Archive for the ‘Israeli Ambassador to US’ category

Exclusive Interview – Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren

July 17, 2015

Exclusive Interview – Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, Blackfive, July 16, 2015

Why do some in the press want to discredit Oren’s roots?  Possibly because the Ambassador is publicly warning that the Obama Administration is setting a dangerous precedent concerning the Iranian nuclear deal.  As Daniel Silva profoundly wrote in his latest book, The English Spy, “Now the president’s confronted with a world gone mad, and he doesn’t have a clue as to what to do about it.”

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The following interview and book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category on the right side bar.

Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s latest book Ally is a riveting description of the relationship between Israel and the United States.  Readers get a behind the scenes look at how the Obama Administration has a one sided point of view. Through his numerous notes and direct insight he tells of the struggles Israel has had with the Obama Administration, especially regarding the Iranian nuclear deal.  He warns that Israel is in existential danger, that his only agenda is a reality check regarding this administration’s policies toward Israel. Blackfive.net interviewed him about his book and the Iranian nuclear deal.

He gave an exclusive to Blackfive.net, stating that he only tells those people “who come to work with me about this clip.  I ask them to watch it so that they will understand me.”  The clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImtrifoxW4c) is about the Battle of the Bulge with interviews from participants including Oren’s father, Lester Bornstein, a US Army Corps Engineer whose duty was to clear roads and build bridges during World War II.  Yet, in the Ardennes Forest in France on December 16, 1944, Lester along with his friend Jimmy Hill became infantrymen to help fend off the German advance, which had taken the American military off guard.  He and his friend bravely disabled the first German tank in line, forcing a halt in the advance.

Oren, born in America, feels a kinship with America’s culture, principles, and spirit.  He remembers his father telling the family war stories and during his first combat mission in the war, Operation Peace for the Galilee, thought of his father’s experience, wondering “how I would conduct myself under fire.”

Throughout the book Oren emphasizes the closeness he feels with both America and Israel.  Yet, some in the media like Newsweek’s Jonathan Broder attempt to discredit him by writing, “The American-born Oren, who renounced his U.S. citizenship and now serves as a lawmaker in Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, transforms from a measured historian into a breathless polemicist.” This is anything but the truth. Oren noted, “By Federal law any American who officially served a foreign county had to renounce their US Citizenship. My loyalties to the United States and the Jewish State are mutually validating.”

He wrote in the book how his love for America is filled with gratitude. “From the time that all four of my grandparents arrived on Ellis Island, through the Great Depression, in which they raised my parents, and the farm-bound community in which I grew up, America held out the chance to excel. True, prejudice was prevalent, but so, too, was our ability to fight it. Unreservedly, I referred to Americans as ‘we.’ The United States and Israel, are both democracies, both freedom-loving, and similarly determined to defend their independence. One could be — in fact, should be — a Zionist as well as a patriotic American, because the two countries stood for identical ideals.” Except now Israel is being thrown under the bus with the Iranian nuclear deal.

Why do some in the press want to discredit Oren’s roots?  Possibly because the Ambassador is publicly warning that the Obama Administration is setting a dangerous precedent concerning the Iranian nuclear deal.  As Daniel Silva profoundly wrote in his latest book, The English Spy, “Now the president’s confronted with a world gone mad, and he doesn’t have a clue as to what to do about it.”

Oren noted to blackfive.net about another irrational period in history and compared it to the current situation; “Lets remember one infamous example, when the Nazis pursued their insane ends.  Even during the last days of World War II, as the Allied armies liberated Europe, they diverted precious military resources to exterminating Jews.  The Israeli position is that this Iranian regime is irrational. Unlike Israel, which is in Iran’s backyard, the US is not threatened by the proximity of national annihilation. This is about our survival as a people. It’s about our children and grandchildren. What may look like an academic debate here in America is for us in Israel a matter of life and death.”

Asked if he agrees with the quote from former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who said of Iran, “the enemy of our enemy is still our enemy,” Oren told blackfive.net, that Americans should not forget that Iran “wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, something they have been calling for the last thirty years.  Let’s not forget they also attempted to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC and assassinate the Saudi Ambassador. Iran and its terrorist groups have killed more Americans than any other terrorist group outside of Al Qaeda.  This does not even include those in the American military who were killed by Iran during the Iraq War.  They are not friends.”

But a true friend, an ally, is defined by Oren as assisting “in saving American lives on and off the battlefield. On an ideological level, an ally is a country that shares America’s values, reflects its founding spirit, and resonates with its people’s beliefs. And an ally stimulates the U.S. economy through trade, technological innovation, and job creation. The two countries I love need to unite on issues vital to both and yet they remain separated ideologically and even strategically. However, on issues of security, anybody in the Israeli military, in the intelligence community, will tell you that security relations between Israel and the United States are better now than probably any other time in the past.”

In the Middle East Israel is America’s staunchest ally. Even though the Obama Administration appears not to recognize this, Americans do. A recent Gallup Poll shows that two out of three Americans sympathize with Israel, with support for Israel in the United States rising, not declining.

Ambassador Oren wrote this book, Ally, to send a clear message, “A friend who stands by his friends on some issues but not others is, in Middle Eastern eyes, not really a friend. In a region famous for its unforgiving sun, any daylight is searing.” Ally is a must read, because it alerts people that Israel faces the greatest challenge they have faced since World War II.

Ron Dermer and Dore Gold on Fox

March 8, 2015

Ron Dermer and Dore Gold on Fox, via You Tube, March 8, 2015

(Giving Iran years to pursue its ambition of obliterating the U.S. and Israel, with few or no remaining sanctions as Iran continues its efforts to control the Middle East, and no significant progress in allowing the IAEA to pursue its investigations of Iran’s past and future progress in nuclear weaponry strikes me as worse than merely absurd.– DM)

White House pushing Israel to recall ambassador?

March 5, 2015

White House pushing Israel to recall ambassador? Hot Air, Ed Morrissey, March 5, 2015

Yesterday, the Washington Post and former Obama adviser and Middle East envoy Dennis Ross urged Barack Obama to provide a serious response to the “strong case” presented by Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress against the administration’s Iran deal. The left-leaning Israeli paper Ha’aretz reports that the “serious response” has been to treat Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer as an unwelcome guest to the party. Dermer created the embarrassment of Barack Obama this week, as Ha’aretz reports the White House’s thinking, and Dermer has to go if Netanyahu wants to do business over the next two years:

“We are not the ones who created this crisis,” said a senior administration official. “President Obama has another two years in office and we wish to go back to a reality where you can work together despite the differences. The prime minister of Israel is the one who needs to find a way to fix this.”

Although White House officials don’t say so explicitly, they seem to imply that one way to repair the relations between Netanyahu and Obama would be to replace Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer. The latter is seen as an instigator who concocted Netanyahu’s Congress speech behind Obama’s back with John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.

In his speech to AIPAC, Netanyahu praised Dermer for standing firm and taking the heat in Washington. If Netanyahu wins the election and continues to back Dermer, the ambassador will find himself isolated in the American capital. As long as Obama is in the White House, nobody in the administration will work with him.

Ha’aretz reporter Barak Ravid reports this in a matter-of-fact manner, which misses the irony in this passage:

Over the past six years, there have been more than a few ups and downs in the Netanyahu-Obama relationship – tensions, crises, public recriminations and wrangling before the cameras. Senior U.S. officials say that to date, ongoing relations between the two countries continue to function despite these strains. But this time, they stressed, there was the feeling that Netanyahu was using these differences – in fact, highlighting and intensifying them – for his own political needs.

“Historians can probably find examples of times when there were similar crises in the U.S.-Israel relations in the past,” said a senior U.S. official. “In the last six years we had big differences over the peace process and on other issues, but the situation now is extremely difficult and feels more politically charged than ever before.”

Ahem. When Hamas opened fire on Israel last summer, which country went to Qatar to legitimize the terrorist group in negotiations in order to push Israel into recognizing them? That came just after the Bowe Bergdahl swap sent five high-ranking Taliban commanders to Doha, and the Obama administration needed to show that Qatar could be trusted, and to allow Qatar to curry favor in the region. It took Egypt Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to bigfoot John Kerry out of that particular folly.

Don’t think for a moment that the Obama administration hasn’t been playing politics with Iran all along, too. Which country in this equation has a foreign-policy track record so poor that it has desperately glommed onto the idea of a rapprochement with the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world? For this White House to accuse another government, especially an ally as beleaguered as Israel, of playing politics with foreign policy and alliances is the height of hypocrisy. Obama’s entire policy in the region has been predicated on playing footsie with Iran since he first took office, either in a sham “containment” relationship or a fully endorsed policy of regional hegemony.

As for Dermer, he’s clearly not the problem. However, as one former US ambassador to Israel says, ambassadors are “an expendable lot,” and Netanyahu may need to find another envoy if he wins another term as Prime Minister. That won’t change the trajectory of this administration’s folly on Iran, though, nor the chronic ineptitude of Obama’s State Department on Israel and the region.

Update on the Update below: That story was from last year, actually, as Gabriel Malor pointed out later on Twitter. We both missed that. I’ve changed the headline to remove the red headline and wanted to post this above the link. My apologies for the confusion, even though it’s still a pretty good reminder of the threat Iran poses to Israel and the region.

Update: Here’s a timely reminder that Netanyahu accurately warned that Iranian support for terrorism was a direct threat to Israel (via Gabriel Malor):

The Israel Navy intercepted a ship early on Wednesday that Iran was using to smuggle dozens of long-range rockets to Gaza.

The IDF’s “Operation Discovery” took place in the Red Sea, 1,500 kilometers away from Israel and some 160 kilometers from Port Sudan. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz oversaw the raid.

Missile ships and navy commandos from the Flotilla 13 unit, backed by the air force, raided the Klos-C cargo ship, which was carrying Syrian- manufactured M-302 rockets.

The ship’s crew is in Israeli custody, and the navy is towing the vessel to Eilat, where it is expected to arrive in the coming days.

The rockets originated in Syria, according to Military Intelligence assessments. Iran reportedly flew the rockets from Syria to an Iranian airfield, trucked them to the seaport of Bander Abbas, and shipped them to Iraq, where they were hidden in cement sacks. The ship then set sail for Port Sudan, near the Sudanese-Eritrean border, on a journey that was expected to last some 10 days.

Hey, but I’m sure the Tehran mullahcracy will be totally trustworthy with those thousands of uranium centrifuges!