Start mending U.S. rift by firing ambassador, Zionist Union lawmaker urges Netanyahu

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli lawmaker called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire the country’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer.

Firing Dermer would be a first step to repairing the U.S.-Israel relationship, Erel Margalit of the Zionist Union party said in a letter sent to Netanyahu on Wednesday.

Dermer played a key role in organizing and preparing Netanyahu’s controversial speech to a joint meeting of Congress earlier this month. Neither the White House nor congressional Democrats were informed of the address warning against a nuclear agreement with Iran, bucking President Barack Obama’s policy of diplomacy.

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“The loss of trust between the U.S. leadership and Israel’s leadership is dangerous for the country,” Margalit said in his letter, urging Netanyahu to “rehabilitate” the relationship.

Margalit said that Dermer “has served in the United States willingly and with loyalty,” and that Netanyahu has given Dermer his “full faith and trust,” as is to be expected.

“It is clear that Ambassador Dermer had a hand in recent events and it seriously hurt his ability to act in his official capacity in the United States. Even now, the doors to the White House and the State Department are closed to him, the U.S. Administration does not have faith in him and does not see him as a partner,” Margalit wrote.

“When an Israeli ambassador is a persona non grata, it endangers Israel,” he wrote, requesting that Netanyahu recall Dermer and replace him with “a diplomat that will be accepted by those with whom he must work.”

“It will prove that Israel is not determined to destroy our relationship with the US and instead is looking to rebuild trust with our greatest and most important ally in the world.”

Margalit was elected to the Knesset in 2013 from the Labor Party, which teamed with Hatnuah in last week’s elections to form Zionist Union.