The Israeli government unanimously approved the appointment of Ron Dermer, an Oleh from the US, as Israel’s next ambassador to the U.S.
Posts Tagged ‘ambassador’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday he is appointing American-born Ron Dermer as Israel’s next Ambassador to the United States, the second American in a row to represent Jerusalem in Washington.
Dermer, who will replace Michael Oren, has served as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s senior adviser for the past four years and served as the economic attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Washington from 2005 to 2008.
He was born in Florida, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and holds a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford.
Dermer immigrated to Israel in 1997. He once wrote in the now defunct New York Sun that he “left America because I wanted to help another nation I love defend the freedoms that Americans have long taken for granted.”
Dermer has a background of political activism in the Republican party, having worked with the GOP in the 1994 mid-term elections before going to Oxford. While studying there, he shuttled to Israel to work on behalf of Natan Sharansky and his Yisrael B’Aliyah party.
His appointment gives Prime Minister Netanyahu a close ear in Washington, where Dermer is familiar with back channels, noted JTA’s Ben Sales last year, when Dermer’s name was being floated for the ambassadorial post.
“Netanyahu likes him, respects him and listens to him,” Netanyahu’s former national security adviser Uzi Arad told the JTA. “I often asked for his advice. In many ways he was a guy to listen to. When it came to knowledge and being cultured and erudite and intellectually inclined, that’s him.”
“He understands how Americans view Israelis and how Israelis view Americans,” Mitchell Barak, an Israeli pollster who met Dermer as an adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told Sales. “He knows how to work [in Washington] and has personal relations.”
Dermer’s views are strongly nationalist and indicate that Netanyahu is finished with any more “good will” concessions to the Palestinian Authority.
Dermer castigated The New York Times in 2011 with an open letter that attacked its news coverage and its Op-Ed page.
Times columnists “consistently distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace,” Dermer wrote in the letter, which was published in The Jerusalem Post. “It would seem as if the surest way to get an op-ed published in The New York Times these days, no matter how obscure the writer or the viewpoint, is to attack Israel.”
Dermer wrote in 2003 that Israel would be giving up its sovereignty if it were to agree to the Bush “Roadmap” plan.
“It is one thing for Israel to take into consideration what America says,” he wrote. “In fact, Israel’s national interest demands that it do so. But it is quite another to cede to a third party, no matter how friendly, the right to determine Israel’s future.”
Dermer co-authored with Sharansky “The Case for Democracy,” a book that reportedly was a major influence on President George W. Bush..
Galei Tzahal reported today that Ron Dermer will be appointed as Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. in August.
It was first reported by Makor Rishon in December 2012 that Dermer would be the next Israeli ambassador to the U.S., but the story was quickly denied a few days later by Israel’s Embassy in Washington.
Dermer fell out of the good graces of the Obama administration for his support of Mitt Romney, but he has been working to imporive his relationship with the current adminstration, and with John Kerry in particular.
Dermer made Aliyah from Florida in 1998, and served as a senior adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu for four years.
I just finished one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, which tells the story of Ambassador William Dodd, President Roosevelt’s first Ambassador to Hitler. The book chronicles the slow descent of Germany into Nazi tyranny. One of the most striking features of the narrative is the fear that slowly descends on the German populace as they become terrified of ever expressing an opinion about Hitler and his police state even in the company of close family and friends.
Yet Dodd and his family were utterly immune to such fear. Though they lived in a home that was owned by a Jewish banker; though they regularly hosted journalists who wrote critically of Hitler; though they drove by the home of Franz Von Papen – the deputy Chancellor – to show their support even after he had been placed under house arrest by Hitler for his Marburg speech of June, 1934; though Dodd openly snubbed Hitler every year by refusing to attend the Nazi Nuremberg rally where Hitler was celebrated as a god, Dodd never had anything to fear. He did not have to worry that the S.A. would ransack his Berlin home in the middle of the night. He did not have to fear that his daughter Martha, who even had an affair with Gestapo head Rudolf Diels, would be summarily shot for her increasing disillusion with Hitler’s regime. He did not have to fear that the SS would arrest him on his frequent walks through the Tiergarten for a speech he gave on that made subtle reference to Hitler’s growing assault on freedom. And he did not have fear that roaming bands of Nazi thugs would attack him for his protests to the German Foreign Minister against unprovoked attacks that threatened the lives of Americans.
And why didn’t he fear? Because even a monster as evil as Hitler, arguably the most dangerous man that ever lived, wasn’t going to mess with the American Ambassador.
In fact, one of the stories told in the book is the day that Dodd took a walk with French Ambassador André François-Poncet in the Tiergarten when the latter told him he would not be surprised if he would be shot in the street by the S.S.
Dodd was astonished. It never occurred to him to ever worry so long as he was the American Ambassador and indeed Hitler and the Nazis never harassed Western Ambassadors.
It therefore matters that just 80 years later a bunch of terrorist thugs can think they can murder an American Ambassador in full site of the world without consequence. American diplomatic staff were once the safest people in the world, representatives of a superpower who would rain hell from the skies should you touch one of their diplomatic staff. But no more.
The growing revelations from the Congressional hearings on Benghazi that the Obama State Department watered down public statements on the attack in order to cleanse them of any mention of al Qaeda and terrorism is a travesty and shows a lack of moral will to give evil its proper name. ABC News and Fox News reported this past Friday that the departments talking points were revised a full 12 times to purge them of any mention of terrorism. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland asked the CIA to remove mention of their own security warnings about Benghazi.
According to ABC News the original paragraph read,
The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.
But Nuland was concerned that the line “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?”
I have earlier written how Ambassador Susan Rice was utterly inappropriate to be chosen as Secretary of State based on her efforts to disassociate the word genocide from the Rwandan mass slaughters of 1994 so as not to commit the Clinton Administration to intervention.
The trial of Avigdor Liberman, until recently Foreign Minister, recorded its first day of questioning Thursday on charges against him of bribery and breach of public trust.
After more than a decade of hounding by the police on various alleged crimes, the police and government prosecutors finally nailed down an indictment last year on charges that he unfairly tried to advance the career of diplomat Ze’ev Ben Aryeh, who was said to have provided him with inside information on one of the police investigations against Liberman in 2008, at the time he was a Knesset Member.
Liberman has followed in the footsteps of more than two handfuls of politicians charged with various crimes the past few years, and shouted to the hilltops, “Not guilty.”
He won some public sympathy because of the years of the fruitless investigations against him. Liberman is a Russian immigrant and former nightclub bouncer who has scared the establishment with his growing popularity as a shoot-from-the-hip nationalist.
When an indictment was finally handed down late last year, it just happened to coincide with the elections, forcing him to leave his position as Foreign Minister.
However, Liberman secured a promise from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he can return to his post in the event that the three-justice Jerusalem court declares he is innocent. Liberman needs to be acquitted to continue his political career. In the meantime, the Prime Minister also is Foreign Minister.
The prosecution was depending on Ben Aryeh, who was the ambassador to Belarus and had contacts there that enabled him to tell Liberman that the police were on his trail concerning other criminal charges. Liberman allegedly then tried to reward him with a similar position in Latvia, although Ben Aryeh eventually was not appointed.
A lot depends on Ben Aryeh, who the prosecution trotted out in court on Thursday, but he promptly turned the tables, claiming he never even asked for the job as ambassador to Latvia.
Ben Aryeh previously was convicted of failing to disclose information concerning Liberman’s alleged favoritism, and the government prosecutors rewarded him for cooperating in the investigation by sentencing him to four months of community service, without any jail sentence.
On Thursday, he suddenly suffered from a lapse of memory.
The government prosecuting lawyer reminded Ben Aryeh that he told police in 2010 that he asked Liberman’s help for a position.
Ben Aryeh then startled the lawyer and said, “I don’t recall that I asked for help from Liberman. You ask why I asked for help, but I say I didn’t ask for help.”
Another “only in Israel’ incident on Wednesday, the eve of the first day of questioning, was a report on Channel 10 television of a police transcript of testimony it obtained. It quoted then Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon as saying that Liberman ordered him to appoint Ben Aryeh.
Liberman’s attorneys were furious and charged that the police leaked the information to influence the trial against Liberman.
Further hearings are bound to show no less interesting remarks.
Ayalon will be called as a witness for the prosecution, and that is the same Ayalon who was summarily dropped by Liberman as a candidate for the Israel Beiteinu party that Liberman.
His memory will be much better than Ben Aryeh’s
Before we start, you should know that a senior adviser at the Yisrael Beitenu party who read this article says it’s completely wrong, but doesn’t know the real reason for Ayalon’s dismissal.
Now we can start:
The morning after the surprise dismissal of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon from the Likud Beiteinu list by his party boss Avigdor Liberman, Israel Channel 2 News interviewed Alon Liel, a former director of the ministry of foreign affairs and the Israeli ambassador to Turkey, who said that the career ending move stemmed from an old dispute between Likud Minister Silvan Shalom and Ayalon.
“When Danny Ayalon was ambassador in Washington, he had a bad falling out with his boss then, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom,” Liel told Channel 2 news. “From what I know and remember, when Ayalon finished his assignment, he wanted to join the Likud and was unequivocally vetoed by Shalom.”
“I think those old wounds were opened now,” Liel continued. “Maybe (the removal of Ayalon) was even one of the preconditions for the consolidation of Israel Beiteinu and Likud. That’s how I see it.”
The office of senior Vice Prime Minister and current Minister for Regional Development and the development of the Negev and Galilee Silvan Shalom said in response that they have no knowledge of the allegation. “This misinformation has no connection to reality,” they concluded.
The Foreign Minister’s office was a great deal harsher in its response (you can almost hear the Russian accent emanating from the text): “Alon Liel will say any nonsense to get air time, and he takes advantage of the fact that he served for about three months as director of this ministry to express his insignificant opinions.”
The ministry’s response went on to remind readers that Liel used to head an organization that advocated giving back the Golan Heights to the Syrian regime, “and the consequences of such a move are realized by everyone today.”
You must remember, after sticking in the knife, ya’ gotta’ turn it a couple times…
Incidentally, rumor has it that Liberman and Ayalon were riding together to the press conference where Liberman was about to announce his list of candidates to join the list elected in a democratic primary by Likid members (silly notion, right?), when Liberman turned to his deputy and said, “By the way, you’re not running.”
Again, The Jewish Press source in the foreign ministry says Ayalon had known about his own dismissal for some time. But Ayalon’s facebook page yesterday offered this comment:
“Today, I was informed by Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman that I will not be a candidate for the next Knesset.”
And that’s all she wrote…
Britain is considering withdrawing its ambassador to Israel following the decision to revive settlement building plans, Sky News reported.
The British Government will be deciding today how to respond to Israel’s plan to pick up housing construction in the “controversial” E1 zone, off of East Jerusalem.
Sources have told Sky News that the Foreign Office is considering what action to take saying “all options are on the table”.
This could include withdrawing the British ambassador to Israel and the suspension of trade agreements.
Last Thursday, Netanyahu’s government approved a proposal to build 3,000 additional homes that would effectively cut off Arabs in Bethlehem and East Jerusalem from the PA controlled territory.
Britain’s apparent diplomatic threat comes the day after the settlement plans were condemned by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as an “almost fatal blow” to peace hopes.
Britain’s diplomatic action is likely to be coordinated with other European powers, most notably with France, which is laboring on a joint response.
Except that, according to Israel Today, the French government denied rumors about returning its ambassador from Israel, saying “there are other ways to show our disagreement.”
Sources have described “an appetite for action” within the Foreign Office, which could also mean of “revisiting” the EU’s trade agreements with Israel, or, in other words, reneging on them.
The UK could invoke human rights clauses in those agreement, to suspend the trade association agreements.
Matthew Gould was appointed as Britain’s first Jewish ambassador to Israel in September 2010.
On taking up the post he said: “We come out determined to help build the strongest possible partnership between Britain and Israel, and to help ensure that Britain and Europe do everything they can to help the people of Israel move forward on the difficult path towards peace and lasting security.”
British Ambassador Matthew Gould teamed up with United Hatzalah on emergency medical calls in Tel Aviv last Saturday night, getting a firsthand glimpse of the life-saving work the group does in Israel.
Joining founder and president Eli Beer and volunteer Elad Nissanholtz, Gould shed his business suit and donned street clothes and a helmet, riding to emergencies on the back of a Haztazlah “ambucycle” equipped to provide first aid at a moment’s notice.
Gould’s team responded to a severe car accident, a heart attack, and a 97 year old with breathing difficulties, a total of 6 responses in one shift.
Gould said he was impressed with Hatzalah’s quick treatment, its treatment of people of all races, religions, and nationalities, and its ability to coordinate with Magen David Adom emergency medical services.