Israel's ambassador to the U.S. is condemning as inappropriate Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's remark invoking the Holocaust.
"These are not words that I would use or that I think are appropriate," Ambassador Ron Dermer said in an interview with USA Today released Monday, shortly after Huckabee refused to apologize in a separate interview.
"We don't in any way impugn the motives of the people who are doing this deal," Dermer said. "I think it's important to conduct this debate in a way that's befitting of the alliance between our two countries."
Huckabee on Monday stood by his remark, made over the weekend in an interview with Breitbart News, that President Obama was marching Israelis to the "door of the oven" with the nuclear deal with Iran.
In a series of tweets, statements and an appearance on Fox News, Huckabee shot back at criticism from Obama and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton panning his remark.
"I will not apologize and I will not recant because the Holocaust was invoked by the Iranian government. They used that very word," Huckabee said on Fox News's "The Five."
Dermer maintained in the interview with USA Today that Israel remains focused on preventing the U.S.-backed deal that lifts sanctions on Iran in exchange for new limits on its nuclear program.
"They want to work with us to discuss what happens the day after," Dermer said, acknowledging Defense Secretary Ashton Carter floated an increase in U.S. military assistance to Israel last week.
"We're not in that conversation at this point because we want to focus on preventing what we think is a very bad deal for Israel, for the region and for the world," Dermer added.