-month deployment. He remained a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve until 2017.

Below is former Mayor Buttigieg’s record and public positions on issues important to the Jewish community.

During an event in Iowa in August 2019, former Mayor Buttigieg said that President Trump’s official recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights was an “intervention in Israeli domestic politics” and that “the president used U.S. foreign policy to put a thumb on the scale for right-wing allies within Israeli domestic politics.” Mayor Buttigieg added that “there are very legitimate Israeli security concerns,” but that he would have “had this be part of a negotiated discussion.”

Mayor Buttigieg declared in June 2019 that he would reenter the Iran nuclear deal if he is elected President, arguing that the agreement made the U.S. safer and that getting out of it contributed to instability in the Middle East. He stated that “whatever its imperfections, the Iran deal was perhaps as close to a true ‘art of the deal’ as it gets.”

Mayor Buttigieg has said that he is committed to Israel’s security and the U.S.-Israel alliance, but that does not mean that he has accept “the political agenda of the Israeli government.” He has declared his support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and argued that “a two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward.” 

Mayor Buttigieg seems to be open for conditioning U.S. Israel and to use it as leverage towards Israel for policy changes. In a conference in October 2019, he stated that “we need to make sure that [the U.S.-Israel relationships] does not turn into a go-ahead where we would be endorsing anything like annexation. That means we have a responsibility. And by the way, we have mechanisms to do this, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer support to Israel does not get turned into U.S. taxpayer support for a move like annexation.”

Mayor Buttigieg has argued that Israel should not be a partisan issue and argued that following a visit to Israel he felt “more motivated than ever to make sure the U.S. is an ally.” He has called for bipartisanship also in efforts to counter anti-Semitism, arguing that “fighting anti-Semitism, like fighting all forms of hate, must be a bipartisan cause.”

Former Mayor Buttigieg criticized the decision of the U.S. administration to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but said he would not reverse the decision if he were to be elected President. He also criticized the decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights by arguing that those were decisions to “intervene in Israeli domestic politics through American policy.”

Following the November 2019 announcement of President Trump’s administration that it would no longer view Israeli settlements as “inconsistent with international law”, Former Mayor Buttigieg expressed his opposition to the policy reversal arguing that it is “not only a significant step backward in our efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” but also “the latest in a pattern of destructive decisions that harm our national interests.” He said that he personally opposes BDS as a strategy for pressuring the Israel toward a two-state solution.

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