Not surprisingly, an op-ed written by former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren (currently a member of Knesset in the Kulanu Party) in which Oren was highly critical of President Obama’s treatment of Israel, was the topic of acerbic questioning during Wednesday’s State Department Daily Press Briefing.
The op-ed appeared in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, and Oren wrote that President Barack Obama “deliberately” abandoned a 40-year core policy regarding Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria.
Oren wrote that President Obama is a “friend” of Israel but nevertheless maintained that while anyone can make a mistake, President Obama did so on purpose.
Despite the description of the exchange between ranking press corps member Matt Lee of the Associated Press and State Department Spokesman John Kirby which appeared in the extreme leftist Haaretz, Kirby did not simply reject Oren’s critical op-ed as the work of “a politician trying to sell a book.”
What Kirby did say was that neither he nor the Secretary of State had yet read Oren’s book, but that the op-ed “conveys his perspective as an advocate for his government, and now as a politician who’s promoting a book.”
However, Kirby rejected Oren’s allocation of blame, stating categorically that “the account of President Obama’s leadership in the U.S.-Israeli relationship, is absolutely inaccurate and false, and doesn’t reflect what actually happened in the past.”
Kirby also specifically stated that Secretary Kerry “knows” that Oren “had limited visibility into many of the private discussions and deliberations that he describes.”
Nonetheless, the usual boilerplate “unbreakable ties” between the U.S. and Israel, and Israel’s security being “sacrosanct” was repeated by Kirby, who also quoted Secretary Kerry, with whom he said he spoke that morning, as saying, “it’s more important that we move forward in a constructive way than dwell on these accusations, false as they may be.”Lori Lowenthal Marcus