Last night, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, received an award from the Center for Security Policy, a group whose main focus, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “has been on demonizing Islam and Muslims under the guise of national security.” The Anti-Defamation League has said that the group’s founder, Frank Gaffney, advances “myriad conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim extremism.”
Dermer’s acceptance of this award is just the latest sign that he is completely out of touch with the values and concerns of the vast majority of American Jews, who oppose rising Islamophobia and discrimination in our country, and worry about the future of the two-state solution.
We’ve seen it in his defense of Steve Bannon, President-elect Trump’s senior strategist, who has been denounced by American Jewish groups for peddling bigotry, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. We’ve seen it in his refusal to acknowledge our concerns or answer our questions about the effects of ongoing settlement expansion and home demolitions in the West Bank, like the proposed demolition of the village of Susya, which could move forward as early as this week. And we’ve seen it in Dermer’s refusal to meet with the pro-Israel, pro-peace American Jews of J Street and J Street U, even as he has plenty of time for Islamophobic extremists.
That’s why J Street U decided we needed to take action to help the Ambassador get a sense of the values and concerns that he has been ignoring. Last year, he had the Israeli embassy send out Hanukkah gift baskets filled with products made over the Green Line, in settlements. This year, we’ve decided to send him our own Hanukkah basket, filled with items that represent our principles of justice, tolerance and equality, and which convey our hopes and concerns for Israel’s future.
The contents of this basket include:
We hope the Ambassador will enjoy these gifts – and use them to gain a better understanding of American Jews and our values, and the ways in which his actions have consistently failed to live up to them.
Learn more about J Street U - the student organizing arm of J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.