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Netanyahu’s View of American Jews

‘Tablet’ profile of Bibi advisor Ron Dermer looks at the Prime Minister’s view of American and Israeli Jews

‘Tablet’ profile of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu senior advisor Ron Dermer writes:


"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.

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