Brazil is not interested in having a right wing settler envoy as Israel’s ambassador and Israel won’t take “No” for an answer. A diplomatic crisis has been unfolding between the two countries since last August when Netanyahu publicly announced the appointment of Dani Dayan, the former head the Yesha Council from 2007 to 2013, as Israel’s next ambassador to Brazil — without first consulting the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.
The Yesha Council is the foremost umbrella organization representing the settler/colonialist movement which promotes the establishment and maintenance of illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Reportedly, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff rejected the proposition in September expressing concerns it would “be understood as support of Israeli settlements“. At the time Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon contacted Brazilian Defense Minister Jaques Wagner, Brazil’s most senior and influential Jewish politician. Ya’alon implored Wagner for Brazil’s formal acceptance of Dayan’s appointment but no acceptance was forthcoming. Wagner was promoted to President Rousseff’s chief of staff in October and stopped taking Ya’alon calls. By November his staff informed the Israeli Embassy to “Stop calling.. We know what Ya’alon wants to talk about. If we need to, we’ll get back to him.”
Reportedly, in what Haaretz referenced as a “leak”, a Brazilian official told The Times of Israel that Brazil (still) rejects the Dani Dayan’s appointment, they were “angry at choice of settler leader”, and waiting “until Jerusalem gets the hint and proposes a different envoy to its capital”.
That doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Last week Barak Ravid reported in Haaretz’s “The Brazilian Crisis” that “Jerusalem understood it had a problem” but there’s no sign out of Israel they are considering a different envoy. Instead they are digging in their heels.
Ravid interviewed Dayan in a followup article who said if Israel doesn’t fight for his appointment, Brazil’s rejection could set a precedent for other countries barring settlers from representing Israel in the future. He says he is “fighting for the next ambassador who is a settler“:
“From the standpoint of conscience and ideology, I am not prepared to allow myself to be the one who creates the precedent that a resident of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] or even the chairman of the Yesha Council can’t represent the government of Israel abroad.”…..
“The Israeli response to the current instance will determine how the host country for the next ambassador from Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] is appointed, or heaven forbid, create a reality in which hundreds of thousands of Israelis are disqualified from serving as ambassadors because of their place of residence and that Israel will be reconciled to it,” he said.
Indeed, heaven forbid.
And in the latest development, over the weekend Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Israel’s Channel 10 Dayan wouldn’t be replaced as Israel’s nominee. Instead, her ministry has an “action plan” to start pressuring Brazil to approve Dayan’s appointment.
The first stage of the proposed plan involves summoning the Brazilian ambassador in Israel immediately after the first of the year, when he would be told that the failure to grant consent to Dayan’s appointment would result in a severe crisis between the two countries.
At the same time, the Israeli embassy in Brasilia is to initiate activity vis-à-vis the Jewish community and friends of Israel in Brazil to enlist their support for Dayan’s appointment. The embassy is also to work with Brazilian members of parliament urging them to publicly support Dayan as ambassador. One of the messages that will be conveyed to the Brazilians is that Dayan’s nomination has support from across the political spectrum in Israel, Hotovely noted.
“The Foreign Ministry will use all the tools at its disposal to have Dani Dayan’s appointment go through,” she said. “The state of Israel will not accept the phenomenon of disqualifying an ambassador over [his] ideological background, and we will act through diplomatic means to make that known in the clearest fashion.”
This looks like a showdown in the making because Brazil has not budged. Hotovely (who dreams to see the Israeli flag flying at Al Aqsa/Temple Mount”) has also threatened to downgrade relations with Brazil if the confirmation doesn’t go through.
Brazil is Israel’s second largest trading partner in South America providing Brazil with avionics technology for their aerospace and defense industry. But things have been chilled between the two countries for the last few years. Brazil pulled their ambassador out of Tel Aviv during the height of Israel’s 2014 summer slaughter in Gaza, citing disproportionate force. Israel responded by calling Brazil an “irrelevant diplomatic partner” and a “diplomatic dwarf.”
It’s likely whatever technology Brazil imports from Israel can be found elsewhere. According to Reuters “Celso Amorim, a former Brazilian foreign and defense minister, said on Friday that the diplomatic dispute over Dayan’s appointment showed that “it is time the Brazilian armed forces reduced their dependence on Israel.”
That sounds like a good idea. I hope other countries follow suit.
For a refresher on Yesha Council groupthink, we recommend Occupation Shmuccupation, the hasbara children’s book that teaches “there is no such thing as the State of Palestine” and “there is no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” – indoctrinating kids against Palestinians, Arabs and “leftist groups”.