Ex-Israeli Ambassador: "Obama Abandoned Israel"
In a blistering critique of President Obama’s policies toward Israel, that country’s former ambassador to the U.S. says the president has always prioritized Palestinian interests over those of the Jewish state.
“From the moment he entered office, Mr. Obama promoted an agenda of championing the Palestinian cause and achieving a nuclear accord with Iran,” Michael Oren wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, adding that those positions would alienate any Israeli leader.
And, he continued, Obama “posed an even more fundamental challenge by abandoning the two core principles of Israel’s alliance with America”: that there be “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel (the notion that the two countries could disagree, but never openly) and “no surprises.”
One example of Obama’s “deliberate” missteps, according to Oren, was when he spoke in Cairo in June 2009. Oren, who served as Israel’s ambassador from that year through 2013, wrote that the president did not consult Israel – as is standard procedure – before offering “unprecedented support for the Palestinians and [recognizing] Iran’s right to nuclear power.”
Oren also revealed that Obama assured Netanyahu he would never back a return to Israel’s 1967 borders, but the president did so in 2011: “If Mr. Netanyahu appeared to lecture the president the following day, it was because he had been assured by the White House, through me, that no such change would happen.”
On the Iran nuclear negotiations, the former envoy wrote that Obama had been secretly talking with Iran, Israel’s “deadliest enemy,” to work out the terms of a deal that most Israelis did not support.
“The daylight between Israel and the U.S. could not have been more blinding,” Oren went on. “The past six years have been successive crises in U.S.-Israeli relations, and there is a need to set the record straight.”
The alleged mistakes were not limited to Obama, though, Oren admitted. The New York-born, Ivy League-educated former diplomat was rumored to have clashed with Netanyahu multiple times throughout his tenure over actions that Oren believed would threaten bipartisan support for Israel among members of Congress.
He acknowledged that Netanyahu made a calculated blunder when he addressed a joint session of Congress in March, which many Democrats said was part of an effort to undermine Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran. At the time, Oren recommended against the speech.
Oren was elected to the Israeli Knesset earlier this year, representing the Kulanu party.