One-on-One with Danny Danon

The Fellowship  |  March 23, 2018

Danny Danon at the UN

This weekend, The Fellowship is honored to have Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, attend our Together in Fellowship Gala, celebrating 70 years of Israel’s independence and 35 years of The Fellowship lifesaving work. And today, we are also glad to bring you our good friend JNS’ Sean Savage’s interview with Danon on topics such as stopping Iran, preventing international anti-Israel bias, and the refreshing relationship between Israel and the United States:

Q: In the past two-and-a-half years, you have been selected to the U.N. Legal Committee and as vice president of the General Assembly—positions no Israeli ambassador has held before. At the same time, we have seen continued anti-Israel resolutions in UNESCO and the U.N. Human Rights Council’s blacklist. Do you feel that the environment is changing there?

A: I think what we have seen in the last two years is that we were able to change the atmosphere in the U.N. While you still have one-sided decisions against Israel, we were able to take the lead and initiative. We have had many events initiated in the U.N., [and] the fact that I was elected for the first time to chair a U.N. committee was a very important step for us.

I think today in terms of the atmosphere, it is different because of all the activities we have had. For instance, we are going to hold an event about water technology with the president of the general assembly, and many speakers and experts from Israel. Then we will actually have a [Passover] seder inside of the U.N. with diplomats and ambassadors.

We have ongoing activities that enable us to tell the true story about Israel. The U.N. isn’t anymore a place where you only see Israel-bashing.

Q: It is no secret that Haley has shaken things up at the United Nations. Can you describe your relationship with her and any initiatives you are working on jointly to counter anti-Israel bias?

A: We appreciate the new spirit of ambassador Nikki Haley; she has been very important and helpful. It is a two-way relationship as well. We were the only country to stand with the U.S. and vote against Resolution 11967, which condemns U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba.

It is a real partnership, and we are grateful for that. We work very closely with ambassador Haley and her team. We see similar issues, and understand the challenges and threats. That’s why you see the cooperation because we come from the same values.

Q: What are your thoughts on President Donald Trump’s ultimatum on the Iran nuclear deal?

A: Our position about the Iran deal is very clear. As the [Israeli] prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] said, we should either fix it or nix it. And I think the approach by President Trump is the right approach. You cannot ignore it. Some European countries tend to think they can ignore it, and everything will be OK. But that is not the case, and we believe that U.S. leadership is capable of changing the reality.

Q: Given Russia and China’s veto power in the U.N., what can be done against Iran?

A: I think that the U.N. should look at the existing Security Council resolutions that are not being accepted by the Iranians—the ballistic-missiles tests and other decisions of supporting terrorism in the region. They can start with enforcing those resolutions…

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