Michael Oren’s wildly unconvincing, deeply trivial attack on Obama

Peter Beinart writes: Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has published a book that he summarized in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week entitled, “How Obama Abandoned Israel.”

Strong words. “Abandon” means “cease to support” or “give up completely.” So in what way has Obama abandoned Israel? By eliminating or even reducing military aid? No. Oren acknowledges that Obama “significantly strengthened security cooperation with the Jewish state.” By withdrawing diplomatic support? No. The Obama administration has so far not only vetoed every United Nations resolution critical of Israel, it has expended enormous energy pressuring other countries to oppose them.

In 2011, when Mahmoud Abbas was seeking UN approval for a Palestinian state, a source close to the White House told me that he personally lobbied 150 foreign diplomats against the Palestinian bid. “Sometimes,” he mused, “I feel like I work for the Israeli government.”

So how has Obama “abandoned” Israel? According to Oren, by violating “the two core principles of Israel’s alliance with America.” What are they? “The first principle was ‘no daylight.’ The U.S. and Israel always could disagree but never openly.”

Really? Like when Ronald Reagan called Israel’s attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facility a “tragedy,” instructed American diplomats to condemn it at the UN and withheld the sale of U.S. warplanes in retaliation? Or when George H.W. Bush not only denounced Israeli settlement building but withheld loan guarantees in an effort to force Israel to comply? Or when, in December 2000, Bill Clinton laid out parameters for a final peace agreement that, on Jerusalem, refugees and the size of a Palestinian state, went further than Ehud Barak felt comfortable? Or when the George W. Bush administration abstained rather than veto a 2004 resolution condemning Israel for demolishing Palestinian homes and a 2009 resolution calling on Israel to end its war in Gaza?

If Obama has “abandoned” Israel by publicly disagreeing with its government, then so have all his predecessors. [Continue reading…]

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