With the end of Michael Oren’s term of service as Israeli Ambassador to the United States, the government has tapped Ron Dermer as his successor, and a more controversial pick is hard to imagine.
Dermer is a long-standing Netanyahu ally, which surely was the deciding factor in his getting the position, but he is also considered a neo-conservative with close ties to US Republican leaders, and a history of pushing Netanyahu’s rivalry with President Obama.
Dermer was reportedly the driving force behind Israeli claims that Obama “snubbed” Netanyahu during the premier’s US visits, and also worked to convince Netanyahu that Governor Mitt Romney was certain to win the 2012 election, urging him to distance himself from Obama and cozy up to his presumptive successor.
His inclination to swing right in US partisan politics may make it difficult for him to insinuate himself into diplomatic circles for the remainder of Obama’s term, but even more disturbing are his policy positions within Israel, putting him well to the hawkish-right of even Netanyahu.
Israeli diplomats in the US are often tasked to convince Americans that Israel seriously wants peace and that the lack thereof is totally the Palestinians’ fault. Dermer will be a tough sell in that job, as an outspoken opponent of peace with the Palestinians who insists that “two states for two people” is a “childish” notion not even worthy of Israeli consideration.