Israel won’t suffer for tight ties with Trump, says ex-UN envoy Danny Danon

When it comes to Israel, Danny Danon says the country’s supporters in the U.S. put their domestic politics aside.

By Associated Press

Israel’s returning ambassador to the United Nations affirmed the country’s bond with the Trump administration Tuesday, dismissing notions that Israel would pay a price for its tight ties with the president.

In his first comprehensive interview since returning from the diplomatic posting, Danny Danon said he was relieved that certain factions in the Democratic Party failed to secure the party’s nomination, adding that Israel can prosper with either President Donald Trump or challenger Joe Biden in the White House.

When it comes to Israel, he says the country’s supporters in the U.S. put their domestic politics aside.

“We have bipartisan support and we value and we cherish it,” he said, at a temporary office near his home in central Israel. “I spoke publicly against Mr. Bernie Sanders. But he wasn’t elected. Mr. Biden is a friend of Israel and he proved it over the years. So, yes, we hear those voices, the radical voices, but they’re not the majority in the Democratic Party.”

According to Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the far-left J Street lobbying group in Washington, which has close ties to the Democratic Party, Israeli officials would be making a “huge mistake” to expect that all of the clashes with Barack Obama and close ties with Trump will be forgotten if Biden is elected president.

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Netanyahu has emerged as one of Trump’s strongest international allies after openly clashing with Obama, who is rumored to have harbored personal animosity for the Israeli leader, according to attorney Alan Dershowitz.

During Trump’s time in office, Netanyahu has enjoyed a slew of diplomatic achievements, most notably recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the moving of the American embassy there.

The Democratic Party recently unveiled its Middle East platform, which largely adhered to its traditional approach of calling for a two-state solution. But the party’s so-called “progressive” wing, led by Sanders, has urged that American military aid be conditioned on changes in Israeli policy, including jettisoning its plans to extend sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Netanyahu dispatched Danon to serve as ambassador to the United Nations, a position that 30 years earlier launched Netanyahu’s own political career.

Danon worked closely with his U.S. counterparts, including the former ambassador Nikki Haley, and forged close ties with Arab ambassadors, especially from Gulf states that do not have formal relations with Israel. He also took pride in becoming the first Israeli elected to head a permanent U.N. committee, despite the “hostile” environment at the international body.

Armed with that new perspective after five years in New York, Danon said he is eager to get back into the Israeli political game and hinted that he considers himself a potential successor to Netanyahu.

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“Eventually, there will be another leader of the Likud,” said the soft-spoken Danon. “I support the prime minister. But at the same time, in the Likud party, I think we have to think about the future, about the next generation.”