According to Israeli Newspaper Ha’aretz, United States Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to issue a statement rebuking former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren’s remarks that President Obama abandoned Israel by purposely driving a wedge between the countries. Bibi refused.
On Tuesday, a few hours after Oren’s article was published [in the WSJ] , U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro phoned Netanyahu. An Israeli source familiar with their conversation says that Shapiro asked Netanyahu to issue a public statement disavowing Oren’s accusations that Obama deliberately abandoned Israel from the time he entered the White House in 2008.
The source, who wished to remain anonymous since he was not authorized to reveal details to the press, said that Netanyahu turned down Shapiro’s request and said he had no intention of commenting publicly on what Oren wrote.
Perhaps Netanyahu refused to condemn Oren’s claims because they are true. In fact many the examples he gave have independent verification.
Oren spoke about one of the foundations of the relationship between the two countries being “no surprises,” things will be discussed privately before they are announced publicly. But in his Wall Street Journal op-ed Oren talks about a commitment made to Israel in the previous administration that without warning Obama broke early in his presidency:
Obama broke the first principle in 2009, by voiding a commitment made by Bush #43, “to include the major settlement blocs and Jewish Jerusalem within Israel’s borders in any peace agreement.” As part of that commitment Israel was free to add housing units to existing settlement communities in Judea and Samaria as long as they didn’t expand those communities, and they were free to add communities in agreed to areas in Jerusalem.
Speaking for the Administration, Hillary Clinton publicly denied the Bush commitment, but Elliot Abrams who negotiated the agreement for the United States backed up the Israeli account in a 2009 WSJ op-ed.
Soon after per the former ambassador, Obama gave his famous Cairo speech without warning the Israeli government he was about to throw them under the bus.
In his op-ed Oren goes through a list of already public examples of Obama purposely surprising his Israeli allies, including his 2011 speech calling for Israel/Palestinian negotiations to begin with Israel moving to the 1949 armistice lines, his agreement to sponsor an investigation of Israeli settlements by the UN, or the administration leaks of Israeli secrets “intended to deter Israel from striking Iran preemptively.” But the real kick in the gut was the announcement in 2014 that Israel’s primary ally had been secretly negotiating what looks to be a bad deal with Israel’s most deadly enemy.
As recounted by John Podhoretz who read an advanced copy, In his memoir about his time as Ambassador, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide (released on 6/23) Oren recounts how he himself fell for the Obama Romance in 2008. But this was before he understood the deep and profound coldness within Barack Obama, “a chill” that “distanced him from traditional American allies—not only Israel—whose ambassadors complained to me of the administration’s unprecedented aloofness. ‘Obama’s problem is not a tin ear,’ one of my European colleagues lamented, ‘it’s a tin heart.’”
Ha’artz reports that US Ambassador to Israel Shapiro “also made a similar request to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, chairman of the Kulanu party of which Oren is a member.” Shapiro folded:
Unlike Netanyahu, Kahlon complied with the request. He summoned Oren for a discussion for clarification and subsequently sent a letter to the U.S. Ambassador saying that Oren’s comments against Obama do not represent the stance of Kulanu or its leader.
Kahlon was wrong! The truth is that Oren’s claims are well backed up by facts, and Netanyahu was justified in his refusal to rebuke them