Sunday, September 27, 2009

Remember What I Wrote About Michael Oren?

I know Michael well and I am in awe of his academic accomplishments and book writing. However, as things go in Israel, we have a difference of outlook.

If you recall this post of mine, you won't be surprised to have me point this out from his NYTimes profile:

...Mr. Oren is putting his intellect and persuasive powers into the service of a right-wing Israeli government that does not see eye to eye with the White House. Judging from Mr. Oren’s writing and lectures, it is not clear he is completely eye to eye with his new bosses either.

He is on the record as supporting Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza, a decision that led Mr. Netanyahu to leave the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005. He has also said Israel must withdraw from its settlements in the West Bank, to save itself as a Jewish state.

“I am the last of the standing unilateralists,” Mr. Oren declared in a lecture in March at Georgetown University, where he was a visiting professor in Jewish studies until being named ambassador...Today, Mr. Oren is reluctant to discuss his views on settlements or to criticize Mr. Obama’s policies. But he insists, “I couldn’t serve in this government if I didn’t feel that the government’s positions closely, closely dovetail with what I’ve been feeling for a long, long time.”

Well, that was past. And the current?

He has lost no time cultivating Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff, and David Axelrod, a senior adviser, both of whom are Jewish and have a keen interest in Middle East policy.

“The fact that Israel is having trouble with liberal America means we need to have someone who understands liberal America,” said Yossi Klein Halevi, a longtime friend and journalist who worked with Mr. Oren at the Shalem Center, a center-right research institute in Jerusalem.

Understand the liberals? Fine.

But not to compromise with them or to knuckle under.

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