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Views on Israel of U.S. Presidential Candidates 2020:
Pete Buttigieg

(1982 - )

Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg* was born on January 19, 1982, in South Bend, Indiana, the only child of Jennifer Anne (née Montgomery) and Joseph Buttigieg. Pete is a Christian, and has said his faith has had a strong influence in his life.

In 2000, Buttigieg was valedictorian of his high school senior class at St. Joseph High School in South Bend. That year he was the recipient of a first prize for the JFK Profiles in Courage Essay Contest awarded by the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. Buttigieg had written about the integrity and political courage demonstrated by U.S. Congressman Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Buttigieg attended Harvard College, majoring in history and literature. While at Harvard he was president of the Harvard Institute of Politics Student Advisory Committee and worked on the institute’s annual study of youth attitudes on politics. He wrote his undergraduate thesis on the influence of puritanism on U.S. foreign policy as reflected in Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American.

Upon graduating from Harvard in 2005, Buttigieg was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and, in 2007, he received a Bachelor of Arts with first-class honors in philosophy, politics and economics from Pembroke College, Oxford (later promoted to a Master of Arts (Oxon) per tradition).

Before graduating from college, Buttigieg worked as an investigative intern at WMAQ-TV, Chicago’s NBC news affiliate. He also worked as an intern for Jill Long Thompson’s unsuccessful 2002 congressional campaign. He later served as an adviser to her unsuccessful 2008 gubernatorial campaign.

From 2004 to 2005, Buttigieg worked in Washington, D.C., as conference director for former Secretary of Defense William Cohen’s international strategic consulting firm, The Cohen Group. He also spent several months working on Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, where he was a policy and research specialist.

He worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company from 2007 through 2010.

Buttigieg was commissioned as a naval intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve in 2009, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 where he was assigned to the Afghan Threat Finance Cell, a counterterrorism unit that targeted Taliban insurgency financing. For his counterterrorism work, he earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

After a seven-month deployment, Buttigieg returned to South Bend. He remained a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve until 2017.

Buttigieg ran unsuccessfully for State Treasurer of Indiana in 2010. A year later, he was elected mayor of South Bend. He took office in January 2012 at age 29 and was reelected in 2014.

In a June 2015 essay in the South Bend Tribune, Buttigieg announced that he is gay. He is the first openly gay municipal executive in Indiana.

The Washington Post called Buttigieg "the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of" based on his youth, education, and military background. In 2016, the New York Times columnist Frank Bruni published a column praising his work as mayor with a headline asking if he might be "the first gay president."

Buttigieg was named a 2014 Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow. He was named a recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Fenn Award in 2015.

Buttigieg speaks Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Farsi, and French. Buttigieg plays guitar and piano and, in 2013, performed with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra as a guest piano soloist along with Ben Folds.

In December 2017, Buttigieg announced his engagement to Chasten Glezman, a junior high school teacher whom Buttigieg had been dating since August 2015. They were married on June 16, 2018, in a private ceremony at the Cathedral of St. James. They live in the same South Bend neighborhood where Buttigieg grew up.

In May 2018, Buttigieg visited Israel with the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange.

On April 14, 2019, Buttigieg announced he was running for the Democratic nomination for President in the 2020 election. If elected, he would be the youngest and the first openly LGBT American president. Although Buttigieg won the Iowa caucuses, he did poorly in the other three early state primaries. He dropped out of the race on March 2, 2020, and endorsed Joe Biden.

Foreign Policy Advisers

Doug Wilson is a former Pentagon official.

Ned Price was a senior analyst at the CIA, Special Assistant to President Obama for National Security Affairs and the National Security Council Spokesperson. He is now an NBC News Analyst and Lecturer at George Washington University.

Vali Nasr is the former dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Wilson and Price are members of the National Security Action’s advisory board, which is lobbying to end support for Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in Yemen and opposes President Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.


  • “Addressing anti-Semitism must begin, first and foremost, with a president who is committed to opposing bigotry and hate in all its forms and who will forcefully condemn anti-Semitism wherever and whenever it arises.”

    “Using the presidency as a platform for making clear that anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry and hatred have no place in our nation or, for that matter, throughout the world is absolutely crucial, but it is not sufficient….my administration will devote $1 billion to prevent and combat radicalization and violent extremism.

    Second, the central role of education in addressing anti-Semitism and bigotry must not be understated….I will support the Never Again Education Act, bipartisan legislation that would authorize new funding for teaching children about the Holocaust, and I will support legislative efforts to make sure that this dark chapter in history is part of the history that is taught in our schools.

    Third, I will support increased funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s programs that increase the safety and security of our communities. This includes the Nonprofit Security Grants Program, which provides houses of worship and other nonprofit faith-based community institutions, including synagogues, temples, churches, mosques and Jewish community centers, with grants to improve their security.

    Fourth, I will direct the Department of Justice to make prosecuting hate crimes a departmental priority…. I will direct the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service, which works to strengthen the ability of communities to prevent and solve conflicts, to prioritize its efforts to combat anti-Semitism and reduce tensions in communities where anti-Semitic incidents occur.

    Finally, I will create an interagency task force that works on combating all forms of bigotry and hate, including rising anti-Semitism…. I will direct my administration to take steps to ensure that agencies throughout the federal government, including embassies and consulates, law enforcement officials who participate in providing training to their counterparts in other countries, and educational initiatives to identify how they can best combat anti-Semitism in their programs.”

    “With respect to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, movement against Israel, or BDS, I disagree with BDS as a strategy promoting a resolution to the conflict because it lays all of the blame at the feet of Israel and advocates for maximalist demands that push the prospects for peace further away. At the same time, efforts to counter BDS must respect the freedom of speech and expression that is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.” (JTA, January 23, 2020)

  • “I strongly support Israel and personally oppose B.D.S. as a strategy for pressuring the Israeli government toward a two-state solution. But an American's right to political expression, including in the form of boycotts, is a constitutionally protected right.” (New York Times, December 2019)

  • “It shouldn’t be hard to be against bad policies and against anti-Semitism. Those are table stakes.”  (J Street Conference, October 28, 2019)
  • Buttigieg accused the White House of welcoming those who “are blatantly anti-Semitic” and excusing “people who walk the streets chanting ‘Jews will not replace us.’” (JTA, May 26, 2019)
  •  “I disagree with [Rep. Ilhan Omar’s] comments comparing Israel to Iran. People like me get strung up in Iran. So the idea that what’s going on is equivalent is just wrong.” (“The View,” January 31, 2019)


  • “I actually didn't know how many members were in the Knesset, so you got me there.” (Democratic Debate, February 19, 2020)

  • Buttigieg said he opposed Israel annexing settlements in the West Bank, “I’m not talking about withdrawing aid or withdrawing our support for Israel. But what I will say is that in my administration, the Israeli government will get the message that we are not going to support those kinds of steps.” He added, “If you’re asking me whether in light of the president’s [peace] proposal I would withdraw aid to Israel, the answer is no.”  (JewishInsider, January 30, 2020)

  • Following the release of the Trump administration’s peace plan, Buttigieg tweeted: “This president's Mideast ‘Deal of the Century,’ like so much else he’s done in foreign policy, makes complex situations worse. Peace requires both parties at the table. Not a political green light to the leader of one for unilateral annexation.” (@PeteButtigieg, January 28, 2020)

  • “There is ample room for respectful disagreement and debate around the policies of the Israeli government, just as we encourage vigorous debate about policy of our U.S. government. I have not hesitated to express my disagreement with right-wing political figures in Israel to the extent that their statements and policies are inconsistent with longstanding U.S. policy and have undermined the prospects for achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as threats of annexation. Israel is an essential ally for America and, as I have said before, when we have disagreements, it is incumbent upon us to put our arm around our ally, as one would do with a friend, and offer wise and honest counsel.

    At the same time, criticism of Israel that is expressed, for example, by invoking dangerous tropes and invidious stereotypes about Jews or by denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination are examples of criticism that crosses the line from legitimate criticism into anti-Semitism.”

    “Both Israeli and Palestinian citizens should be able to enjoy the freedom to go about their daily lives without fear, and to work to achieve economic well-being for their families. That is why I continue to believe a two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward.

    Neither side has yet stepped up to make the difficult compromises that are necessary to achieve an enduring peace. As Israel’s most powerful and most reliable ally, the United States has the opportunity to shape a more constructive path with the tough and honest guidance that friendship and fairness require. 

    To preserve stability in the region, my administration will support robust security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which both sides have used effectively to combat terrorism. President Trump’s punitive aid cuts to the Palestinians have been dangerous. When he cut security assistance to the Palestinian Authority, aid that is used for close coordination with Israel, he threatened Israeli and Palestinian security. When he cut humanitarian assistance for Palestinian hospitals and aid for people-to-people initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians, he diminished the prospects for peace.

    Preserving the viability of a two-state solution for the future means speaking out when either side takes steps that would decrease its likelihood. The United States of America must be guided by an unwavering commitment to the values of peace and security.” (JTA, January 23, 2020)

  • During the December Democratic debate Buttigieg criticized Trump’s policies as an effort to “effectively interfere in Israeli domestic politics. He added, Trump is “acting as though that somehow makes him pro-Israel and pro-Jewish while welcoming white nationalists.” (Times of Israel, December 20, 2019)

  • The New York Times asked each candidate a series of questions related to Israel. Buttigieg said the U.S. should not move its embassy from Jerusalem but did not answer questions regarding U.S. military aid to Israel, Palestinian refugees or the establishment of a Palestinian state. (New York Times, December 2019)

  • Responding to the Trump administration’s announcement that it does not consider settlements illegal, Buttigieg said, “The Trump administration’s statement on West Bank settlements is not only a significant step backward in our efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is the latest in a pattern of destructive decisions that harm our national interests.” (Times of Israel, November 19, 2019)

  • “I strongly condemn the rocket attacks on the citizens of southern and central Israel. Israel has a right to defend itself against acts of terror that set back any progress towards peace and will only serve to inflame the humanitarian situation in Gaza.” (@PeteButtigieg, November 13, 2019)

  • Buttigieg was asked on his bus tour about Israel. He said he has “never advocated withholding aid” to Israel, but does believe that the U.S. needs to “take steps to make sure the US taxpayers is not contributing” to actions like annexation. (Dan Merica @merica, November 4, 2019)

  • Within our lifetime, he said, we will see a “solution like a two state solution… or we are going to see Israel have to choose between either being a democracy or being a Jewish state.”  (Dan Merica @merica, November 4, 2019)

  • The United States needs to “have mechanisms to do this [condition aid] to make sure U.S. taxpayer support for Israel doesn’t turn into U.S. taxpayer support for a move like annexation….U.S. policy should not be promoting settlement construction because it is incompatible or at best detrimental to what we need to see happen.”

    “You can be committed to the U.S.-Israel alliance without being supportive of any individual choice by a right-wing government over there.” 

    “Mathematically, it is within the lifetime of anybody in college today that the situation in Israel, for Israelis and Palestinians, will either reach some kind of harmony, or catastrophe. You will live to see one of these two things happen.”(J Street Conference, October 28, 2019)

  • Buttigieg accused Donald Trump of taking “U.S. foreign policy steps for the purpose of intervening in Israeli domestic politics” by floating a U.S.-Israel defense pact days before the Israeli election. It was a “conflation of domestic and international politics.” He added, “There’s something deeply unhealthy in many different overlapping ways about [that] kind of conflation of U.S. policy and domestic politics on both sides.”

    Regarding a possible change in U.S. policy, he said, “I don’t really find hope in anything this president is doing, but we’ll see what comes up.” He added, Trump “wants some level of credibility for whatever peace plan they are going to put out. I’m skeptical but we’ll see what they do or, as the president says ‘we’ll see what happens.’”

    Buttigieg said the decision of the Joint List to back Blue and White leader Benny Gantz as Israel’s next prime minister was “remarkable.” He continued, “I don’t know how that reverberates in terms of the domestic calculations that Gantz has to make, but there is some possibility of growth and unity in that somewhere. I’d like to find out what it actually leads to.” (JewishInisder, September 25, 2019)

  • Asked about Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel, Buttigieg called it a “political move” and said, “The whole basis of our alliance with Israel is that we’re both democracies….It’s disappointing to see an undemocratic act like banning somebody from your country because you don’t like what they say.” He added, “It benefits everybody in the long run if those principles of freedom of expression are honored by both countries as we move forward.” (CBS, August 16, 2019).

  • Asked about U.S. recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Buttigieg said, “There are very legitimate Israeli security concerns. That being said, I would have, in that situation, had this be part of a negotiated discussion. The really upsetting thing about what was done with the Golan Heights was that it was an intervention in Israeli domestic politics.”

    “In other words, the president used U.S. foreign policy to put a thumb on the scale for right-wing allies within Israeli domestic politics. This is totally the wrong basis for our policy. So we can talk about the future of any of the hot-button issues in the Middle East,” continued Buttigieg. “The bottom line is when I am president we will do it not based on U.S. politics and not based on Israeli politics but based on what is best for the security of the Israeli-Palestinian [future].”

    Regarding whether, if elected, he would undo the president’s move, Buttigieg responded, “I’m not going to make any declarations now about the future of that status other than to say that on my watch it would not have come about as part of the intervention of Israeli [politics].” (JNS, August 13, 2019)

  • “Yes, I do support a two-state solution. The US alliance with Israel and support for Israel’s security have long been fundamental tenets of US national security policy, and they will remain so if I am elected President. But this is not a zero-sum game. The security of Israel and the aspirations of the Palestinian people are fundamentally interlinked. To visit the West Bank and Gaza is to understand the fundamental need for a two-state solution which addresses the economic, security and moral rights of both Israelis and of the Palestinians who live there.

    I have clearly and strongly stated my support for the security of Israel, and I have also said that I disagree with policies being carried out by the current Israeli administration. This includes overreach in the West Bank and Gaza and short-sighted focus on military responses. The humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza has gone on far too long and provides a ripe environment for the very extremist violence that threatens Israel.

    The United States needs to put its arm around the shoulder of its ally, Israel, and help it to develop policies that will work towards the economic and security benefit of both Israel and the Palestinians. Both Israeli and Palestinian citizens should be able to enjoy the freedom to go about their daily lives without fear of rocket attacks or other violence, and to work to achieve economic well-being for their families. A two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward.” (Council on Foreign Relations, July 30, 2019)

  • “The security of Israel has been a tenet of U.S. foreign policy. It is very much in our national interest, which is why neither American nor Israeli leaders should play personal politics with the security of Israel. Just as an American patriot may oppose the policies of the American president, a supporter of Israel may oppose the policies of the Israeli government….”

    “If Prime Minister Netanyahu makes good on his threat to annex West Bank settlements, a President Buttigieg will take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t foot the bill.” (CSPAN, June 11, 2019)

  • “The occupation has to end.”

    “Even people associated with the Israeli right like Sharon — toward the end of his life — recognize that this state of affairs is unsustainable. And the pathway to peace has to include Israelis and Palestinians living side by side with self-determination. That is the right answer for our own security interests and a stable Middle East as well as for an Israeli future that is Jewish and democratic and for the future of the Palestinian people.”

    “There is, I think, a frankly healthier discussion happening among the American Jewish community today than there has been in some time and, frankly a healthier discussion than there is in the American Congress right now….”

    “You can care about Israel’s future and believe in the U.S.-Israel relationship and alliance with Israel without being on board with the right-wing policies by the Netanyahu government which is now walking away from peace in a way that I think will harm the Israeli people, the Palestinian people and, in the long run, the American people. So that I believe as the most important ally that Israel has, we need to do what you do when you have a friend who’s doing something you think is harmful. You put your arm around your friend and try to guide them to a better place.” (Twitter, July 12, 2019)

  • Asked by the New York Times, “Do you think Israel meets international standards of human rights?” Buttigieg responded, “I think that Israel’s human rights record is problematic and moving in the wrong direction under the current right-wing government. Look, the U.S. can be committed to Israeli security and to the U.S.-Israel alliance while also guiding our ally in a direction that leads toward peace. I am very worried, especially with some of the latest talk about annexation of the West Bank, that their government is moving away from peace in a way that is damaging in the long run to Israeli and Palestinian, and for that matter, American interests.” (New York Times, June 19, 2019)

  • Buttigieg told Axios that he would not relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Tel Aviv if elected president in 2020. “I think what's done is done….We need a big picture strategy on the Middle East. I don’t know that we'd gain much by moving it to Tel Aviv.”

    AXIOS: So President Trump did the right thing?

    “I didn’t say that.”

    "Here’s the problem with what he did," Buttigieg said, "[if] you’re going to make a concession like that, if you’re going to give somebody something that they’ve wanted for a long time in the context of a push-pull, even with a strong ally like Israel, right? We have a push-pull relationship. And you don’t do that without getting some kind of concession. Instead, we’ve seen the Israeli government continue to act in ways that are detrimental to peace. And I believe, therefore, also detrimental to U.S. interests.”

    The same thing with the recognition of the Golan. Look, the Israelis claims are not something to be ignored. They have a lot to do with legitimate security interests. But we when we did that we were doing something that could have been part of a negotiated package and instead we just gave it away. Worse, we gave it away probably for the specific purpose of having an impact in Israeli domestic politics which should be the last reason that we would be conducting U.S. foreign policy. It should be designed around American values, American interests, and American international relationships.

    Buttigieg was also asked about the Palestinian demand that refugees be allowed to return to their homes. “I think that concept can be honored in the context of a negotiated peace,” he said. “I don’t think it should be presumptively declared by a U.S. presidential candidate.”

    “I’m concerned though that we’re walking away from the possibility of peace. When you have the Israeli government talking about annexing parts of the West Bank.”

    So you would not insist on that?

    “I think it could be honored as part of the framework of a negotiation. I’m not going to declare it at the outset as a precondition for peace.” (Axios, June 16, 2019)

  • “Israeli and Palestinian citizens should be able to enjoy the freedom to go about their daily lives without fear, and to work to achieve economic well-being for their families. As Israel’s most powerful and most reliable ally, the United States has the opportunity to shape a more constructive path with the tough and honest guidance that friendship and fairness require. The current state of affairs cannot endure. The pressure of history and the mathematics of demography mean that well before 2054 Israelis and Palestinians will have come to see either peace or catastrophe. A two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward, and it will be our policy to support such a solution.”

    “A two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel's security needs remains the only viable way forward.” (IsraelInsider, June 11, 2019)

  • Buttigieg said the United States needs to encourage what he called the right-wing government in Israel to use military force only when necessary and to preserve the rights of all its citizens.

    He said the closer an ally, the more important it is to speak truth to them, asserting the security and survival of Israel is vital to the United States.

    Regarding Netanyahu’s pre-election promise to annex settlements: “He should know that a President Buttigieg would take steps to make sure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill.”

    Buttigieg added that he supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the leadership on both sides is at fault for the current stalemate. He warned that Netanyahu is “turning away from peace” and added that “a supporter of Israel may also oppose the policies of the right-wing Israeli government.” (Indianapolis Star and Haaretz, June 11, 2019)

  • One of the “biggest problems” facing American policy with respect to Israeli and Palestinian leadership, he said, is “we don’t have the right kinds of partners in leadership on the Palestinian side, is that we have to invest more energy in constraining their worst impulses than in trying to get a good outcome.” (JTA, May 26, 2019)
  • “The right approach when you have an ally or a friend that is taking steps that you think are harmful to you and to them, you put your arm around your friend and you try to guide them somewhere else.” (NBC News, June 23, 2019)
  • Robert Costa: What should Prime Minister Netanyahu expect if you were President of the United States? Should he expect the same level of support and alliance that he sees with President Trump?

    Buttigieg: “He should expect America to be a friend and ally to Israel.”

    Costa: What about to him?

    Buttigieg: “One that is loyal to the terms of our alliance and concerned about Israeli security interests, but also not loyal to him or anyone. Look, being supportive of Israel, in the same way that being patriotic and pro-American doesn't have to mean you are pro-Trump. Being supportive of Israel does not have to mean that you are on board with the agenda of the Israeli political right wing. I am not… And so what Israel can expect from the U.S., as any friend ought to be able to expect from an honest friend, is that when they take a step that is harmful, you put your arm around your friend and you try to guide them somewhere else.” (C-Span, May 23, 2019)
  • Following a campaign pledge by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for saying he would annex parts of the West Bank if he was re-elected, Buttigieg tweeted:  “This provocation is harmful to Israeli, Palestinian, and American interests. Supporting Israel does not have to mean agreeing with Netanyahu’s politics. I don’t. This calls for a president willing to counsel our ally against abandoning a two-state solution.” (JTA, April 7, 2019)
  • “I was in Israel in May of this year and not only is there a real problem with how they’re going balance being a democracy with being a Jewish state, but they’ve also got to figure out, and we’ve got to figure out with them, as an ally, what the regional security picture is going look like in the future... What’s going on with the Palestinians — it has always been one of the most fiendishly complicated issues, and simple answers will not serve us well at a time like this.” (“The View,” January 31, 2019)
  • “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,” he 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.” (Haaretz, April 15, 2019)
  • Buttigieg said he wants America to help make “a world where Israelis and Palestinians are able to live in peace side by side.”

    “There really is not a unified or single voice for the Palestinian people,” Buttigieg said. “Most people aren’t aware of the difference between what’s happening in Gaza — run by Hamas in a way that is contributing to a lot of misery there — but also totally different than an environment where you’d have a negotiating partner across the table.” (Vox, April 3, 2019)


  • The New York Times asked each candidate a series of questions related to U.S. policy toward Iran and the nuclear deal. Buttigieg said he would “re-enter the deal with no new preconditions.”

    Buttigieg said the order to kill Qassim Suleimani raised “serious questions about how this decision was made and whether we are prepared for the consequences….Now we must deal with the consequences of this action, beginning with the immediate and very real dangers to American citizens in and out of uniform in the Middle East. We must prepare for the impact on regional stability, complex forms of retaliation, and the potential for escalation into war.” (New York Times, February 2020)

  • “By gutting the Iran nuclear deal — one that, by the way, the Trump administration itself admitted was working, certified that it was preventing progress toward a nuclear Iran — by gutting that, they have made the region more dangerous and set off the chain of events that we are now dealing with as it escalates even closer to the brink of outright war.” (JTA, January 17, 2020)

  • “I have been clear: walking away from the JCPOA was a strategic mistake. We didn’t develop the deal as a favor to Iran; we did it because it was in our national security interest. The deal represented a detailed and verifiable arrangement that permanently prohibited Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And the JCPOA was effective: Iran was upholding its commitments, as confirmed repeatedly by international inspectors and our own intelligence community, when President Trump withdrew from it. Walking away from the JCPOA also cost us credibility and the trust of our partners, hindering our ability to work with allies to solve difficult collective challenges. 

    We should have no illusions about the reality that Iran poses challenges to U.S. interests beyond its nuclear program: its ballistic missile program, malign behavior in the region, threats to our ally Israel, and human rights abuses. But having the JCPOA in place created a foundation from which we could begin addressing those concerns, all of which will be even more intractable if we lack a mechanism to verifiably and permanently prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. 

    If Iran resumes implementing its commitments, then I would rejoin. But I would take the agreement as a floor, not a ceiling. I would revive P5+1 diplomacy and direct US-Iran dialogue at the appropriate levels and would want to pursue follow-on agreements that extend the timeframe of certain nuclear restrictions, cover Iran’s missile program, and address its role in regional conflicts, all in return for targeted sanctions relief.” (Council on Foreign Relations, July 30, 2019)

  • Buttigieg suggested that by withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, Trump has made it harder for the next president to “achieve that goal” of stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Buttigieg added, “The Iran nuclear deal, the technical term for it was the JCPOA. That first letter ‘J’ stood for ‘Joint.’ We can't do this alone, even less so now after everything that has happened.”

  • “As even this administration repeatedly certified, [the JCPOA] was preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. This helps constrain the military threat that Iran poses to Israel and Europe without leading us down a path to another middle eastern war. This agreement was concluded not to do Iran a favor but because it is in our national security interest, just as a parallel policy of confronting Iran’s support for terrorism and its dismal human rights record reflect our values and interests.” (CSPAN, June 11, 2019)

  • “Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons should remain a core tenet of our global leadership. For this reason, I will rejoin our international partners and recommit the U.S. to the Iran nuclear deal.” (IsraelInsider, June 11, 2019)

  • Buttigieg said a nuclear Iran poses too great a threat on Israel and Europe. “Whatever its imperfections,” the Iran nuclear deal “was perhaps as close to the real ‘Art of the Deal’ as diplomatic achievements get,” he said, referencing the title of President Donald Trump’s business-oriented memoir. (Indianapolis Star, June 11, 2019)

  • “I’m extremely concerned about what appears to be an escalation with respect to Iran, not only because it’s unclear what the administration’s policy is but also because I’m afraid this could actually get away from the president.” (@thehill, May 27, 2019)

  • Re tension with Iran: “This is not a game. This is not a show. We’ve got to make sure that security decisions are not made based on politics but are the right decision... The relationship between what the president says and what the president does has always been suspect. This is something that should be taken extremely seriously, and it’s why I hope and pray there are enough people in Congress to recognize that if there was ever a moment to stop Congress’ abandonment of its own war powers and get on the record on this issue, it is now.” (USA Today¸ May 16, 2019)


  • Regarding the withdrawal of U.S. troops in October 2019:

    “The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence. It's a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values.

    Look, I didn't think we should have gone to Iraq in the first place. I think we need to get out of Afghanistan. But it's also the case that a small number of specialized, special operations forces and intelligence capabilities were the only thing that stood between that part of Syria and what we're seeing now, which is the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS.

    Meanwhile, soldiers in the field are reporting that for the first time they feel ashamed -- ashamed -- of what their country has done. We saw the spectacle, the horrifying sight of a woman with the lifeless body of her child in her arms asking, what the hell happened to American leadership?

    You take that away, you are taking away what makes America America.

    It makes our troops and the world a much more dangerous place.” (Washington Post, October 16, 2019)

*AICE does not rate or endorse any candidate for political office.

Sources: “Pete Buttigieg,” Wikipedia;
Pete 2020;
The View,” (January 31, 2019);
Ron Kampeas, “Democratic presidential candidates: You can slam Netanyahu, even as a ‘racist,’ and be pro-Israel,” JTA, (April 7, 2019);
Alex Ward, “Democrats are increasingly critical of Israel. Not Pete Buttigieg,” Vox, (April 3, 2019);
“Pete Buttigieg Brings pro-Israel, ‘Religious Left’ Message to 2020 Democratic Primary,” Haaretz, (April 15, 2019);
Aamer Madhani, “Buttigieg blasts Trump Iran escalation: ‘This is not a game. This is not a show,’” USA Today¸ (May 16, 2019);
“Pete Buttigieg Says President Trump Faked Disability to Avoid Serving in Vietnam,” (C-Span, May 23, 2019);
Josh Lederman, “Buttigieg tells Jewish leaders U.S. should guide Israel toward better policies,” NBC News, June 23, 2019);
Cnaan Liphshiz, “Pete Buttigieg Says Palestinian Leaders Are No Partner for Peace and Israel Needs ‘Guidance,’” JTA, (May 26, 2019);
Chris Sikich. “Pete Buttigieg just rolled out details on his foreign policy vision. Here are the big takeaways,” Indianapolis Star, (June 11, 2019);
Amir Tibon, “Americans ‘Should Not Foot the Bill’ if Israel Were to Annex West Bank, Says Buttigieg,” Haaretz, (June 11, 2019);
Jacob Kornbluh, “Buttigieg: Iran deal was close to a true ‘Art of the Deal,’” IsraelInsider, (June 11, 2019);
“18 Questions. 21 Democrats. Here’s What They Said,” New York Times, (June 19, 2019);
“Pete Buttigieg says he won't reverse Trump’s Jerusalem move,” Axios, (June 16, 2019);
Robert Mackey, “Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden Condemn Israeli Occupation, as Young American Jews Urge Democrats to Press Israel,” The Intercept, (July 13, 2019);
Peter Beinart, “Netanyahu Has Changed The Democratic Party - One Candidate At A Time,” Forward, (June 12, 2019);
“Pete Buttigieg on U.S. Foreign Policy,” CSPAN, (June 11, 2019);
Jackson Richman, “Buttigieg calls US recognition of Golan as ‘interference’ in Israeli politics,” JNS, (August 13, 2019);
Caroline Cumming, “In Iowa, Buttigieg pressed about Trump, Israel barring U.S. congresswomen from entry,” CBS, (August 16, 2019);
Al-Monitor, (September 13, 2019);
Ben Jacobs, “Buttigieg: Trump is intervening in Israeli politics,” JewishInisder, (September 25, 2019);
“The October Democratic debate transcript,” Washington Post, (October 16, 2019);
“Leading Democratic presidential candidates denounce US settlement decision,” Times of Israel, (November 19, 2019);
“Sanders calls Netanyahu a ‘racist,’ Biden slams PM’s ‘outrageous’ behavior,” Times of Israel, (December 20, 2019);
(Ron Kampeas, “Where the top 7 Democratic candidates stand on Iran,” JTA, (January 17, 2020);
“Pete Buttigieg: My administration will devote $1 billion to combat anti-Semitism and other violent extremism,” JTA, (January 23, 2020);
Jacob Kornbluh, “Buttigieg clarifies position on conditioning aid to Israel,” JewishInsider, (January 30, 2020).