By Michael Wilner, JPost—
Israel’s ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said his government has “no doubt” that President-elect Donald Trump is a “true friend to Israel,” visiting his team at Trump Tower in New York on Thursday afternoon.
“Israel has no doubt that President-elect Trump is a true friend of Israel. We have no doubt that Vice-President-elect Mike Pence is a true friend of Israel– he was one of Israel’s greatest friends in the Congress, one of the most pro-Israel governors in the country.”
Briefly addressing press stationed at the bottom of the president-elect’s namesake tower on Fifth Avenue, the Israeli envoy then touched on a controversy without prompting: Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon, head of the right-wing website Breitbart.com, as chief White House strategist.
“We look forward to working with the Trump administration, with all of the members of the Trump administration, including Steve Bannon, and making the US-Israel alliance stronger than ever.”
Bannon has been the subject of criticism from Jewish groups for his ties to the alt-right movement, considered a modern-day home for white nationalist, ultra-nationalist and antisemitic individuals and organizations.
While the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and Jewish Democratic organizations have expressed concern with the appointment, some right-leaning Jewish groups have noted in his defense Breitbart’s consistently positive coverage of Israel and Bannon’s self-characterization as a Zionist.