A select assembly of Washington D.C. heavy hitters recently attended a Rosh Hashanah event at which Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer discussed alleged dangers posed by Iran, Syria, and Russia. In some places Dermer appeared to be laying out a rationale for another Israeli war.
According to JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency), the event is an annual affair “to which the embassy invites the U.S. Jewish leadership.” Dermer’s speeches typically seem intended to create a feeling of shared concern for Israel, saying, for example, “Let us all raise a glass and toast the fact that the Jewish people are voiceless no more. Israel has provided us with a shofar, with a sovereign voice among the nations.” Dermer himself was born and raised in the U.S.
Among those attending the invitation-only gathering this year were approximately 20 journalists, many connected to top U.S. print and broadcast media (including Wolf Blitzer, Eli Lake, Cliff May); numerous government officials and politicians (Congressmen, diplomats, White House insiders, senior staff, political operatives); and heads of major U.S. national organizations, philanthropists, and influential religious leaders.
Dermer’s speech began on a convivial note – “Remember, on Rosh Hashana, you’re allowed to eat, drink and even laugh”– but soon became serious as he gave dire warnings about alleged dangers Israel faces, and the need for Americans to help.
Iran was the main villain to be protected against, with Syria and Russia allegedly dangerous abettors that also need to be addressed.
“The past year has posed many critical challenges for Israel,” Dermer intoned. “Foremost among those challenges has been the rising power of Iran.”
(This is very much in line with Israeli thinking; Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper recently reported: “Iran is the primary target of the Mossad’s actions, which number in the hundreds and thousands each year.” Netanyahu reportedly calls the Mossad Israel’s “synchronized fist.”)
Dermer claimed that the Iran deal had been a “double jackpot” for Iran (many U.S. analysts disagree, including some Israel partisans and top U.S. generals). Dermer charged that the deal had enabled Iran to spend “much of the past year consolidating its power across the Middle East.”
Next came the not-so-subtle call to action.
“Israel hopes that the coming weeks will bring about a dramatic change in the trajectory of that deal that will ultimately either fix it or cancel it,” Dermer said, making clear what was required of Americans who care about Israel.