Israeli ambassador’s Twitter Q&A gets dominated by critics


Israeli soldiers watch the smoke trails of 155mm shells fired at targets in the Gaza Strip at an army deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. (Menahem Kahana/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the United States, held a Twitter Q&A on Thursday morning, and it turned out as one would expect. The chat, which lasted roughly 45 minutes, fueled the Twitter hashtag #AskDermer. Click on it and you'll find a growing archive of cynicism and outrage directed at Israel and its Operation Protective Edge, the 10-day-old bombing campaign against Islamist militants in Gaza that has led to the deaths of more than 200 Palestinians.

These are examples of questions he didn't quite answer.

But, to Dermer's credit, he did engage others and seemed up for a fight. He labeled Israel's critics on Twitter a "small vocal minority."

And then played the America card, a common Israeli rhetorical tactic, asking how the United States would deal with the crisis if it faced similar threats.

He reiterated Israeli talking points:

And responded to leftist American critics:

Dermer ended with a tweet that could be interpreted as a sarcastic shrug but, given the combative nature of the conversation, was more of a "bring it on" challenge to Israel's critics.

Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a senior editor at TIME, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.
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