The new Israeli consul general to New York, Dani Dayan, arrived at his job week ago with a long record of intolerant rightwing ideas. “Dayan categorically opposes the creation of a Palestinian state in the occupied territories or self-determination of any kind for Palestinians inside historic Palestine.”
Because Dayan is a settler in an illegal Israeli colony in Palestinian territory, Ma’ale Shomron, and he has worked as a leading spokesman for the settlements, Brazil rejected Dani Dayan as ambassador just last spring. Our report:
Dayan is best known as the most successful advocate for Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied territories. He worked for the settler public relations firm, the Yesha Council, for 13 years years, of which the last five he severed as the group’s chairman before stepping down to begin a term as a foreign media advisor to Netanyahu.
Under Dayan’s tenure the Yesha Council was coined the “foreign ministry” for Israel’s settler movement…
For years, Dani Dayan was the West Bank settler movement’s face to the outside world. Next week, he’ll become the face of Israel to much of North America… Dayan’s appointment reflects the settler movement’s strong influence in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
The week he arrived, Dayan got to work, criticizing Palestinians on Huffington Post and, once again, seeking to legitimize settlements:
a Palestinian State does not exist because our neighbors have always preferred to continue their struggle to eliminate Israel from the map, instead of taking any of the far-reaching offers made to them by successive Israeli governments….
I will not engage the hate-filled demagogues, because it is totally futile and because they don’t deserve it.
However, I definitely see as my duty to dedicate a large share of my time and effort to those on the fence, to the disenchanted lovers of Israel, to those that want to support Israel but don’t always comprehend all its policies
Yesterday Dayan reached out to New Yorkers. And where Brazil failed him, New York embraced him. Here, surprisingly, is the liberal Forward editor, Jane Eisner, meeting Dayan.
“It was a pleasure to host you!” Eisner tweeted.
Historian and editor Jonathan Cohn took exception:
Isn't the Forward supposed to be at least nominally progressive? https://t.co/W06WlqqOqN
— Jonathan Cohn (@JonathanCohn) August 12, 2016
In meeting Dayan, Eisner risks alienating liberal Jews, who oppose Dayan’s attitudes, according to predictions made to the Associated Press by liberal Zionists Steven M. Cohen and Peter Beinart:
Peter Beinart, a prominent liberal commentator, predicted Dayan will be welcomed by the mainstream American Jewish leadership and socially conservative Orthodox Jews.
But “for progressive Jews, he’ll be just one more reason to feel alienated from a government they already consider morally alien,” Beinart said.
Dayan also met yesterday with an orthodox Jew, New York City councilman David Greenfield, who represents a heavily-Jewish district in Brooklyn and who once worked for Joe Lieberman’s presidential ambitions. Greenfield gushed:
— David G. Greenfield (@NYCGreenfield) August 11, 2016
Scott Roth, our publisher, promptly pointed out:
Yeah, brag about the fact you’re hanging with a criminal of international law. Only in America.
That got under Greenfield’s skin. He responded:
The great thing about America is that YOU have right to lie about anyone. However, your lies are just that – lies
Roth then added:
And that folks who have value systems antithetical to that of this country’s can still hold office.
Scott, your tweets don’t even make sense. I get it: you don’t like Israel. But why do you need to lie?
Roth isn’t lying. Forty Brazilian former diplomats cited Dayan’s flouting of international law when Israel was going to send Dayan to Brazil.
The diplomats state their opposition to Dayan’s appointment especially because of his role among the settler movement, since he presided the Yesha Council between 2007 and 2013 and still lives in a settlement, Ma’ale Shomron, in territories that Brazil has recognized as part of the State of Palestine since 2010. In addition, the diplomats remember, Dayan also has stated his opposition to the establishment of the Palestinian state.
It’s disappointing that a progressive New York editor and a NY city councilman are meeting with a settler spokesperson. But it is good news that they are getting called on it by smart editors and publishers on line. Others will surely think twice about posing smiling with international offenders.