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Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, slams Amb. Michael Oren.

And the fallout continues from former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren’s comments about and analysis of U.S. President Barack Obama.

In a furious press release issued during the waning minutes of his reign, national director of the Anti-Defamation League Abe Foxman slammed Oren for expressing his views about U.S. President Barack Obama.

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In the ADL press release Foxman singles out Oren’s essay in Foreign Policy Magazine, and does not mention the better known Wall Street Journal op-ed or even his forthcoming book.

You see, in Foreign Policy, Oren explains, in great detail, what he saw as Obama’s dramatic change with his predecessors regarding the players in the Middle East. As Oren plainly states it, one had only to look very carefully – and keep referring back – to President Obama’s speech in Cairo in July, 2009. The Cairo speech was Obama’s first major foreign policy address. And Oren studied it, and referred others to it, often. The White House itself referred to the speech as “President Obama Speaks to the Muslim World,” according to Oren.

The Foreign Policy essay is an important one in many ways, yet Foxman’s criticism is hard to square with what Oren actually wrote.

For Foxman and the ADL claim that Oren “revived the meme of the president’s ‘Muslim Heritage’ to make the case that American foreign policy in the Middle East is primarily being promoted and dictated by the president’s early upbringing in the Muslim faith and in Muslim traditions.”

But Foxman had to sift through an 18 paragraph essay and focus on only one paragraph, close to the end, as the source of his criticism. In that one – the 13th paragraph – Oren mentions Obama’s Muslim father and step-father and his upbringing in largely Islamic Indonesia, and of Obama’s reminiscences of idyllic Kenyan villages. Oren draws on Obama’s own autobiography, Dreams From My Father, as the basis for his speculation.

This is the one paragraph, that drew the ire of Foxman:

In addition to its academic and international affairs origins, Obama’s attitudes toward Islam clearly stem from his personal interactions with Muslims. These were described in depth in his candid memoir, Dreams from My Father, published 13 years before his election as president. Obama wrote passionately of the Kenyan villages where, after many years of dislocation, he felt most at home and of his childhood experiences in Indonesia. I could imagine how a child raised by a Christian mother might see himself as a natural bridge between her two Muslim husbands. I could also speculate how that child’s abandonment by those men could lead him, many years later, to seek acceptance by their co-religionists.

But by the 13th paragraph, Oren had already mentioned Obama’s worldview being developed at the academic institutions he attended, and in particular by the enormous influence Columbia University’s Professor Edward Said’s book Orientalism had on Obama’s generation of university students and professors.

Oren’s article is titled, “How Obama Opened His Heart to the Muslim World,” and the subheadline reads: “And got it stomped on. Israel’s former ambassador to the United States on the president’s naiveté as peacemaker, blinders to terrorism, and alienation of allies.” This is what the essay is about. It is not an effort at armchair psychoanalysis. Nor is it, as Foxman suggests, an effort to explain Obama’s orientation towards the Muslim world as due to his yearning for a Muslim father who dropped out of his life.

After recognizing that it is appropriate to criticize the policies of this administration, Foxman wrote:

Ambassador Oren’s essay, however, veers into the realm of conspiracy theories, and with an element of amateur psychoanalysis he links U.S. policies in the Middle East to the president’s personal history of having a Muslim father. Then, taking it a step further by suggesting this “worldview” of Muslims and Islam has driven the president to embrace the Muslim world at the expense of both Israel and U.S. national security interests. This results in borderline stereotyping and insensitivity.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

64 COMMENTS

  1. Diosdado, I’m an American living in America and never once have I called him MY president. He is a shame to my country and an extreme embarrassment. There are Christians all over America but we’re outnumbered which means we have to pray harder and more often for mercy from God to save our country. Is obama sensitive to Israeli Jews and it’s very existence? Yes, I believe he is and I believe he is not their friend.

  2. Here is an individual who refused to call the Armenian massacre by the Turks for what it is: Genocide.
    Yet he says that Oren was insensitive. Talking about gall!
    Mr. Foxman. We don’t want to hear any more of your warped nonsense.

  3. Oren's book comes out Tuesday. I'm gonna buy it. Sure, he's human and makes mistakes. But there will be new, inside stuff in the book. Already we now know that the IAEA removing the Syrian chemical stockpile was Steinitz's idea, not introduced by the Russians at a news conference with Kerry. The book will be good. I like that Dan Shapira, acting on Obama's orders, called Bibi, furious at Oren's book and demanding an apology and Bibi said no thanks. Oren is not even in Likud, he's in the opposition, why should I apologize for him? Go bully someone else. So Kachlon apologized. Today is June 21. Oren timed the book so it will be before June 30 agreement with Iran. Good for him. He's got Guts. Anything that can shed light on Obama's thinking and de-rail this runaway train is welcome. Believing Christians cal Obama the AntiChrist. Israelis refer to him as Pharaoh. Anything that can be done to derail the complete surrender to the Ayatollah is urgently needed.

  4. Sorry Abe, I know you miss the limelight and need to be in the press saying something, but Obama deserves to be slammed and slammed and slammed again and again and forever for what he is putting Israel through on Iran … and for all that he is NOT doing which he COULD be doing on BDS . Not a word on this. And when Jews are slaughtered by terrorists in a France, they are just a “bunch of folks”. You don’t understand what Obama is about or you just like getting stroked by a President.

  5. you can’t be serious! obama has been slammed by everyone under the sun, all around the world, since his first day in office. he has never been given a chance in 7 yrs. you obviously haven’t been paying any attention whatsoever. the pubs BEG to be slammed bc of their stupidity…that’s their problem. they more than deserve it. the problem with society is that fanatics and fools are so sure of everything they do, and intelligent people doubt themselves. we have to start turning that around.

  6. About face on direction for Israel, they have fed this affirmitive action, welfare democratic BS 4 too long. The young and enlightened Israel shall support a path – with or without the support of the U.S., for what is right for their people. Old sayin! Don’t swap horses in the middle of the river. Diplomacy can be like telling one to go to Hell in such a manner that he may look forward to taking the trip. Not this time!

  7. Everyone is influenced by his upbringing so to ignore Obama’s roots and education would be racist. This is who he is and we should evaluate his positions from knowledge and not from political correctness.

  8. It’s about time someone put Obama’s destructive behavior toward Israel under the microscope. His charm has worn thin and his word to keep Israel safe is a lie. Nuclear negotiation with Iran is not keeping Israel safe. He even lied to the Jewish community about Jerusalem. He said Jerusalem belongs to Israel and well remain undivided. Yeah, right. He won’t even let Jews born in Jerusalem stamp Jerusalem, Israel on their passports. Kudos to Michael Oren!

  9. He’s never been a true leader… He has bankrolled his way from the people’s donations and has been a corrupted “leader”…. Always comfortable in his seat and a suckup to the liberal Administration. Oren spoke the truth this time.

  10. Once again, Abe Foxman has shown his true colors, and that is being more concerned with the thinking of the world at large than with the thinking of G-d and protection and defense of Israel.
    We need MORE people like Amb. Oren who has the courage of his convictions to say those inconvenient truths which so many are fearful of saying, which has included Tzipi Hovteley and Ayelet Shaked.
    These pronouncements are LONG overdue and very much welcomed (by many, I would think).

  11. Abe Foxman is correct because of the following:

    The Obama administration has consistently backed Israel at the UN and helped prevent a declaration of a Palestinian State by the UN, an effort that led Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to declare that Obama deserved a “badge of honor;” Israeli strategic experts agree that strategic cooperation between the US and Israel has never been better; the US has supplied funding for the “Iron Dome” missile defense system that has saved many Israeli lives; Obama has supported Israel with regard to the Goldstone report and the Gaza flotilla events; Obama helped save six Israelis who were trapped in the Israeli embassy in Cairo, in response to a frantic, middle-of-the night call from Netanyahu. And, as Netanyahu mentioned in his talk to Congress, Obama has done many other things for Israel that the public is not aware of.

    Obama has also been very friendly to Jews in the US. His former Chief of Staff Jack Lew is an Orthodox Jew who is now Treasury Secretary and his first Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is a Jew; he appointed a Jew, Elana Kagan, to the Supreme Court and a Jew, Janet Yellen, to head the Federal Reserve; many of his key advisors are Jewish; He is the first president to have Passover Seders in the White House.

    Obama has done more than any other president to get a coalition to impose the strongest sanctions ever on Iran, and this has brought Iran to the negotiating table and caused them to already reduce their nuclear capability. As Obama and Kerry often state, successful diplomacy is not guaranteed but it must be pursued because attacking Iran would have many potentially negative consequences and is not certain of success.

    Israel needs a comprehensive, sustainable 2-state resolution of her conflict with the Palestinians in order to avert renewed violence and increased diplomatic isolation and criticism, respond effectively to her economic, environmental, and other domestic problems, and remain both a Jewish and democratic state. This is not only my view, but, as indicated in the Israeli Academy Award-nominated movie, "The Gatekeepers," is also the opinion of many Israeli strategic experts, including all the living retired heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s General Security Service. Of course Israel’s security has to be a major priority in any agreement, with, for example, any Palestinian state being demilitarized.

  12. Moshe, does 'destroying civilization' include Obama inheriting a US economy on the brink of a depression, with stock prices and housing values dropping sharply and an average of 750,000 jobs being lost per month to an economy with 63 consecutive months of private sector job growth (a record), with over 12 million net new jobs created?

  13. Foxman has no credentials to speak on Jews, Judaism and Israel. During WWII he was brought up by Catholic Pollacks. He should have remained as a Pollack and would have been anti Semite as one of many of them! He can not control that which he puts in his mouth(Obese food)and what comes out of his face! No one voted for him! Ambassador Dr. Oren is correct about Obama! indeed, Obama is the most anti Semitic President since Jimmy Carter. Watch EXPOSE of gentile and Jewish anti Semites every Wednesday 10:00AM & 6:00Pm New York Time go to bcat.tv scroll down to Community Media then click on Brooklyn Public Media then click on arrow in Ch 2 In addition, every Thursday 12:00 Noon New York Time go to mnn.org right down to 4 Judaism click on Watch now/Live

  14. Dr, Oren is correct! Indeed, Obama is the most anti Semitic president since Jimmy carter. Foxman was not elected to speak on behalf, Jews Judaism or Israel. Rivlin openly stated from his soiled President House "We must respect intermarriage"! He openly advocates against Judaism ipso facto has no status in Judaism other then a Blasphemer! Kachlon is anti religious and was s a one time party aberation int he Knesset !Schwartz you have no halachic authority but an apologist for gentile and Jewish anti Semites. Shame on you. You should watch the above shows and learn about Judaism.

  15. Your cover up of racial anti Semitism is appalling! Obama insulted Netanyahu, Israel, Judaism and Jews constantly. Obama referred to the slaughter of Jews in Paris"someone killed some folks at a deli'! No mention it was a Muslim that murdered Jews! He refused to come to Paris as other heads of State to show solidarity with Jews who were slaughtered at the "deli" Hyper Cacher supermarket. There are many of these utterances against Jews, Judaism and Israel. The fact that you left out that during the Gaza war Obama delayed for days military supplies, not allowing Israel to use USA military supplies that are stored in Israel. Whatever, he did for Israel was required so as not to totally alienate Jewish Americans. When Netanyahu was reelected Obama had the Chutzpah to go public"I disagree with some of the elected Likud who are against a two State solution" Obama did not run in Israel for office. Indeed, in Israel, 74% of Israelis have declared that Obama is bad for Israel. You are an apologist for the most anti Semitic administration since jimmy carter. Shame on You! You are the worst racist, an Jewish(sic)anti Semite!

  16. Abe Foxman is a pathetic weak leftist liberal democrat putz. This Jewish Anti Semite is disgusting as he kisses the ass of Obama who is a filthy Anti Semitic muslim black bastard. It's so called Jews like Foxman who give us a bad name and cause more problems for us. Hey Foxman why don't you drop dead you !

  17. It is obvious that Mr. Abe Foxman's time in the spotlight is surely over. Retire and go away.. please! It is sad to see how a "court Jew" now cowers and bows low to the most Anti-Israel President in American history. Anyone who cares about the USA and Israel believe that President Obama is both dangerous to both nations and foolish in his world viewpoint. Sad…

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