web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Outgoing Israeli Ambassador Synthesized Training As Historian, Role As Diplomat

Michael Oren

Michael Oren

WASHINGTON – Michael Oren was deep inside the State Department, relaxed and taking on all comers: He had the facts on his side.
It was 2004 and the department was reviewing newly declassified National Security Agency evidence reinforcing Israel’s longstanding claim that its 1967 air attack on the USS Liberty spy ship was a mistake. The attack killed 34 American personnel.

Oren, a preeminent historian of the Six-Day War, was not suffering gladly those at the State Department conference who continued to insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Israel intended to murder the Americans. Both sides, Oren said, were guilty of negligence.

Israel’s accusers sputtered and then erupted into shouts. Oren sat back in his chair, surveyed the room and smiled.

It may have been the last time Oren was completely at ease in the halls of the State Department.

Oren became Israel’s ambassador to Washington in 2009 and has since been in the hot seat at the State Department multiple times, summoned to provide “clarifications” following some controversial Israeli action. It’s a function he has been called upon regularly to perform during his tenure, which he announced last week would wrap up by the fall.

His successor, Ron Dermer, is – like Oren – U.S.-born.

Oren’s Washington stint has come during a period fraught with tension between two men he says he admires – Obama and Netanyahu – as well as between the Israeli government and the American Jewish community.

The envoy was at the forefront of efforts to push back against rumors – some of them reportedly planted by Netanyahu’s Jerusalem office – that Obama had snubbed Netanyahu on a number of occasions.

Notably, in March 2010 rumors swirled that Obama had snubbed Netanyahu during a visit to the White House. That was just weeks after a near-disastrous trip to Israel by Vice President Joe Biden, on the eve of which Israel infuriated the administration by announcing new building in eastern Jerusalem.

In refuting the snubbing charge, Oren got into the gritty detail of whether Netanyahu had entered through the front or the back (it was the front) and whether Obama’s wife and daughters had snubbed Netanyahu during dinner (they were in New York at a show.)

If one had to single out Oren’s three preferred topics during his term in Washington they would be: the proto-Zionism threaded throughout American history, manifest in the writings and sayings of figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson; the deep intensification of security cooperation between Israel and the United States during the Obama-Netanyahu era, a fact often lost in the verbal volleying on the peace process and Iran; and the touting of Israel’s cultural and scientific achievements.

The New Jersey-born Oren, 58, told JTA in a 2009 interview at the outset of his ambassadorship that transitioning from the truth-telling of scholarship to the spin of diplomacy was like going from “free verse to writing rhymed haiku.”

In March, however, Oren was able to synthesize the two when he joined his U.S. counterpart in Tel Aviv, Dan Shapiro, in designing Obama’s first visit to Israel as president.

The standard stops – Yad Vashem, the Prime Minister’s Office – would not suffice, Oren and Shapiro decided. This is where Oren the historian fused with Oren the diplomat. The Israeli ambassador proposed a visit to the Dead Sea Scrolls that would emphasize what many had felt was lacking from Obama’s 2009 speech to the Arab world: recognition of Israel’s ancient ties to the land.

The trip was a success. Obama’s culminating address to a Jerusalem hall packed with university students, laced with references to the land’s Jewish heritage as well as appeals for a more accelerated peace process, earned long and thunderous applause.
Off in a corner, Oren and Shapiro fell into a long hug.

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Outgoing Israeli Ambassador Synthesized Training As Historian, Role As Diplomat”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
investing-in-gold_4548807_lrg
What Sanctions? Iran Receives 13 Tons of Gold From S. Africa
Latest News Stories
investing-in-gold_4548807_lrg

Iran has already been able to free up some 20% of its frozen assets, around $19 billion. At best, that’s without doing anything, and at worse, that’s while continuing to rush towards a nuclear bomb.

ISIS in Egypt, according to an image it posted on social media.

Egypt attacks jihadists with F-16 warplanes. Israel closes borders to Gaza and Egypt.

Donald Trump could end up as a third-party candidate, like George Wallace. in 1968.

“The Donald” is in the number two spot, shared with Ben Carson, in Iowa and Michigan after a survey that already placed him in the second spot in New Hampshire.

Then-Israeli ambassador Michael Oren with President Obama. A new book by Oren, now a member of Knesset, is sharply critical of the administration’s foreign policy and paints a far from rosy picture of the president’s relationship with Israeli leaders.

Oren, now a representative of the Kulanu party in the Knesset, has moved on from diplomacy to politics.

Shin Bet foils attempt by Hamas to overthrow Palestinian Authority government in Judea & Samaria.

A demonstration and call for action against terror are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday across from the official of residence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Government officials got on the soap box after Monday’s night murder of Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld and spoke beautifully against Palestinian Authority incitement and terror. Action is something else. […]

Hamas claims the company, which just so happens to be headed by Abbas’ honchos, is dodging taxes.

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, 26, was buried in Kochav HaShachar in Samaria early Wednesday afternoon after he succumbed last night to bullet wounds from Palestinian Authority terrorists. Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman and Minister of Education Naftali Bennett was among hundreds of people at the funeral. He called Rosenfeld “a symbol of the State of Israel, […]

Some 70 Egyptian soldiers have been killed simultaneously in a multi-prong attack in Sinai.

An ancient mikvah is discovered beneath a Jerusalem living room.

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court says the 10 Commandments cannot stay at the state capitol.

Neo-Nazis vandalized a Talmud Torah in Boro Park, Brooklyn this week.

US Pres. Barack Obama said Tuesday he’ll “walk away” from a bad deal with Iran. So far, he hasn’t.

ISIS proclaims its next goal is to conquer Gaza, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Yitzchak Shamir, born October 22, 1915, died June 30 2012. Shamir was Prime Minister of Israel from 1983 to 1984 and again from 1986 to 1992. He was a leader of the pre-State Lehi (Stern Gang) group. He also served in the Mossad fom 1955 to 1965. From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Yitzhak Shamir […]

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton. (archive)

Clinton derided perceptions that U.S.-Israel tensions had become tense under Obama.

“We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text.”

It’s not yet clear if Nemmouche was acting on orders and, if so, whether the orders came from ISIS.

“The Jewish community is going to have to work harder,” said one veteran official who has worked both as a professional in the Jewish community and a staffer for a Jewish lawmaker.

The disagreements don’t seem to have gone away, despite a cease-fire that appears to be firmly in place.

“On the Hill and with some people with whom I have spoken who are robust Israel supporters, people are concerned if not angry,” one of the staffers, a Democrat, told JTA

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/government-israel/outgoing-israeli-ambassador-synthesized-training-as-historian-role-as-diplomat/2013/07/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: