Ex-ambassador Michael Oren: Obama abandoned Israel – Nick Gass/POLITICO
President Barack Obama deliberately damaged the relationship between the United States and Israel, according to Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S.
When reporters asked about the state of U.S.-Israeli relations during his time as the Israeli envoy, Michael Oren says he gave the standard response of: “Nobody has a monopoly on making mistakes.”
In reality, Oren wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Monday night, “only one leader made them deliberately.”
Upon entering office, he wrote, “Obama promoted an agenda of championing the Palestinian cause and achieving a nuclear accord with Iran,” Michael Oren wrote.
Those policies, Oren wrote, would have put him at odds with any Israeli leader. But Obama also abandoned what Oren said were the principles of the country’s relationship, including “no daylight” and “no surprises.”
For the first principle, Oren cited a 2009 speech by Obama to American Jewish leaders in which the president said, “When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines and that erodes our credibility with the Arabs.”
Oren responded in the op-ed, saying that statement ignored Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and previous offers of statehood, encompassing nearly the entire West Bank and half of Jerusalem, that the Palestinians rejected.
On the “no surprises” front, Israel was caught off-guard by not receiving an advance copy of Obama’s May 2009 speech in Cairo in which the president declared that there should be a freeze on settlements and asked that Israel accept a two-state solution.
“Israeli leaders typically received advance copies of major American policy statements on the Middle East and could submit their comments. But Mr. Obama delivered his Cairo speech, with its unprecedented support for the Palestinians and its recognition of Iran’s right to nuclear power, without consulting Israel,” Oren wrote.
When Israel learned that the U.S. was negotiating “with its deadliest enemy” — Iran — over its nuclear program, he wrote, the daylight “could not have been more blinding.”
Oren, who is now a member of the Knesset, has written a memoir on his experiences as Israel’s ambassador.