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Canadian webinar told US-Iran deal brought Israel and the Arab countries closer

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Danny Danon, Israel’s UN ambassador - probably the loneliest, toughest diplomatic gig in the world, speaks in a webinar to Canadian Jewish groups on August 27, 2020

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Ambassador Danny Danon has been a tireless, often lone voice for Israel at the UN. 

As Israel’s permanent representative at the UN, he has become, besides Prime Minister Netanyahu, the leading, and unyielding, advocate for Israel in international media, as well as in the diplomatic sphere.

In a recent webinar for the Canadian Jewish community, he began by describing what he considers a change in tone in defending Israel: “When we speak about our rights, we get respect. And you will be surprised to hear that we get respect from Muslim ambassadors and leaders.”

He spoke of the positive feedback he would receive, privately, from Muslim diplomats, regarding his UN speeches and advocacy, representing them as saying “we understand you, respect your history, you respect your religion; and, respect your presence in the land of Israel, and we want to hear more about that.”

The Aug. 27 webinar was organized by Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation (CAEF), JNF Canada, and Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights (CILR).

First elected to the Knesset in 2008 under the Likud banner, Danon was made Israel’s Deputy Minister of Defense in 2013. During that time, he was a major voice in the American public relations battle against Iran, in addition to the Obama administration’s US-Iran deal. Danon was later made Minister of Science, Technology and Space.

In August, 2015 he was made Israel’s UN ambassador, probably the loneliest, toughest diplomatic gig in the world. At the UN, Danon faces the most hostile of workplaces. Everyday, he speaks truths to, and singles out, those who despise him. But he has also worked hard to make friends.

In 2016, he was elected Chairman of the UN Legal Committee, the first Israeli to head a permanent committee, and in 2017 he was elected Vice President of the General Assembly. He has overseen the most aggressive bridge-building diplomacy for Israel in decades, making allies for Israel on all continents, even as Western Europe has seen increasing antisemitism.

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Danon described the three pillars he uses in arguing Israel’s rights to critics: the first being the Bible. Even if you don’t believe in it, Danon said, there is still no arguing that this ancient historic document establishes Jewish presence and rights. He calls it “our deed to the land.” 

The second pillar is the historic rights: he points to historic artefacts from all eras, that he shows to diplomats, demonstrating that no one has preceding rights to Jews.

The third pillar is international law. Again, stressing Israel should not be apologetic on this point, he argues that Israel has all the legal documents necessary, from the Balfour Declaration to the San Remo Conference to the UN Charter, which adopted all those prior agreements, that effectively establish legal foundation for Israel.

Danon then moved on to some of his guiding principles and tactics, as a representative of Israel: to be a proud Jew, to highlight his Jewishness in the UN, celebrating Jewish holidays, getting kosher food in the cafeteria, and wearing his kippah when quoting the Bible.

Another method is to bring “Israel to the UN,” meaning, bringing many guest speakers and experts, to show what Israel can do for other countries; and to bring the UN to Israel, hosting over 100 UN ambassadors on visits to the Jewish State.

“It was amazing to see their reaction when they actually walked in the Old City of Jerusalem, and they understood,” he said.

At the UN Danon uses the Bible, law and artefacts to make the case for Israel | Photo: Pixabay

Discussions with international representatives revolved not on security, or the Palestinian deadlock, but on Israeli technology, particularly agricultural, such as irrigation and desalination, and the primacy of this sector in building bilateral relations.

Speaking briefly on the UAE and the recent Abraham Treaty, Danon offered the opinion that the one good thing about the US-Iran deal was bringing Israel and the Arab countries closer.

Describing Israel’s diplomatic success in recent years, Danon pointed out that of 193 countries at the UN, more than 160 have bilateral relations with Israel, and he hopes Israel will be announcing more in the next few weeks.

“I’m optimistic,” Danon said. “I’m optimistic about where we are today. I’m optimistic about us changing the way we speak about our rights to the land.”

After this talk, Andria Spindel of the CAEF led a question and answer session.

Spindel began by asking about Israel’s concession in the Abraham Treaty, to abandon Netanyahu’s push to expand Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

Danon did not directly deal with how this could play out, but stressed that Israel does best when it ignores others’ demands, and acts in its best interest. He gave historic examples, including crediting Prime Minister Olmert for attacking Syrian nuclear facilities, against US pressure.

Asked whether an Arab embassy would ever come to Jerusalem, Danon answered, “it will take time.”

He also spoke about the much-feared backlash to the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem, and how all of this predicted in-the-streets disaster never came to pass; and nevertheless, in came the first new peace treaty with an Arab nation in over twenty years.

Asked about arms sales to the UAE as part of the Abraham Treaty, and the possibilities of the US selling weaponry, Danon pointed to U.S. legislation guaranteeing Israeli consultation and “qualitative edge” regarding American weapon sales.

After saying the words, “I’m optimistic” several times during the webinar, Danon was asked whether Palestinians would join the momentum behind normalizing relations.

“I’m not optimistic,” Danon said, further expounding that he does not see any opportunity for peace with Abbas as Palestinian leader.

On the topic of Canada, Danon said, “Canada is a strong friend of Israel, still, and we appreciate it.”

Sponsors for the webinar included TheJ.ca, as well as the Israeli Consulate General, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, the Toronto Zionist Council, B’nai Brith Canada, the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, JTeach.ca, Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Jews Against Antisemitism Canada, and Israel Truth Week.

David Sachs is a political commentator and activist, and the bestselling author of The Flood, Safari, and Tragically Hip, Twisted: Illustrated Stories Inspired By Hip Songs. His blog and articles are at www.davidsachs.com

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Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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