Avner Inbar is the Co-Chair and Co-Founder of Molad, a Jerusalem-based progressive think tank.
Of course he wants peace with Palestinians. He supports Israel negotiating with Palestinians, Jews talking with Arabs, Israel embracing the Arab Peace Initiative, and Fatah unifying with Hamas.
But some kinds of dialogue are out of bounds.
In an audio recording published in Makor Rishon, Inbar says to a group of American Jews that they must not speak to Israel’s New York Consul-General Dani Dayan.
Dayan, you see, is a settler, which makes him far more toxic than Arabs who cheer killing Jews. He told the American leftists that they have to choose sides between his position and that of a representative of the Israeli government. Which is sort of amazing for someone who claims to support Israel.
And what really got him upset was an article in Haaretz that showed that despite Dayan’s personal opinions, he has been very effective in speaking to – liberal American Jews.
“I have a lot of respect for Dani Dayan,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president and founder of J Street, the largest Jewish group focused on promoting a two-state solution and opposing the settlements. “We don’t agree politically on almost anything, but as a diplomat, his approach has been exactly the right one for the State of Israel.”…
A participant in one of those conversations said “what I liked about it, was that he [Dayan] didn’t try to sell us the usual explanations about how much the current government wants the two-state solution to happen. He didn’t do hasbara on us. He just said — ‘listen, you and I are probably not going to agree when it comes to the settlements and the conflict. I’m here representing the government’s line, and you have a different line — and that’s okay. But let’s try to find areas where we can work together.’ There was something honest and refreshing about his approach.”
So there is a clear consensus among leading Jewish figures in New York that Dayan’s first year in town was a success: He arrived with the “settler thing,” as one leader described it, hovering over his appointment, and has overcome suspicions and built strong relationships all across the city and state.
Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, was quoted in the Haaretz article as well as being against speaking to Dayan.
So a charming Israeli diplomat is more dangerous to some leftist Jews than Arabs are. Good to know that the “ultra-right” Dayan is more interested in dialogue with those he disagrees with than some so-called liberals are.
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