Dermer: Spat Over Iran Deal Proved Strength of U.S.-Israel Alliance

Disagreements with the Obama administration over the past few years attest to the strength of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer said during a speech celebrating Israel’s 68th Independence Day in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

“There is no denying that Israel has had differences with the Obama administration over the best way to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and over the best way to advance a secure peace with the Palestinians,” said Dermer. “But the test of a relationship between two countries is not how strong it is when their two governments see eye-to-eye but rather how strong it is when they don’t – and the relationship between Israel and America has passed that test with flying colors.”

Dermer, the architect of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech to Congress last year, took the opportunity to express Israel gratitude “for its unique friendship
with the United States” and for “many concrete ways President Obama has supported Israel during his Presidency.”

“Israel is deeply grateful for the support of the United States,” the Israeli Ambassador said, expressing hope that Israel and America “will continue to stand side by side for generations to come.”

Also speaking at the embassy’s reception was White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. In his remarks, McDonough said that families often have disagreements, but “we care for each other, we look out for each other and we protect each other.”

“For the president, Israel is not just another foreign policy issue, not a political football,” he said. “He feels this in his kishkes—in his gut.”

Defending the Iran nuclear deal to a mostly skeptical crowd, McDonough said, “Even as we acknowledge that the Iran deal has stirred strong passions, we firmly believe that continuing to implement this deal is the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and keep Israel safe.”

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