The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Bibi’s Brain believes in Israel’s “superpower birthright”

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What Israel lacks in size, it more than makes up for in ambition. Tablet Magazine has a fascinating profile of Netanyahu’s top advisor and speechwriter, Ron Dermer:

Dermer still thinks of himself as an American, and he still defines his political decisions by Washington standards. “When I think about Israel, I always ask myself, I call it the WWAD question: ‘What would America do?’ ” he said, smacking the desk with his palms for added effect. “As somebody born and raised in the United States, I have absolutely no doubt that America would take more forceful action if faced by the threats facing Israel.”

Netanyahu, who lived in New York and Philadelphia as a kid and went to college and graduate school at MIT, hardly needs an American like Dermer to help him speak American. Dermer offers the Israeli prime minister something deeper. He embodies the ideal combination of intellectual pedigree, physical prowess, and family commitment prized by Israelis of Netanyahu’s generation. He shares—and, by his choice to become Israeli, affirms—Netanyahu’s conviction about the outsize role that Israel plays in the grand sweep not just of Jewish history, but also of Western history. Perhaps most important, 15 years after moving to Israel, Dermer retains the brash confidence of a born Yankee—a quality that’s harder to pick up than an accent and precious to a politician like Netanyahu, who plainly yearns for his fellow Israeli Jews to feel they share the same superpower birthright as their American cousins.

As one long-time observer of Israeli politics noted, “If you look at Ron, you see Bibi.” This week, when the prime minister addresses the member states of the United Nations, amid heated debate and a potential vote on Palestinian statehood, the face the world will see will be Netanyahu’s, but the words they hear—many of them, at least—will be Dermer’s.


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 21, 2011 at 11:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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