My friend of many years, Danny Danon, who formerly served as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations and today serves as Chairman of the World Likud has just released a passionate book, “In the Lion’s Den: Israel and The World” which is a must-read for anyone interested in Israel and the Middle East.
The Book explores Danon’s struggles and successes as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations during the Obama-Trump years. Obviously succeeding under two very different Presidents with completely different viewpoints when it comes to the Jewish State requires unique skills. In details which reveal behind the scenes strategy and planning, Danon describes the methods he used to counter the daily harsh and unjust criticism of Israel and how and why he was able to emerge triumphant on many occasions.
The book challenges the US’ role at the United Nations under the Obama administration, one which many have characterized as Anti-Israel. Danon uncovers the deception practiced by the US prior to Obama’s departure from office and describes some of the toughest moments for Israel as the country stood without support from its closest ally on the world stage.
The book’s complementary and powerful foreword is penned by Nikki Haley, America’s Ambassador to the UN from 2017-2019 and discloses the close relationship formed between the two from the outset. Danon explores further in the book the new opportunities generated by this new administration, as well as the unprecedented pro-Israel resolutions advanced during this period.
Before the politics and diplomatic revelations, Danon touches on intimate moments throughout his life. The reader learns about his fathers’ journey from Egypt to Israel and the poverty his father's family endured upon reaching the Jewish homeland. He reflects upon the unique challenges which faced Sephardic Jews emigrating to Israel, and reveals the trauma suffered by his father which deeply affected the family’s worldview and led Danon to take on a different role which subsequently influenced his outlook and vision for Israel.
“In the Lion’s Den” is Danon’s second book. Like the first, “The Will to Prevail”, it is a strong call-to-action, providing world Jewry with a toolkit to tackle anti-Israel hate, now and in the future.
One of the most fascinating parts of the book concerned Danon’s actions against United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, in December 2016 which stated that Israel's settlement activity constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law and has "no legal validity". It demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an "occupying power."
In the book, Danon described how he looked at the sitting Ambassador – Samantha Power – who served under President Obama, and said
“I looked at Power and told her that within a few weeks there would be another ambassador sitting in her chair and another president in the White House who would go back to the policy that represents American support for Israel. Little did I know that one year later, I would sit in the same chair and discuss the historical decision of the US to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
What unfolded next was a rush by the US to justify its actions. Looking back, I am reminded of being bullied along with some of my classmates in grade school. My father encouraged me to stand by my principles. If someone started to berate, belittle, or beat on me, I had to give it back, even if he was older and stronger. The other kids in my grade would not respond if they were punched or shoved, but the older children knew if they did it to me, I would fight back without hesitation.
One day, I came back with bruises all over my face and body. My mother asked me what happened, and when I explained that an older kid was pushing and shoving, she was worried, but she also praised me for standing up and fighting back. After a few more incidents, they stopped bothering me. This memory reminded me that you often have to stand up for yourself, by yourself, against stronger players. Now, I was facing a public confrontation with the major superpower in the world. Sitting idly by was not an option. I kept my cool as I moved to the next round after the vote, revealing to the world what role the US had played in this disgraceful moment.
I would not give it a pass, and we would not go quietly. The fight had just begun. I was not intimidated by President Obama or John Kerry. I immediately booked as many media interviews as I could. I began to set Israel’s public response, and I did not ask permission to reveal what the US had done behind the scenes, because it needed to be exposed. I would not allow the US to claim that it had nothing to do with the resolution to go unanswered. My actions forced the US to justify itself and take some heat for its actions. This is a model for what should be a crucial part of Israeli foreign policy. Do not back down, always expose wrongdoing, and force those responsible for it to explain themselves in public.”
In so many ways, this excerpt describes Danny Danon. A fighter for Israel, an advocate for Israel and a person who makes a difference. Danon is an ideologue, a man who has spent his life fighting for the Jewish people—and this comes across clearly in his writing
This book is necessary reading for those who are interested in the Middle East and the State of Israel. Get In the Lion’s Den by Danny Danon today.