In far-reaching statements, Israel’s former ambassador to the US Michael Oren makes strong claims against US President Obama and his poor treatment of Israel.
Former Israeli envoy to Washington and current Member of Knesset (MK) Michael Oren touched on several crucial and sensitive issues in a recent speech, including US President Barack Obama’s seeming hostility towards Israel, the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement and regional developments.
Addressing a crowd supporting the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria on Monday at Jerusalem’s Leonardo Hotel, Oren said that BDS posed a “strategic threat” to Israel, and in order to defeat the growing menace the Israeli government needs to fight the movement “like a war, which it is.”
Regarding the threat posed by a nuclear Iran, Oren warned that the US was gambling with Israel’s future.
“The United States has the most powerful army in all of history, they’re thousands of miles away from Iran, and they don’t feel any direct threat,” Oren noted. In contrast, “Israel is in Iran’s backyard,” and faces a clear and direct threat from Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas. The IDF is a strong military force, but does not have the capacity and magnitude the US Army has to deter aggression.”
That may explain the opposing policies regarding the diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, Oren explained.
“Israel has zero room for error” when contending with the Iranian threat, while the US “can afford to make a mistake” and will be flexible when negotiating with Iran.
Obama views Iran as a rational country, and viewed its eliminationist anti-Semitism as irrelevant.
“He sees Iran as totally rational – not a North Korea. He believes it is possible for them to be anti-Semitic but rational actors at the same time. We just need to overcome this ‘annoying hurdle’ of their nuclear program,” Oren explained.
Ironically, when Israel is concerned, the White House’s approach is not only diplomacy and politics and there is a deeper dimension involved, Oren said.
“He’s pushed both Israel and the Palestinians into an impossible corner,” by placing impossible demands on Israel, and thereby emboldening the Palestinian Authority (PA) to adopt unrealistic stances, Oren explained.
“President Obama came to the White house with a worldview that was different to any other President in American history,” Oren said. “For him, there is no difference between building a balcony in Gilo [in Jerusalem] and a new neighborhood in Itamar [a community in Samaria].”
Netanyahu Not to Blame for Obama’s Hostility
Oren, who belongs to the centrist Kulanu party, said that Obama’s treatment of Israel would be similar, regardless of who was heading the country. Some Opposition members have blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the situation, claiming that if the left had won the elections, things would be better, but Oren disagrees. Obama views Israel as a whole – “both the Right and the Left,” said Oren.
The White House is not sympathetic towards Israel, but the Jewish state still enjoys strong support in Congress.
“For that reason, I’m not overly concerned over any difference of opinion” between the two countries, he said. “But we can’t afford to rest on our laurels either.”
Oren’s latest book, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, a personal account of his four years in Washington, is slated to be published next week.
In the book, he charges that Obama radically altered traditional American policies in 2011 by embracing the Palestinian demand for the establishment of a PA state on the 1967 lines. He did this without prior consultation with Israel, Oren emphasizes. The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office was outraged at the move and instructed Oren to call congressional leaders, the former ambassador said in an interview with Jewish Week.
The book recounts Obama’s diplomatic role as “bully in chief” and how Israel was continuously blamed for lack of progress on the diplomatic front, while the Palestinians encountered no such criticism from the American leader.
US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro suggested that Michael Oren’s claims against Obama were simply part of a pitch to sell his book.
By: United with Israel Staff