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Twitter Account Briefly Changed to “U.S. Ambassador to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza”

Aaron Bandler is a staff writer for the Jewish Journal, mainly covering anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

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Aaron Bandler
Aaron Bandler is a staff writer for the Jewish Journal, mainly covering anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

Shortly after Joe Biden was sworn in as president on January 20, the United States Ambassador to Israel briefly changed its name on Twitter to also include the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It was changed back after a couple of hours. The change was not reflected on the website of the embassy.

The change came shortly after outgoing Ambassador David Friedman sent out his final tweet. Biden has yet to nominate his successor, and his pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, is the midst of being confirmed. It is unclear who was responsible for the edit at the time.

The Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov tweeted that a spokesperson for the embassy said that “It was an inadvertent edit, and not reflective of a policy change.” The Jerusalem Post also clarified that Biden will likely appoint “a consul to Palestinians, separate from the ambassador to Israel.”

Harkov added that “it was a Trump administration policy that Palestinians fall under the purview of the embassy to Israel. The initial name change is *the opposite* of Biden’s stated preferred policy. Blaming it on Biden makes no sense.” She speculated that the move seemed less like a policy change and “more like an overzealous social media manager.”

 

But Foundation for Defense of Democracies Vice President Jonathan Schanzer told the Washington Free Beacon that he worried that the name change was a sign of a policy shift. He noted that the change could highlight the fact “that the embassy in Jerusalem is the central clearinghouse for all things related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. On the other hand, it also seems to imply that all three territories are to be treated with equal recognition — and that might mark a significant change in policy.”

International human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky similarly tweeted that the name change was a “mere technicality. Also, not uncommon for Twitter to change government account names following elections.”

 

A spokesperson for the embassy claimed that “it was an inadvertent edit.” The name of the ambassador’s office now reads “U.S. Ambassador to Israel.”

 

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