Israeli envoy: Netanyahu-Obama relations are ‘good, given the circumstances’

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer. Credit: Facebook.

(Bradley Martin/JNS.org) Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said he believes the relationship between the two nations is as strong as ever despite the history of tension between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama.

“Of course, we have differences of opinion with regard to peace with the Palestinians and the Iran nuclear deal. But ultimately, I believe the relationship between America and Israel is strong enough to weather any such differences of opinion,” Dermer told an audience of 800 people at the Media Leadership Dinner of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) International Christian Media Convention.

The American-born Dermer was confirmed as ambassador in July 2013, replacing former envoy Michael Oren, who also born in the U.S. While he remains critical of the Obama administration-brokered Iran nuclear deal as well as the administration’s support for a Palestinian state, Dermer denied any rupture in relations between the two leaders. 

“The current status [between the Netanyahu and Obama administrations] has been good, given the circumstances,” said Dermer. 

The Israeli ambassador spoke of the greater danger that Iran poses due to the recent lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic by the U.S. and other world powers.

“Not many people know this: In the last few years, Iran has perpetrated terror attacks in 25 countries on five continents. An Iran free of sanctions will be far richer and more dangerous to Israel, to the region and to the world,” said Dermer.

“Our main concern [with the nuclear agreement] was, and still remains, not that Iran is going to violate the deal and get to the bomb, but that they can get to the bomb by keeping the deal,” he added. “I am very proud that my prime minister made that case, and I think that history will judge him very kindly for having done so.”

Besides his criticism of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal, Dermer has not shied away from publicizing other political disagreements with the administration, including on Obama’s position regarding Jewish communities in the disputed territories. In a move that targeted the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, Dermer last December sent products made in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights as holiday gifts.

NRB is a non-partisan, international association of evangelical Christian communicators who come together “to spread the life-changing Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through every electronic medium available,” the group’s website says.

Bradley Martin is a fellow for the Haym Salomon Center and research assistant for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

Posted on February 24, 2016 .