Former Israeli diplomats chided national security adviser Yaakov Amidror on Tuesday for losing his temper and reproaching Israeli ambassadors who dared to show a hint of disapproval of government policy earlier this week.
Amidror on Monday told a conference of 160 envoys that if they disagree with the State's policies, they should either "go into politics or resign."
The remark came after the envoys applauded Israel's ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, who implored Amidror to justify the decision to announce expanded settlement construction so soon after the UN resolved to upgrade the Palestinian Authority to an observer state status.
Avraham Primor, who has served as Israel's ambassador to the European Union, Germany, Luxemburg and Belgium, said Tuesday that Amidror's reaction was inappropriate.
"This wasn't a response of someone who knows much about diplomacy," Primor said.
E1 area (Photo: AP)
The former envoy, who now heads the Center for European Studies at the Interdisciplinary Center, said that instead of snapping at the ambassadors, Amidror should have simply explained how to deal with questions about the government's decision to build in a disputed West Bank area known as E1.
"I don’t ever remember being reproached by for questions or nonconformist opinions," he told Ynet. "As ambassadors we always had the sense that we were not only allowed but also obligated to say what we feel and think."
Nevertheless, he noted that personal opinions aside, the diplomats' job was to represent the government.
Amidror, who heads the National Security Council, discussed the political climate with regards to the Iranian threat, the Palestinian issue and other international developments, and later took questions from the audience. Upon being faced with Prosor's question and the subsequent ovation, he asserted that such behavior wouldn't be tolerated elsewhere.
"I don't think that the British Foreign Office would have applauded a question which implies criticism of government policy," he said. "There is no way the State Department would have cheered a question which criticized President Obama's policy."
According to Primor, the ambassadors were simply seeking clarification of the government's positions.
"They were all equally vexed and were just happy that someone stood up and voiced (their concerns)," he said. "They just wanted to better understand … the positions in order to defend them more effectively."
Shimon Stein, who has served as Israel's ambassador to Germany, echoed Primor's sentiment, saying that it was perfectly acceptable for an envoy to voice disapproval in a domestic forum. Therefore, he said, Amidror's reaction was out of place.
"There is no doubt that his response to the question made by Prosor, an ambassador who does his job loyally, was inappropriate, especially since it touched upon such a contentious government decision,
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