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More Trouble Ahead

Romney-israel--2
Newscom / Lior Mizrahi

1. Dermer, who immigrated from the U.S. in 1997, is clearly identified by the Obama administration as a supporter of the Republican party. His family in Miami Beach have close ties with the Bush family, particularly with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who's name has been mentioned as one of a number of possible contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

2. Aside from identifying him as a Republican supporter, many Democrats see Dermer as the brains behind Netanyahu's support for Mitt Romney. An article published in Tablet Magazine a few months before the elections revealed that Dermer was the one who conceived and planned Romney's visit to Israel in July this year, along with Dan Senor, an advisor to Romney:

"Romney's visit is the brainchild of two other men: Ron Dermer, the American-born political operative who is Netanyahu's chief strategist and speechwriter and, more importantly, Dan Senor, a Republican politico-turned-investor who is a close adviser to the Romney campaign.

But the current trip, coming so late in the campaign season, was planned quietly, for fear of provoking a possible last-minute visit by President Obama. Late last month, while Senor was in Jerusalem for his niece's bat mitzvah, he met Dermer for breakfast at the King David Hotel; a few days later, with the Romney campaign's blessing, Dermer gave the scoop to the New York Times."


3. Dermer is also the person who tried to convince Netanyahu by any means possible that Romney was set to win the elections. We saw what happened in the end. With the Obama starting his second term in the White House, it will be hard for Dermer to develop a network of trusted and intimate contacts among the president's most senior advisors.

You'll note that I highlighted that line at the end -- that Dermer was apparently a major unskewer and convinced Netanyahu that Romney was going to win big. The Haaretz piece also notes that Dermer manages to be wildly more right-wing in his policies than Netanyahu himself, which is saying something -- though Netanyahu's own politics, as distinct from whatever coalition he's running have always been a little obscure to me. In any case, it's generally seen as a bad step to appoint to an ambassador who is seen as being openly hostile to the head of state in the home country. It sounds like another case of the profound damage Netanyahu is doing to Israel by his stance toward the country's primary and perhaps soon only major ally.