Danny Danon: Denounce, isolate Ilhan Omar's antisemetic remarks

"If you have people that use that kind of language, eventually I think the public need to remove them from office. If you allow them to continue the message you send to the people it that's OK."

By OMRI NAHMIAS
March 25, 2019 19:24
4 minute read.
 Ambassador Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN at the 7th Annual JPost Confer

Ambassador Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN at the 7th Annual JPost Conference in NY. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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WASHINGTON – The American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference is taking place at a sensitive time for US-Israel relations, particularly with regard to comments by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar that have been blatantly antisemitic and anti-Israel.

These statements should not be tolerated, said Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon during an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

“When you hear [such] remarks from leaders, we should denounce it, isolate it, and even remove them from public office, because if they speak about dual loyalty of the Jews in America, that’s antisemitism,” he said. “That’s what happened in the past in other countries, and we should not tolerate it.

“In terms of bipartisan support, that’s precisely what’s happening now in AIPAC – we have leaders from both parties coming and speaking,” Danon said. “Some people say that because we don’t have the Democratic candidates who will run in 2020 it shows something, but you never have the candidates when it’s not an elections year. I am sure we would see them next year here in Washington.”

Danon stopped short of calling for the Democratic leadership to remove Omar from the Foreign Relations Committee.

“If you have people that use that kind of language, eventually I think the public needs to remove them from office – because if you allow them to continue, the message you send to the people it that’s OK,” Danon continued.

He hinted that he wasn’t satisfied with the House resolution that condemned all kinds of racism, a move that watered down the original text that intended to focus on antisemitism.

In reaction to the rocket attack, early Monday in central Israel, Ambassador Danon – who lived for the past 14 years in Moshav Mishmeret – told the Post: “When Hamas is targeting our families, we will not sit quiet, we are going to retaliate. We have already called up 2 reserve units. But rest assured, we will respond.”

Israel is now working together with European Union countries and the United States to promote a UN Security Council resolution that will set clear guidelines regarding how to designate terrorist organizations and individuals as sponsors of terrorism, Danon said.

From the conference, Danon said that a few countries who supported the nuclear agreement with Iran are expected to take part in this joint effort.


“They understand the importance of applying sanctions against funding of terrorism,” the ambassador said.

THE INITIAL discussion will take place during the upcoming meeting of the Security Council later this week.

“It will not be an Israeli resolution,” he explained. “We will endorse it, and we will support it. But we see mainly European countries and other countries that are worried because Iran is a threat, not only to Israel but to many moderate countries in the Middle East, as well as European countries. We share our intelligence with other countries, and we told them about the Iranian plot to commit terrorist attacks in Europe. We are in a stage of raising awareness for this issue; we want to make it harder to transfer funds to terrorist organizations.”

According to Danon, “Some of the moderate Arab countries are also involved” in promoting this resolution.

“Iran spends $7 billion every year on terrorism,” he continued. “We see the results in the tunnels coming from Lebanon into Israel. We see the results in Syria, in Yemen, in Libya. So it’s important to cut off the oxygen line for the terrorists.”

US President Donald Trump is expected to formally recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights during his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House on Monday, although the agenda might have changed given the rocket that was launched from Gaza into central Israel early Monday. The rocket struck a family home and injured seven people.

On April 9, when Israelis will cast their ballots, it would be the first time for over a decade that Danon will not be on the Likud’s list.

“Although I am not involved because of my position today, I follow very carefully what’s happening, and I think that I made an important decision to stay in the UN – especially today when we have a lot of open issues on the table, [and] when Ambassador Nikki Haley left the United Nations and her replacement is yet to take office,” he said. “As both of us know, we will have another cycle, and I intend to continue my involvement in public life in Israel.

“The UN keeps me busy – but sometimes, when I look at my friends in the government, in the Knesset, when you have debates,” Danon said, he misses politics. “You want to take the podium, to speak up. But the challenges of the UN give me enough adrenaline.”

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