Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon (L) and Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
As Israel’s main advocates in the United States, Ambassadors Danny Danon and Ron Dermer have their work cut out for them.
For Danon, who is marking his sophomore year as Israel’s representative to the United Nations, combating anti-Israel bias in the global forum has become his raison d’être. Thus far, he has seen some notable achievements: from his recent election as vice president of the 72nd UN General Assembly and as the chair of the UN’s Legal Committee, to securing recognition of Yom Kippur as an official holiday and the introduction of kosher food at the cafeteria in Turtle Bay.
These milestones, however, also came with great challenges: the passage of controversial Resolution 2334 at the Security Council, which called for a halt of Israeli settlement activity; fighting back against UNESCO resolutions denying the bond between Jerusalem and the Jewish people; calling out UN agencies for biased reports and striving for Israel to be treated as a full-fledged member of the United Nations.
Recently, Danon has taken on a new challenge at the parliament of nations: opening the international community’s eyes when it comes to the Palestinian Authority’s payments to convicted terrorists.
But Danon has only just begun.
“We have put the world on notice that the decades of blatant anti-Israel bias will not go unanswered,” he told The Jerusalem Post
“In the year ahead we will build upon our past success. We’ll continue to promote initiatives that contribute to the betterment of the world through technological innovation and we will work together with friends from around the world to ensure better medical care, increased agricultural output and potable water wherever it is needed.”
On Dermer's part, since he took office as Ambassador to the United States in 2013, he has been Netanyahu’s eyes and ears in Washington.
Since the Trump administration settled in the White House, Dermer has proven particularly useful for his ties with the new administration.
“For the first time in many years, perhaps even many decades, there is no daylight between our two governments,” he said at the last annual AIPAC policy conference in March.
Despite voices calling for Dermer’s replacement after he orchestrated Netanyahu’s controversial speech in Congress in 2015, the prime minister has stood by his confidante and the cabinet recently approved the extension of his tenure by another year.
A charismatic speaker, Dermer speaks across the United States, including college campuses, which are a major battlefield for Israel today in its attempts to thwart the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement.
As the Trump administration continues to formulate its policy for the Middle East - regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Syria - Dermer’s role is becoming all the more important. The coming year might be his most challenging yet.