Ask yourself what Ron Dermer, adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would have said had the president of the United States appointed as his ambassador to Israel an Israeli émigré known for his leftist views, somewhere between left-wing Meretz and the communist/non-Zionist Hadash party. What would the pro-Netanyahu Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom have written if a senior White House adviser working to undermine Netanyahu’s re-election as prime minister had been named US ambassador to Israel? What would Deputy Minister of Transportation Tzipi Hotovely of the Likud party have had to say about President Barack Obama’s choice of a senior official who had been involved in the invitation of a rival party leader to a much-publicized Washington visit at the height of the Israeli election campaign? How would the Israeli public have reacted to the nomination of an Israeli citizen who gave up his Israeli citizenship (a so-called “yored,” a pejorative term for someone who leaves Israel) to be the ambassador of a foreign country in Tel Aviv?
The criticism of Dermer’s appointment as Israeli ambassador to the United States does not concern his diplomatic skills or his experience in diplomacy. The frequent visits of Secretary of State John Kerry to the region and the long private talks that he conducts with Netanyahu epitomize the depreciation of the contributions made by ambassadors to the dialogue between Washington and Jerusalem.