Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has refused an American request to publicly distance himself from former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and current MK Michael Oren after he accused US President Barack Obama of abandoning Israel.
Oren is a freshman Knesset member of Moshe Kachlon’s center-right Kulanu party and served as Israeli ambassador to the US from 2009-2013.
On Monday Oren published an op-ed headlined “How Obama Abandoned Israel” Monday in the Wall Street Journal; in it he essentially accused the American leader of sacrificing the traditional pillars of the US-Israel alliance in order to promote his double agendas of “championing the Palestinian cause and achieving a nuclear accord with Iran.”
US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, phoned the prime minister Tuesday following the publication of the op-ed, but according to Israeli daily Haaretz, Netanyahu turned down the request and stated that he would not be publicly commenting on Oren’s accusations.
But, following a similar request by Shapiro, Israel’s finance minister, Moshe Kachlon, on Wednesday issued an apology to President Barack Obama over the critical remarks made by Oren.
In a statement, Kachlon said that his Zionist party holds up Israel-US ties as the “greatest asset” for his country, Kachlon explained that the views expressed by Oren are his alone and do not reflect the views and values of the party.
Israeli Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, who also serves as public diplomacy minister also denounced Oren’s claims as “disconnected from reality,” Haaretz reported him as saying on Thursday.
“Oren is wrong to accuse President Obama of malicious intentions toward Israel. The president prevents harsh resolutions against Israeli from being passed at the UN, and actively tries to strengthen the security ties between the states. Saying that the president has abandoned Israel is a disconnected remark.”
“Obama was never anti-Israel and, to his credit, he significantly strengthened security cooperation with the Jewish state,” wrote Oren, who is promoting his book “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide”.
But Obama, Oren claimed, abandoned the two core principles of Israel’s alliance with America: “no daylight”, in other words never argue openly, and no surprises.
“Yet, immediately after his first inauguration, Mr. Obama put daylight between Israel and America. ‘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.'”