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Israel Backs Down After Dispute With Brazil Over Ambassador Pick

Former settler leader, Dani Dayan, who was announced as the consul-general in New York on Monday, participates in a conference on fighting the anti-Israel boycott, in Jerusalem, March 28, 2016.

After a nearly eight-month-long stalemate, Israel has withdrawn the nomination of a former settler leader as ambassador to Brazil.

Dani Dayan will instead take over as Israel’s consul general in New York, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday.

"He will replace Foreign Ministry career official Ido Aharoni, who is completing his term," a statement said.

Netanyahu nominated Dayan as ambassador to Brazil in August. Netanyahu had previously said Dayan - who was born in Argentina - was the proper nominee and the only one Israel would offer to Brazil. Dayan’s nomination also received the endorsement of Israeli lawmakers from the opposition party.

Dayan would have taken up his new post a few weeks later, but the Brazilian government failed to officially accept him as ambassador. Brazilian officials later said their country’s refusal to confirm Dayan’s nomination stemmed from his affiliation with the Yesha Council, the main Israeli organization promoting Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Brazil officially recognized the Palestinian state in 2010 using the 1967 boundaries of the West bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The international community considers Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal.

On March 17, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said it was seeking a new choice for ambassador to Brasilia, but it withdrew the announcement, saying it was "an unfortunate bureaucratic mistake" and that Dayan was still the only choice.

According to Dayan, his appointment to the consulate in New York should not be seen as Israel caving in to pressure from Brazil, but rather, a win for the Israeli settlement movement.

“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,” he said at a conference on combating anti-settlement groups in Jerusalem.

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