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Israel's ambassador jokes on Twitter about undermining Obama

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer speaks in Washington in July 2014
Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer speaks in Washington in July 2014
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer are currently embroiled in a controversy that has them under such intense fire in both countries that even Fox News is siding with Obama against them.

Dermer had arranged, with House Speaker John Boehner, for Netanyahu to visit the US in March, without the knowledge or approval of the White House, and give a speech to Congress that is widely expected to bash President Obama's Iran talks and to endorse negotiations-killing sanctions. It is a major break with diplomatic protocol, and gives the strong impression that Netanyahu is picking sides in domestic American politics — against Obama.

So Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, having damaged the US-Israel alliance that is his job to safeguard and that is crucial to his nation's security, and drawn heavy criticism in both the US and Israel, decided that Super Bowl Sunday would be a great opportunity to make a joke about it:

Hilarious!

Just to be clear about this, Dermer is jokingly calling attention to the fact that he appears to be working to undermine the sitting president of Israel's most important ally. He's making a funny about how his plot to gin up a little short-term political support for Netanyahu has blown up in his face, harming not just his boss's political chances but the very alliance that is his primary responsibility. It's funny stuff.

Dermer, to be fair, has also spoken about the controversy in forms other than misguided jokey tweets. Here's a relevant snip of his interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg:

Goldberg: How does an address to Congress, one arranged by the Republican speaker, not convey the appearance that you're lobbying against the president?

Dermer: I know that people are trying to turn this into a personal or a partisan issue, but for Israel, it is neither. It is about an issue that affects the fate of the country.

In the last couple of weeks, people have heard from Prime Minister Cameron [of Great Britain] and other European leaders about the Iran issue. One would hope that people would feel that the opinion of the prime minister of Israel, a staunch ally of the United States threatened by Iran with annihilation, would also be worth hearing.

Ultimately, everyone will make their own decisions, but we think it is important that Israel's voice be heard clearly in this debate at this critical time.

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