J Street notes with deep concern the appointment of former settlement leader Dani Dayan as Israel’s Consul General in New York, home to the largest Jewish community in the world outside of Israel itself.
Though the Prime Minister of Israel continues to express his concern that Israel not become a binational state, he is sending as his envoy to New York a man who served for years as chairman of the settlers’ council and who revels in predicting the demise of the two-state solution.
Dayan is but the latest appointment to a senior diplomatic post of an adamant opponent of the two-state solution, whose posting will serve to inflame opponents of Israel’s policies rather than signal a desire to heal the growing divisions between the world’s two largest Jewish communities.
In the last year, Danny Danon, a vocal opponent of the two-state solution, was appointed Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, pointedly sent out a gift package filled with settlement products made in “Judea and Samaria.” Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy (and acting) foreign minister, told Israeli diplomats that they must be willing to tell the world: “This country is all ours. We didn’t come here to apologize for that.”
All of these actions send the message that Israel’s government is far more serious about legitimizing and entrenching settlements than they are about the two-state solution to which the Prime Minister maintains he is at least nominally committed.
Of course, Prime Minister Netanyahu has the right to appoint whoever he wishes to diplomatic posts – just as we have the right to express our concern.
To Dayan’s credit, we note that he has shown himself willing to engage in dialogue and debate with those he disagrees with, including J Street. This trait is vital for a diplomat, and we welcome the opportunity to meet and engage with Dayan, even as we strongly disagree with many of his positions and beliefs.
Dayan will need his capacity for dialogue in his conversations with the many Americans and American Jews who are alarmed at the Israeli government’s commitment to the settlements and its refusal to acknowledge the occupation’s cost to Israel’s security and international position.