Last night, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon addressed the annual dinner of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), and while Donilon’s not known as a comedian, he did get one big laugh— though it came at the expense of Dennis Ross.

Ross is Obama’s Middle East adviser on the staff of the National Security Council, and he’s well known as a relatively hawkish, pro-Israel advocate who’s been controversial for his tough stance against Iran, especially while serving as a fellow at WINEP, a thinktank founded in the 1980s by AIPAC, the Israel lobby.

When the dinner’s host was introducing Donilon and some of the luminaries in the audience, he pointed to Dennis Ross, at a table up front, and the strongly pro-Israel audience gave Ross a healthy round of applause.

As Donilon got up to speak, he looked at Ross. “Dennis,” he said, “I finally found a place where association with you gets applause.” Much laughter and merriment followed.

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