Bintel Brief: Ask Ron Dermer by the Forward

Bintel Brief: Ask Ron Dermer

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For this week’s Bintel Brief, we’re proud to have Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer answering your letters. Born in Miami Beach, Dermer worked as a political operative first in America, under Republican strategist Frank Luntz, and then in Israel. Most recently, he has been Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s man in Washington, making sure that everything runs smoothly with the U.S., Israel’s closest and most important ally.

Now he’s here to help you smooth out any conflicts in your life!

Dear Ron,

My fifth grade student feels very strongly that evolution is an evil distraction from God’s word and wants to use that as the topic for his class presentation. He’s always getting beat up for mouthing off at the other students, irrespective of the subject, but I teach debate, not science. How should I handle this sensitive subject?

Perplexed in Pennsylvania

Dear Perplexed,

That is tricky. I’m sure your student feels very strongly about evolution, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, and though you have invited the class to debate different topics, perhaps take him to one side and explain that this is not the time to discuss such a topic. Perhaps also give him some words of wisdom about how to get people on his side using his language, instead of trying to yell his way through life, whether he thinks he’s right or not.


Dear Ron,

I’m in a pretty awkward situation at work. My boss in sales wants me to give a presentation about our quarterly numbers, and I know he’s doing it to embarrass his boss, the CEO, and to try to turn the board against him. The thing is, the CEO is a good guy, and I owe him a debt of loyalty, because he’s the one who hired me. Meanwhile, my superior is a deceitful asshole who’s always angling for the office above him. But it’s also pretty hard to refuse the guy I report to. What should I do?

Concerned in Colorado

Dear Concerned,

Here’s the deal. Go in there and really blast the crap out of your CEO — roast him and toast him. That way, when your boss gets the promotion, you’re in tight with the new regime — so tight that you can dig up all the dirt on him that you want. Then you get him tossed out on his ear, and you’re the big boss. Pretty great, huh?

Go get ‘em,

Dear Ambassador Dermer,

I had an incredibly awkward situation at my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary when an ex-boyfriend of mine showed up, uninvited — and not just any ex, but one who cheated on me with somebody very close, and who turned out to be a real asshole. He not only brought back a lot of bad memories for me but he made things worse by giving a big toast where he screwed up my dad’s name and strongly implied that my mom is anti-Semitic. It ruined the event, and I’m so mad I could kill him. What should I do?

Furious in Florida

Dear Furious,

I’m honestly surprised that you’re so angry. I’m sure that your ex just showed up because he’s always liked your parents and he just thought it would be a nice gesture. He would have reached out to let you know he was coming, but he thought that might violate protocol. And all that ancient history about who did or didn’t cheat on whom, and with whose sister, really isn’t the point here. The point is the gesture he made in showing up, which shows that he really values his relationship with your parents, and also with you, as well as your sister.

All the best,

Bintel Brief: Ask Ron Dermer

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