Interview
Brazil Controversy: Traitors or Legitimate Protest?

Three ex-ambassadors asked Brazil to reject Dani Dayan as envoy because he is a 'settler.' One tells Arutz Sheva why he did it.

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Nitsan Keidar, Gil Ronen,

Dani Dayan
Dani Dayan
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Three former Israeli ambassadors and other leftist activists have asked the Brazilian government not to approve the appointment of Dani Dayan as Israel's ambassador to Brasilia.

Dayan lives in Ma’ale Shomron in Samaria, and is a former chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, also known as the Yesha Council.

One of the three ex-ambassadors, Alon Liel, who is also a former Foreign Ministry director-general, told Arutz Sheva Monday that the initiative is meant to draw attention to the plan for a two-state solution and reflects the "panic" that he and other proponents of the idea are currently in.

Haaretz reported Monday that in a meeting two weeks ago with the Brazilian ambassadors to Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), the ambassadors and activists said that agreeing to Dayan’s appointment would give legitimacy to the settlement enterprise.

The campaign against Dayan's appointment is reportedly being run by the diplomatic committee of the Peace NGO Forum, an organization that coordinates activities between Israeli and Palestinian NGOs that support a two-state solution. The forum is headed by former Meretz MK Mossi Raz.

The other senior diplomats who are lobbying against Dayan's appointment, besides Liel, are former ambassador to South Africa Ilan Baruch, and former ambassador to France Eli Bar-Navi.

Several Brazilian members of parliament are reportedly exerting pressure on President Dilma Rousseff to reject Dayan's appointment.

According to Haaretz, Israel’s Foreign Ministry initially believed that Rousseff and the Brazilian Foreign Ministry would not yield to this pressure, but “in recent weeks there have been signals suggesting concern from Brazil regarding Dayan’s appointment.”

Liel told Arutz Sheva Monday that he and other members of the group are not directing their effort at Dayan personally.

"Dayan is a symbol, because Brazil very consistently opposes the idea of a binational state, it opposes the settlements. And the Israeli government's move is intended to put it to the test on this matter,” he explained.

'Brazil is very afraid of a confrontation with Israel'

Liel's account of the decision to approach Brazil regarding Dayan makes it sound as if the entire initiative was a public relations stunt meant to draw attention to the group's agenda.

"This is not the only action that we are taking, and we have carried out many actions because of a feeling many members of the peace camp have, that the idea of two states is vanishing,” he explained. “And this is one of the moves that we thought could draw attention to this matter, that the government of Israel is trying to market the one-state idea to the world.”

"We simply wanted to warn against this matter again,” he added. "Because we believe that if within the next year or two, serious negotiations about two states do not begin, then there will be a binational state here whose Jewish character will be in doubt, as will its democratic character.”

Liel said that he doubts Brazil will refuse to accept Dayan, because Brazil “is very afraid of a confrontation with Israel. It is very hard to oppose Israel on the international front. No country in the world wants a bilateral one-on-one confrontation with the state of Israel.”

"The thing is that Israelis like us, patriotic Zionists who served the country, are in a panic and think that the binational state will not be a Jewish state, and the democratic matter is also in danger.”