Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed David Keyes as his English language spokesperson. Keyes will replace Mark Regev, who will move to London soon to serve as Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Keyes, an Israeli-American, is known for trying to embarrass Iranian diplomats over their government's record on human rights violations. Iranian diplomats, who negotiated the Iranian nuclear deal with world powers last summer, almost certainly remember his provocative questions, such as, "Who is your most beloved political prisoner?"
"I use humor and satire to shed light on Iran's record as the greatest violator of human rights on earth. It hangs gay people, arrests students, and tortures bloggers," Keyes says in a short online video.
David Keyes punking Iranian diplomats over human rights
Keyes managed to ask Wendy Sherman, the chief US negotiator in Vienna, "What are the chances of lowering the rate of executions in Iran to one every two hours?"
In October 2013, Keyes publically confronted the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Zarif, when the latter visited New York for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly. He asked Zarif about the irony of him using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, while the Iranian government blocks its citizens from accessing such platforms. Zarif responded, "That's life."
Keyes was born in Los Angeles and immigrated with his family to Israel when he was 23 years old. He speaks English, Hebrew, and Arabic and holds a bachelor's degree in Middle East Studies from UCLA and a master's degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University. He also served in the IDF's Foreign Affairs Unit. In his most recent position, he served as the director and founder of Advancing Human Rights, New York-based organization interested in the promotion of human rights in the Arab world and Iran.
In 2009, while working for Natan Sharanksky, he founded cyberdissidents.org, which aims to support Arab and Iranian dissidents.
Keyes has also harshly criticized China an Egypt, which could cause friction between him and Prime Minister Netanyahu because the latter hopes considers the two countries as possible strategic allies. Keyes also frequently criticizes Vladimir Putin and other international leaders, close to Netanyahu.
In response to the announcement of his appointment, Keyes thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for his trust in him and said it is a great privilege to serve the State of Israel in light of the multiple challenges it faces.