Last week’s announcement that former senior aide to Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, Ron Dermer, will be the next ambassador to Washington has been met
with generally enthusiastic response both in Israel and in the United States.
And for good reason.
The 42-year-old native of Florida is a highly
intelligent and thoughtful individual with the additional advantage of being
among the prime minister’s closest advisers and confidants. He will not only
serve as an appealing public face for Israel in the US, but like his predecessor
Michael Oren, he will be able to put forward Israel’s case eloquently.
wholeheartedly agree with the statement released at the end of the week by the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that said, “As
an articulate and knowledgeable representative of the State of Israel [Dermer]
will be able to present Israel’s case to the administration, Congress, and
American people as Ambassador Oren did so effectively... We know that Mr. Dermer
will continue in that tradition and will strengthen the bond at all levels
between these two great democratic allies.”
Not everybody has responded
to Dermer’s appointment with such open arms and an open mind. Published comments
claiming that Dermer has long been in the Obama administration’s dog house for
allegedly endorsing governor Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election and
that Washington was less than enthusiastic about his appointment.
Jerusalem Post’s diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon pointed out last week,
diplomatic officials reported that Dermer’s appointment was “warmly welcomed in
Washington.” And the officials called the claims of his support for Romney a
myth, saying that Dermer never made any public statement that could be perceived
as backing any candidate. A quick search on Google for past stories about Dermer
backs that up.
Naysayers also claimed that Dermer’s ideology placed him
in the neo-conservative fold in regard to prospects of resuming negotiations
with the Palestinians toward the result of a two-state solution.
that feel Dermer will not be representing the majority view of the Israeli
public are, however, underestimating him. As Israel’s main diplomat in the US,
he will be well aware that the majority of Israelis – like their government –
remain in favor of and committed to a two-state solution. Regardless of any
perceived personal preference, he will undoubtedly express the will of his
government and its citizens during his stint in Washington.
recall that as a diplomat, Dermer has a proven track record. And rather than
succumbing to any dogmatic hubris, he can be adept at mending fences and
bringing adversaries together. It has been widely reported that he was
instrumental in weaving together the delicate process that resulted in the
tarmac apology by Israel to Turkey for the 2010 Marvi Marmara incident at the
end of President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel last March.
immigrants to Israel from English-speaking countries, Dermer’s appointment, like
Oren’s before him, is a glowing example of how “Anglos” are able to integrate
into society and rise to the highest ranks of service to the country.
anyone who has shared a conversation with Dermer, what stands out is his
decency, his passion for Israel and his vibrant Zionist idealism.
may be a dirty word in some circles, but it is exactly what we need from our
envoy in Washington.
The relationship between Israel and the US has
always been close, and despite whatever bumps and bruises emerged from the
Obama-Netanyahu relationship, they remain strong. Given today’s instability
throughout the Middle East, those close ties have increased
With critical issues that affect the vital interests of both
the Israel and the US becoming increasingly sharpened – from the volatile
situations in Syria and Egypt, and the Iranian march toward nuclear capabilities
to the incremental efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks – it is all the
more imperative that Israel’s man in Washington speak with the same voice as the
government back in Jerusalem.
Dermer is the right man for the job at the