Dermer: Israel must speak up on Iran threat

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, said Israel should never be afraid to speak up on issues such as the Iranian threat to the Jewish state.

His address Monday in Chicago at an event sponsored by the local Israel Bonds chapter was his first public comments since Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected prime minister two weeks ago.

Dermer reaffirmed the strong partnership between the United States and Israel, saying that the two countries would “weather the current storm and emerge stronger than ever.” He was referring to the current strained relations between the United States and Israel, including Netanyahu’s controversial speech earlier this month to a joint meeting of Congress in which the Israeli leader criticized the proposed deal between the U.S. and other world powers and Iran on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Dermer came under fire for helping to arrange the speech with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and not informing the Obama administration.

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Referencing the speech, he said in Chicago, “Iran actively works for the annihilation of Israel. Faced with such a threat, Israel should never be afraid to speak up. Israel must speak up.”

Dermer added, “The days when the Jewish people remained silent in the face of genocidal enemies are over.”