Brazilian Leader Dilma Rousseff’s Political Troubles Of The Past Weeks Coincidentally Coincide With Brazil’s Rejection Of Israeli Settler Leader Dani Dayan As Israeli Ambassador To Brazil

Israel on Monday confirmed it has withdrawn the nomination of a former West Bank settler leader as ambassador to Brazil, caving in to what appeared to be Brazilian objections to his political past.

The decision to drop Dani Dayan’s


candidacy dealt a setback to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had vowed to stick by his candidate, and reflected growing international impatience over continued Israeli settlement construction on occupied lands claimed by the Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s office said that Dayan would instead serve as the new consul general in New York.

Dayan, a former chairman of the West Bank settler council, was nominated in August to be ambassador to Brazil. His supporters had pointed to the Argentina-born Dayan’s familiarity with the region and his success as a businessman as strong credentials for the post. But Brazil never responded to the nomination, in what was seen as a show of displeasure over Dayan’s connections to the settlement movement.

Speaking on Israel’s Army Radio station, Dayan tried to play down the decision, saying he was excited about the opportunity to serve in New York.

“I don’t think we folded,” he said. “I think there wasn’t a choice. Whoever didn’t want us in Brazil got us in New York, the capital of the world.”

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip — territories Palestinians claim for a future state — in the 1967 Mideast war. It withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Nearly 600,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The international community considers the settlements illegal or illegitimate. Israel says the fate of the settlements should be resolved in negotiations.


Israel has scrapped its plan to send a West Bank settler leader as ambassador to an unwelcoming Brazil, posting him to New York as consul-general instead.

The prime minister’s office announced Dani Dayan’s appointment to New York just days after an embarrassing debacle over his diplomatic future. On March 17, the Foreign Ministry announced that it was looking for a new candidate for the Brazil job, then almost immediately retracted that announcement as “an unfortunate bureaucratic mistake,” saying Dayan was “still Israel’s appointed ambassador.”

 Although Netanyahu announced in August that the Argentine-born Dayan would be Israel’s ambassador, the Brazilian government declined to accept the appointment formally, leaving it in limbo.

Three former Israeli diplomats, including ex-Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Liel, took the unusual step of publicly calling on the Brazilian government to reject Dayan’s assignment. Accepting him as ambassador, the Haaretz newspaper reported Liel as saying, would in effect endorse Israeli settlements, which the United Nations and most countries consider illegal.


Israel has reassigned its nominee for ambassador to Brazil, whose appointment Brasilia refused to accept, apparently because he is a former settler leader.

Dani Dayan will now become Israel’s consul general in New York, ending a seven-month diplomatic stand-off.

Israel had previously said it would not replace Mr Dayan as its nominee.

Mr Dayan’s appointment caused outrage among left-wing groups in Brazil, which lobbied President Dilma Rousseff to reject it.

The Argentina-born official was chairman of the Yesha Council, an umbrella group representing Jewish settlers in the occupied territories, from 2007 to 2013.

The fate of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – land claimed by Palestinians for a future state – is one of the most contentious issues between Israel and the Palestinians.

The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

‘A victory’

In a statement on Monday, the Israeli prime minister’s office announced Mr Dayan’s new appointment, without any reference to Brazil.

Mr Dayan said his deployment to New York was “a victory over the BDS” – the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which targets Israel politically, economically and culturally.

“I think those elements who did not want a settler leader in Brasilia, got a settler leader in the world’s capital,” he told an anti-BDS conference in Jerusalem.

Brazil is Israel’s largest trading partner in South America, but relations have been tense since 2010, when Brazil said it recognised Palestinian statehood in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

They soured further in 2014 when Brazil recalled its ambassador from Israel in protest at what it called the “disproportionate use of force” by Israel in its summer offensive in Gaza.

In response, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman called Brazil a “diplomatic dwarf”.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed down on Monday from his attempts to appoint a former settler leader as ambassador to Brazil, which has since August refused to accept the nomination.

Netanyahu “decided to appoint Dani Dayan as consul general in New York. He will replace foreign ministry career official Ido Aharoni, who is completing his term,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

The move puts an end to a nearly eight-month standoff that soured relations with Brasilia.

Brazil did not accept the nomination of the former head of the main West Bank settlements organisation who opposes a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu had refused to reconsider the nomination, insisting that Dayan was the appropriate appointee and the only one Israel would be offering Brazil.

On March 17, the foreign ministry published a tender for the position, signalling it was dropping Dayan’s nomination, only to swiftly retract it as an “unfortunate bureaucratic mistake.”

Diplomatic sources said on Monday that the tender would most likely now be reissued.

Dayan himself said his appointment to New York was a victory over Israeli advocates of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, that targets Israel over its occupation of the West Bank.

Dayan said the activism of Israeli BDS advocates against him had legitimised Brazil’s refusal to accept his nomination.

“I think those elements who did not want a settler leader in Brasilia, got a settler leader in the world’s capital, so ultimately this is a victory over the BDS,” he said at a conference on combating BDS in Jerusalem.

Dayan’s new appointment was welcomed by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely as “an important statement to the world” that Israel stood behind a settler “as a faithful and worthy representative of the state.”

Dayan was born in Argentina and moved to Israel in 1971, aged 15.

He headed the Yesha Council of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank between 2007 and 2013.

Brazil recognised the Palestinian state in 2010. Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal under international law.