Conf. of Presidents Dismayed at Earnest’s Comments About Dermer

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Friday expressed disappointment at comments made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer.

Earnest on Thursday likened the appointment of the new UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, to the appointment of Dermer, when asked if the U.S. administration would be able to work with an individual who has been vocally critical of President Obama.

“I got questions of this variety when Prime Minister Netanyahu had announced that Ambassador Dermer would be the Israeli envoy to the United States,” Earnest said during a White House press briefing on Thursday. “And what I said in that situation is the same thing that I’ll say here, which is to restate a principle about the importance of the U.S.-UK special relationship. That relationship transcends any single personality, and choices that are made by the British government about who will represent them on the international stage are rightly choices that should be made by British leaders, and British leaders alone.”

In a statement issued on Friday, Stephen Greenberg, Conference of Presidents Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, said: “We are disappointed and dismayed at comments made by the White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest responding to a question regarding the appointment of Boris Johnson as the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, in which he drew an inappropriate parallel to the appointment of Ron Dermer as Israel’s ambassador to the United States. These are unrelated events and the comparison unfounded. It appears to be a gratuitous comment and an apology is called for immediately.”

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