“We have bilateral negotiations with more than 160 countries, [and] we have many more quiet relationships,” Danon said. “We have a lot of friends. The challenge is to actually [convince them to] stick up publicly about the way they feel about Israel. I [have] spent a lot of energy doing that.”
He also praised B’nai B’rith’s role in supporting Israel’s relations with the international community.
Danon talked about what he’s most proud of during his tenure. “For me, the greatest achievement was the moment I was elected,” representing Israel, “to become the chairman of the Legal Committee. When I decided to run for this position, many colleagues in Jerusalem told me, ‘You’re out of your mind, Danny… There’s no way you can win,’” he said. “There was strong opposition from the Arab League and the Palestinians… but at the end of the day, I received the support of 109 member states and 44 voted against me. It proved to me that we could do anything at the U.N.”
One highlight of the discussion, organized by B’nai B’rith’s Office of U.N. Affairs and the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem, concerned Israel’s strengthening relationships with African countries. “We are opening more embassies in Africa, and we have strong friends that are not afraid to stand with Israel,” Danon said. “It proves to everybody that you can be a friend of Israel and a successful leader… We see other countries following the footsteps of [Rwanda’s] President Kagame publicly acknowledging the opportunity and the will to cooperate with us.”
Danon is optimistic about expanding Israel’s ties to other countries through means other than security cooperation, emphasizing that many countries can benefit from Israel’s expertise in “water, food security and health.” He wants Israel to take even more of a proactive role in “offering solutions to the problems of the world.”
Prior to his U.N. role, Danon served as a Member of Knesset from the Likud party, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Deputy Minister of Defense and Minister of Science, Technology and Space, among other positions.
To watch the full interview, click here.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org.