Since he became Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. in 2014, Ron Dermer has said several times that “Israel will be the most important ally of the United States in the 21st century.” Speaking to the American Jewish Committee last week, the ambassador spelled that out, saying that Israel is more important than Britain because it exceeds Britain in the technology department:
The reason why I believe that Israel is going to be the most important ally is for two reasons, security and technology…
If you are the president of the United States and you have to pick one country in the world to choose as your security partner for the next 50 years, who is it going to be? … Think about where the threats are going to be emanating from for the next half century or so, at least for the next few decades. Think about a country that has a powerful military where you won’t have to send your sons and daughters and put boots on the ground to defend her. Think about a country with a powerful and first-class intelligence agency that can not only provide intelligence to protect its own country but can pass intelligence to you to help keep your people safe and keep your allies safe. Think about a country with a serious cyber capability cause we’re going into a world where more and more of those threats are happening in cyber space– and who are you going to choose?
And if people are really honest about it, beyond the disagreement about this or that policy between governments, there’s really only two countries, Britain and Israel, those are the two that are left when you just think about security. Now think to yourself, If you could choose one technology partner, over the next 50 years, when you’re thinking not only about the remarkable technologies in agriculture, in water, cyber is another area, but all these technologies of the future, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, Israel –as you know we sent a craft to the moon. Now as far as I’m concerned, Israel landed on the moon. We crash landed, but we landed…. So we’ll have a soft landing eventually [“Two years,” interjects David Harris of American Jewish Committee], but think about it. What are the countries that have done that? U.S., Russia, China, Israel. You are in a very very elite group and when it comes to technology, who are your allies on that short list. It’s Israel.
So Israel will be the most important ally of the United States in the 21st century, I am supremely confident of that, regardless of this or that disagreement we may have with different governments. Different governments in Israel, different governments in the United States.
Dermer repeatedly diminished U.S. progressives’ criticisms of Israeli policies of discrimination and repression of Palestinians. The Miami-born diplomat said that the gap between Democratic and Republican support for Israel in polls has always been there, and it’s big now because the right is more approving than ever. Republicans feel complete affinity with Israel: “We are facing the same enemies, confronting the same challenges.” But he said Democrats can be won over despite a hostile media. “Israel is the only source for progressive values in the Middle East. It’s the only place where you have real rights for women, real rights for minorities. They say Israel has the largest Gay Pride parade in the Middle East. Talk about a low bar!”
After an earlier iteration of this speech, Dermer got pushback from one left commentator: Israel is not looking to “help carry out our agenda; they’re looking to push us to carry out their agenda,” he wrote. “Dermer’s master Netanyahu has proved quite inventive in coming up with these security challenges for us.”