The news that Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, intends to accept an award from the Center for Security Policy (CSP) – an organization known to be a mouthpiece for anti-Muslim hate speech – is deeply troubling.
This is no place for Israel’s ambassador. NIF urges Ambassador Dermer to reject the award and condemn CSP and Gaffney’s bigotry.
Israel’s ambassador is charged with representing the Israeli government abroad and tasked with diplomacy. To associate Israel with such a group doesn’t just reveal poor strategic thinking. It damages Israel’s standing in the global community and its ability to relate to the predominantly-Muslim nations that surround it. It shows an abandonment of the values of pluralism and religious freedom Americans and Israelis hold dear. It risks exacerbating tensions with the Palestinians who live under Israel’s occupation.
And, crucially, it is a betrayal of nearly one-fifth of Israel’s citizens, who are Muslim.
Israel is a shared society that includes within it many different communities. Muslim Israelis account for 18% of Israel’s population. Mr. Dermer is in Washington as their ambassador as well — he should take that responsibility seriously.
This move is shockingly ill-informed and potentially seriously damaging. Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership, tensions have grown worse between Israel’s Jewish majority and its Palestinian citizen minority. It’s time for the prime minister, and his envoy in Washington, to change course.
As a start, Ambassador Dermer must condemn anti-Muslim hatred and decline the award from the Center for Security Policy.