“Forget Brazil, Hello New York” (Editorial, March 25), highlights Israel’s lack of credibility when it appoints diplomats such as Dani Dayan — consul general-designee to New York — with his personal views on the two-state solution that are in stark conflict with the purported policy of the State of Israel — and its commitments to the United States and other friends in the international community. Dayan, while emblematic of this larger problem, comes to New York with an even greater challenge.
Unlike some new Israeli diplomats who have simply taken their new positions and sought to ignore the contradictions, Dayan’s statements in recent days place these contradictions front and center. In tweets shortly after his appointment, Dayan declared that he was looking forward to “an inclusive dialogue” with “no exclusions.” However, he also recently declared J Street to be an “un-Jewish” organization that supports “anti-Israel candidates.”
Progressive Zionists, like Ameinu and J Street, and the vast majority of American Jews, defend Israel’s Jewish and democratic future by opposing the occupation and the building of Jewish settlements on Palestinian lands. While Ameinu will seek to meet with Dayan to ensure that he fully appreciates this core American Jewish viewpoint, which is also U.S. policy in the region, he will have an uphill battle to overcome doubts that he can put aside his personal opposition to two states for two peoples – Jewish and Palestinian – and truly engage with the Jewish and broader American communities without insults or prejudice.
How Dayan responds will ultimately define his tenure in New York, but also may finally force the hand of the Netanyahu government to credibly answer the question of Israel’s position in front of the world on two states, Palestinians and peace.
This article originally appeared in The Jewish Week on April 5th, 2016.