Following the hard-fought election of Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon to the Chair of the UN Legal Committee (known as the '6th Committee), a US delegation member offered some surprising words of support.
David Pressman, who is the US Ambassador to the UN for Special Political Affairs, congratulated Danon on his appointment and commented on the difficulty of getting an Israeli official an appointment within the UN.
"For any other country in these United Nations, today's election would have been an unremarkable affair," the American ambassador said, "but Israel is rarely treated like any other country here."
Pressman mentioned previous appointments of Israeli officials that had needed to be fought for. He then remarked that while the 6th committee has always elected its Chairs by consensus acclimation, and "even a Chair from Qaddafi's Libya was elected by acclimation", Danon had to be elected by vote due to the UN's hostility towards Israel.
The Ambassador called for "a UN that includes Israel, that brings Israel closer, not one that systematically pushes Israel away."
Pressman ended by praising Israel's previous contributions to the international community, and expressed confidence that the 6th community will accomplish many things under the leadership of Danon.
The 6th committee deals with very sensitive topics like the legal framework for the international fight against terrorism.
Danon's appointment to the Chair marks the first time since Israel joined the UN in 1949 that an Israeli official will head one of the UN's permanent committees.