(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
NEW YORK - The organization J Street expressed its “deep concern” on Monday over the appointment of former settlement leader Dani Dayan as Israel's Consul-General in New York.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he will name Dayan Consul-General to New York, where he will replace Ido Aharoni, who has served as consul-general in New York since February 2011.
The appointment of Dayan, a former head of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria and a resident of Ma’aleh Shomron in Samaria, has come after he was originally supposed to take the position of Israel’s Ambassador to Brazil.
However, Dayan was never approved by Brasilia, which came under heavy pressure from Palestinians, left-wing NGOs and left-wing Israelis to reject him on the grounds that accepting him as envoy would be seen as legitimizing the settlements.
“Those who did not want a settlement leader in Brasilia, got a settlement leader in the capital of the world,” Dayan said at a Yediot Aharonot conference in Jerusalem, referring to Israeli far-left activists who worked to scuttle his appointment.
“Though the Prime Minister of Israel continues to express his concern that Israel not become a binational state, he is sending as his envoy to New York a man who served for years as chairman of the settlers' council and who revels in predicting the demise of the two-state solution,” J street said in a statement.
“Dayan is but the latest appointment to a senior diplomatic post of an adamant opponent of the two-state solution, whose posting will serve to inflame opponents of Israel's policies rather than signal a desire to heal the growing divisions between the world's two largest Jewish communities.”
J street pointed out that In the last year several Israeli officials in the US have “sent the message that Israel's government is far more serious about legitimizing and entrenching settlements than they are about the two-state solution.”
The organization cited the appointment of Danny Danon as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Ron Dermer’s decision to send out gift packages filled with settlement products to officials and Tzipi Hotovely’s call for Israeli diplomats to tell the world that “this country is all ours. We didn’t come here to apologize for that” as examples.
J Street also noted that Dayan has shown himself willing to engage in dialogue and debate with those he disagrees with. “This trait is vital for a diplomat, and we welcome the opportunity to meet and engage with Dayan, even as we strongly disagree with many of his positions and beliefs,” they said.
“Dayan will need his capacity for dialogue in his conversations with the many Americans and American Jews who are alarmed at the Israeli government’s commitment to the settlements and its refusal to acknowledge the occupation’s cost to Israel’s security and international position.”