President Barack Obama deserves blame for souring the relationship between the United States and Israel, says Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S. In fact, Oren charged that Obama has made deliberate attempts to damage the relationship between the two nations.
According to Oren, Obama had two major Middle East goals upon entering office: negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran and promote the interests of Palestinians.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Monday titled "How Obama Abandoned Israel," Oren wrote that during his tenure as ambassador (2009 to 2013), journalists would ask him who was more responsible for wrong decisions -- Obama or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said he had a standard answer, replying that "nobody has a monopoly on making mistakes.”
But Oren said Netanyahu should not be solely blamed for the current situation. He said Netanyahu’s only “premeditated misstep” was his speech to the U.S. Congress -- a speech that Oren recommended not be made.
Israel’s relationship with America has been based on two major principles, one of which is “no daylight,” meaning the two countries must not make disagreements public. But Oren said Obama challenged the core principle. “When there is no daylight,” the president told American Jewish leaders in 2009, “Israel just sits on the sidelines and that erodes our credibility with the Arabs.”
Oren wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Obama had put daylight between Israel and America.
The other core principle is “no surprises,” which means that both countries will be aware of each other’s plans on issues like Palestine. However, Oren said that in May 2009 Obama suddenly demanded that Israel accept a two-state solution. One month later, Obama skipped Israel and addressed the Muslim world from Cairo, Oren said.
But the former ambassador stressed that Obama had never been anti-Israel. Still, Oren suggested that the two core principles must be restored before relations between the two countries can improve. He added that no other country could replace America when it came to providing security to Israel.