Washington — The Obama campaign is beefing up its Jewish outreach operation, adding a senior staff member to oversee ties with the Jewish community.
Daniel Shapiro, who served as an outside advisor to the campaign on Middle East issues, formally joined the campaign as a full-time paid staffer this week and will be in charge of Jewish outreach efforts. He will carry the title of senior policy adviser and Jewish outreach coordinator.
Eric Lynn, who for the last year served as the campaign’s liaison to the Jewish community, will continue his work under Shapiro.
“The Obama campaign is reaching out aggressively to the Jewish community through the creation of Jewish Community Leadership Councils in cities around the country, and Dan joins National Jewish Vote Director Eric Lynn to augment and expand this outreach effort,” an August 19 statement issued by the campaign read.
Shapiro is a well-known figure in the Jewish political scene. He has been working with the Jewish community on behalf of the Obama campaign for the past year and was involved in all major events in which Senator Barack Obama spoke to the Jewish community. Shapiro also participated in Obama’s trip to the Middle East and Israel.
While he served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, most of his political career was spent working on Capitol Hill. He was deputy chief of staff for Senator Bill Nelson and worked on the staffs of Senator Dianne Feinstein and of Rep. Lee Hamilton, who chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Obama campaign now has a staff of three dealing with the Jewish community. John McCain, on the other hand, does not have a designated staff member in charge of reaching out to the Jewish community.
For the past year, Shapiro maintained contact with Jewish groups in Washington and met with representatives of most Jewish organizations.
Jess Hordes, Washington director of the Anti-Defamation League, said he has worked with Shapiro for many years in different capacities and found him “very thoughtful” regarding the Jewish community and very connected to Jewish life. “I am sure he will be a useful and effective part of the Obama campaign,” Hordes said.
Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Contact Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman