Daniel Shek is a former Israeli ambassador to Paris.
Shek's parents were orginally from Prague, where they met in the Theresienstadt ghetto during the Nazi occupation. His father, Zeev Shek, was a personal secretary of Israeli foreign minister Moshe Sharett, and one of Israel's first diplomats.
Early diplomatic career
After studying general history and French literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, worked at the Israeli embassy in Brussels for a year. He was subsequently accepted into the Foreign Ministry cadet's course in 1984.
Shek went on to work in the office of Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, before serving as press officer at the Israeli embassy in Paris. He returned in 1994 as Foreign Ministry spokesman and director of the press department. In 1997 he was appointed consul general for the US Pacific Northwest based in San Francisco. Three years later he returned to Israel as director of the department responsible for Western Europe.
During a 2003 visit to Italy by Ariel Sharon, Shek admitted to ABC news that Israel had an image problem in Europe. He added:
- I think that over the last few years there's been a blurring of boundaries between anti-Israelism, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and there's a sort of grey area that was created where it's difficult to distinguish anymore between these three categories and I think that's extremely dangerous.
In 2009, Shek was present at a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at which Sarkozy strongly criticized Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. Netanyahu ordered Shek not to tell Lieberman about the remarks, a fact which angered Lieberman when he learned of it through a leak.
Shek was critical of Lieberman for say at an ambassadors conference in 2009, that the Foreign Ministry should not deal with the peace process:
- "I'm the second generation in this profession - my father [Zeev Shek] belonged to the generation of diplomats who only dreamed of making peace with our neighbors; they understood that this was the mission of Israeli diplomacy. That is the meta-idea of diplomacy: to improve relations between countries, and not to spoil them. How can you say the Foreign Ministry doesn't have to deal with that?
The Jerusalem Post reported in October 2011 that Shek was due to be awarded the Legion of Honour by the French Ambassador to Israel.
On Marine Le Pen
A year after stepping down as ambassador, Shek strongly criticised French far right leader Marine Le Pen:
- Mr Shek said: "What worries me as a Jew and as an Israeli is that more and more Jews find her appealing. There is a growing popularity for the primitive formula, 'my enemy's enemy is my friend'.
- "I wrote an article on the French elections for an Israeli newspaper, in which I said this, and I had 250 talkbacks. A good 70 - 80 per cent of them said I was a fool, picking up on this idea. They thought Le Pen was someone who was cleaning house.
- "The fact that one in five French voters felt comfortable enough with a party that stands for xenophobia and antisemism is horrific."
Shek told Haaretz in December 2011 that expectations of what 'hasbara' or public relations can achieve are inflated in Israel:
- "To a great extent that's true. In every conflict, there has always been a military and a diplomatic dimension. In both of these dimensions, it is clear who is victorious: the one who is stronger. In the third dimension, the battle for public opinion, it's the opposite: The strong one always loses, and the Palestinians use the third dimension, and rightly so. There's no hasbara in the world that can explain away an Israeli tank confronting a fighter with a Kalashnikov rifle who is standing in a street with an open sewer, in a refugee camp in Jabalya."
- Aviva Lori, Former Israeli ambassador speaks his mind about his boss, Avigdor Lieberman, Haaretz, 16 December 2011.
- Jane Hutcheon, Israel tries to soften EU criticism, ABC Net.au, 19 November 2003.
- Phyllis Chesler, Standing Up for the Truth Should Not Make You a Hero, The Phyllis Chesler Organisation, 24 October 2007.
- Greer Fay Cashman, Grapevine: No blarney here, jpost.com, 5 October 2011.
- Orlando Radice, Marine Le Pen: Don't French Jews get it?, theJC.com, 26 April 2012.
- Simon Rocker, Shek for the knesset?, thejc.com, 24 November 2011.