The Detroit Free Press reports that Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, speaking Sunday at a Jewish-American conference in Detroit, said that his country has to hold on to its Jewish identity, and he urged American Jews to remain united with other Jews around the world in their support for Israel.
“Together, we must invest in our future,” Ambassador Oren told about 200 people at the Renaissance Center in Detroit during the annual conference of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
Oren criticized intensifying attempts by Americans, including US Jews, to boycott Israel and Israeli settlements. Peter Beinart, a writer who is an Orthodox Jew, has called Jews to boycott products from Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.
Oren said Beinart’s plan is unrealistic and bigoted.
“As a practical matter, you can’t do it,” Oren said. Also, “it is prejudiced.… It’s very dangerous.”
Oren’s visit to Detroit came following the controversy over his appearance on CBS’s show “60 Minutes” last month that criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Christians.
Oren defended Israel’s treatment of Christians, pointing out that Israel has the “only growing Christian population” among countries in the Middle East. Speaking to the Detroit Free Press after his talk, Oren said that Christians in Israel are doing well “economically, socially, academically.”