Relations Frosty Between NSC's Rice and Israeli Ambassador to US

Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 07:49 AM

By Elliot Jager

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White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Israel's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, have not held a meeting since Dermer came to Washington in December, Israel Radio reported.

Citing unnamed sources, Israel Radio said the two were "not on speaking terms."

The American-born Dermer, who is a protégé of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has not asked to see Rice one-on-one though. Israeli ambassadors have in the past routinely met with the national security adviser on regular intervals.

Rice and Dermer attended the meeting in the Oval Office between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama on March 3.

Rice, who retains the title of ambassador, is charged with coordinating U.S. foreign policy for Obama. She is known as a staunch critic of Israel's presence in the West Bank, which she has called "folly" and "illegitimate."

She is believed to have helped orchestrate the administration's strong pushback to criticism from Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, of Secretary of State John Kerry as being overly obsessed with Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

Rice was initially viewed with misgivings by the U.S. pro-Israel community when she was appointed U.N. ambassador in 2009 but has since built up trust and good relations.

Dermer, whose father and brother have been involved in Miami Beach politics, has had strong ties with the GOP. He has said that as ambassador he wants to reach out to Democrats as well, Israel Radio reported.

Last month he was on Capitol Hill for a meeting with Congressional Democrats including members of the Black Caucus, according to Al Monitor.

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