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Israeli Ambassador to the United States Speaks on Campus About the Challenges that the Middle East Faces Today

Image: Photo by Natalie Wu.

This month at The University of Texas at Austin, the Clements Center for National Security  and the Strauss Center for International Security and Law hosted a discussion with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer at the LBJ Presidential Library.

Dermer was born and raised in the United States. He was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post and in 2004 co-authored with Natan Sharansky the book “The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror.” He served as an economic envoy at the Israeli embassy in Washington from 2005 to 2008 and as senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before becoming ambassador in 2013.

Intelligence Studies Project Director Steve Slick moderated the conversation, which covered a variety of topics relevant to the U.S.-Israel relationship. Ambassador Dermer discussed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (more commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal) and his views on its implications for Israeli security, as well as his support for the U.S. decision to no longer participate in the deal’s provisions. In conversation with Professor Slick, Dermer discussed what he sees as the destabilizing nature of Iran’s regional activities including its support for such groups as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthi movement. He said he believes that increased Iranian activity has shifted the power dynamics in the region and has begun to foster unlikely alliances between Israel and other countries in the region.

UT’s Intelligence Studies Project (ISP) was established in 2013 as a joint venture of the Clements Center for National Security and the Strauss Center for International Security and Law out of a conviction that the activities of the U.S. intelligence community were increasingly critical to safeguarding national security but understudied at American universities. The ISP is building a premier center for the study of U.S. intelligence through a variety of programs, including new course offerings and research projects, as well as periodic conferences and other public events — such as the conversation with Ambassador Dermer — focused on intelligence topics.

On Oct. 24, the ISP will co-host with the LBJ Library an evening with former CIA Director John Brennan.