Israel’s new UN ambassador: The best defense is a good offense

The Likud minister-turned-UN-ambassador outlines his upcoming strategy as he leaves for his new assignment in the world forum.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel’s incoming UN ambassador believes that Israel’s position at the world forum can improve by using a proactive strategy instead of a reactive one, Israel Hayom reported Thursday.

“Be on the offensive and not on the defensive. Maintain dignity, respectfully represent the State, and completely avoid a defensive stance. Always prefer the offensive position,” said Gilad Erdan, who landed in New York Tuesday with his family to settle in before taking up his newest post.

This was his policy for the last five years as a top minister in the government as well, he noted.

“This was also my line as Strategic Affairs Minister. Attack all boycotts against Israel and BDS actions, all of which are hypocrisy and spreading lies,” he said.

Erdan believes in this strategy even while acknowledging that he will be dealing with matters critical to the country’s security in an antagonistic atmosphere.

“Issues with existential implications for Israel are at stake,” he said, giving as an example the upcoming fight in the UN to extend the conventional weapons ban on the most serious enemy Israel faces at present.

“The arms embargo on Iran is set to expire on October 18th,” he said. “If that happens, Iran could buy advanced aircraft and submarines. The United States is trying to extend the embargo, but it’ll probably run into difficulties in the Security Council.”

Erdan, who has no diplomatic background, believes that the knowledge and experience he has gained in the last half decade talking to government officials from all over the world as strategic affairs minister will stand him in excellent stead for his current job.

In an interview with Yediot Ahronot in May, when he accepted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer to replace Danny Danon, he mentioned several arenas in which he has fought for Israel. This included the push to defang the BDS movement, the legal struggle against the attempt of the chief prosecutor in the International Criminal Court in the Hague to charge Israel with war crimes, and the battle to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“It’s undoubtedly a huge challenge that will require a lot of effort; I’m willing to make that effort,” he said at the time.

Erdan is also set to become ambassador to the United States in January, following the American elections. The double role could only last several months, as Benny Gantz is slated to become prime minister in November 2021 (barring new elections). According to the coalition agreement, he will be entitled to select the next Israeli ambassador to the U.S.