Thursday, June 18, 2015

How Obama Abandoned Israel

Netanyahu and the president both made mistakes, but only one purposely damaged U.S.-Israel relations.

June 15, 2015
‘Nobody has a monopoly on making mistakes.” When I was Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 2009 to the end of 2013, that was my standard response to reporters asking who bore the greatest responsibility—President Barack Obama or Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu—for the crisis in U.S.-Israel relations.

I never felt like I was lying when I said it. But, in truth, while neither leader monopolized mistakes, only one leader made them deliberately.
Israel blundered in how it announced the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods and communities in Jerusalem over the border lines that existed before the Six Day War in 1967. On two occasions, the news came out during Mr. Netanyahu’s meetings with Vice President Joe Biden. A solid friend of Israel, Mr. Biden understandably took offense. Even when the White House stood by Israel, blocking hostile resolutions in the United Nations, settlement expansion often continued.

In a May 2012 Oval Office meeting, Mr. Netanyahu purportedly “lectured” Obama about the peace process. Later that year, he was reported to be backing Republican contenderMitt Romney in the presidential elections. This spring, the prime minister criticized Mr. Obama’s Iran policy before a joint meeting of Congress that was arranged without even informing the president.

Yet many of Israel’s bungles were not committed by Mr. Netanyahu personally. In both episodes with Mr. Biden, for example, the announcements were issued by midlevel officials who also caught the prime minister off-guard. Nevertheless, he personally apologized to the vice president.

Mr. Netanyahu’s only premeditated misstep was his speech to Congress, which I recommended against. Even that decision, though, came in reaction to a calculated mistake by President Obama. From the moment he entered office, Mr. Obama promoted an agenda of championing the Palestinian cause and achieving a nuclear accord with Iran. Such policies would have put him at odds with any Israeli leader. But Mr. Obama posed an even more fundamental challenge by abandoning the two core principles of Israel’s alliance with America.

The first principle was “no daylight.” The U.S. and Israel always could disagree but never openly. Doing so would encourage common enemies and render Israel vulnerable. Contrary to many of his detractors, Mr. Obama was never anti-Israel and, to his credit, he significantly strengthened security cooperation with the Jewish state. He rushed to help Israel in 2011 when the Carmel forest was devastated by fire. And 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.” The explanation ignored Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and its two previous offers of Palestinian statehood in Gaza, almost the entire West Bank and half of Jerusalem—both offers rejected by the Palestinians.

Mr. Obama also voided President George W. Bush’s commitment to include the major settlement blocs and Jewish Jerusalem within Israel’s borders in any peace agreement. Instead, he insisted on a total freeze of Israeli construction in those areas—“not a single brick,” I later heard he ordered Mr. Netanyahu—while making no substantive demands of the Palestinians.
Consequently, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas boycotted negotiations, reconciled with Hamas and sought statehood in the U.N.—all in violation of his commitments to the U.S.—but he never paid a price. By contrast, the White House routinely condemned Mr. Netanyahu for building in areas that even Palestinian negotiators had agreed would remain part of Israel.

The other core principle was “no surprises.” President Obama discarded it in his first meeting with Mr. Netanyahu, in May 2009, by abruptly demanding a settlement freeze and Israeli acceptance of the two-state solution. The following month the president traveled to the Middle East, pointedly skipping Israel and addressing the Muslim world from Cairo.

Israeli leaders typically received advance copies of major American policy statements on the Middle East and could submit their comments. But Mr. Obama delivered his Cairo speech, with its unprecedented support for the Palestinians and its recognition of Iran’s right to nuclear power, without consulting Israel.
Similarly, in May 2011, the president altered 40 years of U.S. policy by endorsing the 1967 lines with land swaps—formerly the Palestinian position—as the basis for peace-making. If Mr. Netanyahu appeared to lecture the president the following day, it was because he had been assured by the White House, through me, that no such change would happen.

Israel was also stunned to learn that Mr. Obama offered to sponsor a U.N. Security Council investigation of the settlements and to back Egyptian and Turkish efforts to force Israel to reveal its alleged nuclear capabilities. Mr. Netanyahu eventually agreed to a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction—the first such moratorium since 1967—and backed the creation of a Palestinian state. He was taken aback, however, when he received little credit for these concessions from Mr. Obama, who more than once publicly snubbed him.

The abandonment of the “no daylight” and “no surprises” principles climaxed over the Iranian nuclear program. Throughout my years in Washington, I participated in intimate and frank discussions with U.S. officials on the Iranian program. But parallel to the talks came administration statements and leaks—for example, each time Israeli warplanes reportedly struck Hezbollah-bound arms convoys in Syria—intended to deter Israel from striking Iran pre-emptively.
Finally, in 2014, Israel discovered that its primary ally had for months been secretly negotiating with its deadliest enemy. The talks resulted in an interim agreement that the great majority of Israelis considered a “bad deal” with an irrational, genocidal regime. Mr. Obama, though, insisted that Iran was a rational and potentially “very successful regional power.”

The daylight between Israel and the U.S. could not have been more blinding. And for Israelis who repeatedly heard the president pledge that he “had their backs” and “was not bluffing” about the military option, only to watch him tell an Israeli interviewer that “a military solution cannot fix” the Iranian nuclear threat, the astonishment could not have been greater.

Now, with the Middle East unraveling and dependable allies a rarity, the U.S. and Israel must restore the “no daylight” and “no surprises” principles. Israel has no alternative to America as a source of security aid, diplomatic backing and overwhelming popular support. The U.S. has no substitute for the state that, though small, remains democratic, militarily and technologically robust, strategically located and unreservedly pro-American.

The past six years have seen successive crises in U.S.-Israeli relations, and there is a need to set the record straight. But the greater need is to ensure a future of minimal mistakes and prevent further erosion of our vital alliance.
Mr. Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States and a member of the Knesset, is the author of “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide” (Random House, 2015).

Are American Jews in ‘galut’?

It is time for American Jews at the grassroots level to become more assertive and make their presence felt.

The exceptional response to my recent column, “American Jewish leaders fail to respond to Obama’s threats,” combined with further developments on the American scene, has brought me to the sad conclusion that when the chips are down and when faced with adversity, American Jewish leaders in the greatest democracy in the world cannot shake off their “Galut” (Exile) mentality.

The multitude of communications I received from Jews at the grass-roots level is evidence of the fact that committed Jews are confused, distressed and angered at the failure of their leaders to respond to the outrageous statements expressed by US President Barack Obama within the framework of his “charm offensive.” (That in no way detracts from the counterproductive, boorish behavior of the Jews attending The Jerusalem Post Conference in New York who jeered US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.) 

The failure of the Jewish leadership to cautiously condemn the flow of distorted and biased anti-Israeli statements by the president was heightened last week with the interviews and articles relating to former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren’s forthcoming book, Ally: My Journey Across the American Israeli Divide. They provide a chilling insight into the bullying and aggressive role Obama adopted against Israel, and his championing of the Palestinian cause. Even the most hardened Obama supporters who retain any pro-Israel sentiments will be stunned to read of his calculated abandonment of the Jewish state on the political level, “Which would have put him at odds with any Israeli leader,” as Oren writes.

Oren wrote that from his first inauguration, “Obama put daylight between Israel and America,” publicly disagreeing with and condemning the Jewish state, and “by endorsing the Palestinian position on the 1967 lines, the White House overnight altered more than 40 years of American policy.” Repeatedly, the administration accused Israel of lack of progress on the peace process “while making no substantive demands of the Palestinians.”
Oren, certainly not a political right-winger, even makes analogies (especially in relation to the Iranian nuclear threat) between American Jewish leaders today and their counterparts in 1944 headed by Rabbi Stephen Wise. He states: “Remember that American Jewry once had a chance to save 6 million Jews. And there are 6 million today [in Israel]. So think very hard and understand that this is about our survival as a people. It’s about our children and grandchildren.”

Jewish leaders defend their position by arguing that silent diplomacy is more effective than pouring oil on the fire by publicly condemning the president. They also claim that the policy of bipartisanship will backfire if they criticize Obama. They conveniently ignore that if such a policy becomes an end in itself, the Jewish community, in order not to ruffle feathers, will become politically impotent and will simply cease to speak out on central issues.

All this challenges the continuous refrain we have heard from American Jewish leaders that Jewish life in the United States, in contrast to other Jewish communities, is not Galut but a genuine Diaspora. It is true that America is unique in its favorable attitude toward Jews and Israel.

Indeed even a J Street poll indicated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s standing among US Jews was higher than that of Obama.

Yet despite protestations to the contrary, American Jewish leaders are far more sensitive to rocking the boat than other minorities or mainstream Americans who have absolutely no hesitation in publicly castigating their president when they disagree with his policies.

On the other hand, committed American Jews at the grass-roots level are passionate and willing to speak out and condemn politicians, including their president, and are becoming increasingly vocal in their demands for community leaders to speak up. However, the situation is further fragmented by the increasing number who define themselves as secular, or intermarried Jews, and have no commitment to Judaism or to Israel. Most of these individuals have abandoned any semblance of Jewish identity and became absorbed into the American melting pot.

WE WITNESSED two major examples highlighting this over the past week. In a speech to the Orthodox Union, New York Senator Charles Schumer – who represents a strong Jewish constituency and continuously describes himself as the “shomer of Israel” [guardian of Israel] – gave notice that he intended to back Obama on the latter’s policy of abandoning the military option against Iran.

What was remarkable was that, despite referring to the failure of the American Jewish community during the Hitler era which “ignored the [Nazi] threat or pushed it aside,”– he stated that “some things should be said in the mishpoche [family]. ...I have to do what’s right for the United States first of all, and Eretz Yisrael second.”

In his charm offensive, Obama subtly adopted a similar approach.

It is quite extraordinary for a Jewish senator from New York to publicly revive the issue of Israel- versus US-firsters and dual loyalties, which in the past was mainly employed by people hostile to Israel, and by anti-Semites. That his address was applauded by an Orthodox Jewish audience is also astonishing.

But the most shocking remarks about US-Israel relations were made by longtime leader of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman, in one of his last hurrahs at a forum on Israel’s future at the 92nd Street Y in New York. I must confess that I rubbed my eyes in disbelief as Foxman unleashed one of the most irresponsible outbursts against Israel, effectively blaming it for the deterioration in relations with the US. 

Employing primitive demagoguery, he accused Israel of being blind to the world and blamed the Jewish state for failing to produce a peace plan and treating American Jews and the US with contempt. He said that Israel displays no sensitivity in its dealings with the US, taking the support for granted, and that its support base is disintegrating because it’s not doing anything on the peace front.

In the past, Foxman was occasionally an outspoken critic of Obama, but his latest, shameful remarks, calling on Netanyahu to create a “peace plan” and be more attuned to the Obama administration’s demands, are inexplicable. The question is whether his successor, a former aide to Obama purportedly without a strong relationship with Israel, will be any better.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has been a great success story and has had a remarkably positive impact in promoting the case for Israel to Congress and the American people. As a rule, it avoids publicly adopting controversial or divisive positions. But these are unprecedented times and AIPAC should speak up with dignity and restraint, knowing that even if it antagonizes some of the more left-wing Democrats in Congress, the majority will respect the fact that it is taking up issues of vital Jewish concern that transcend politics in the mainstream committed Jewish community.

The executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, has throughout his entire public career remained totally committed and devoted to serving the cause of Israel and the Jewish people. Regrettably, currently he has been constrained from making official public statements on behalf of the Presidents Conference because the organization only operates on the basis of consensus. In the light of recent events, however, it may well be time to review the entire structure of the organization, and when total consensus cannot be achieved, at least enable it to speak out on behalf of the vast majority of committed Jews.

David Harris of the American Jewish Committee is also genuinely committed to Israel and has written some outstanding pieces presenting the case for Israel, but regrettably, he, too, is reluctant to or constrained from publicly criticizing Obama.

All of this suggests that if, in the current environment, the various Jewish organizational bodies continue maintaining their policy of “shtadlanut” – silent, court-Jew diplomacy – it is time for American Jews at the grassroots level to become more assertive and make their presence felt.

The author’s website can be viewed at He may be contacted at

Former Israeli Ambassador: Obama Has A problem - with America

The most explosive passage in Michael Oren’s new book on the frayed U.S.-Israel relationship is not about President Barack Obama’s repeated fights with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Rather, it is about Obama himself.

Struggling to understand how Obama–who has genuine empathy for Israel, Oren says–could adopt policies and postures so hostile to the Jewish state, Oren turns to Obama’s first memoir, Dreams from My Father. What he reads shocks him:

More alarming for me still were Obama’s attitudes towards America. Vainly, I scoured Dreams from My Father for some expression of reverence, even respect, for the country its author would someday lead. Instead, the book criticizes Americans for their capitalism and consumer culture, for despoiling their environment and maintaining antiquated power structures. Traveling abroad, they exhibited “ignorance and arrogance”–the very shortcomings the president’s critics assigned to him.

Speaking to Breitbart News last week, Oren recalled his impressions of Dreams. Obama said “nothing good about America” in his memoir, Oren says. Here was a man “without a word of praise or gratitude to America”–and yet “no one was listening” to what Obama truly believed. “That said a lot to me about where America was” when Obama was elected, Oren recalls.

Oren, the American-born historian who served as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. during President Obama’s first term, exposes shocking new details about the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel in his new book, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide.

Some of the episodes, such as Obama’s “snub” of Netanyahu during a 2010 visit to the White House, are well-known. Others are not, such as an encounter between Oren and then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice in New York, in which she threatened to drop support for Israel at the UN if the Netanyahu government did not “freeze all settlement activity”:
“If you don’t appreciate the fact that we defend you night and day, tell us,” Susan fumed, practically rapping her forehead. “We have other important things to do.”
Other clashes are more subtle, but no less jarring, such as Obama’s decision to ignore Israel’s role in earthquake relief in Haiti:
“Help continues to flow in, not just from the United States but from Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic,” the president declared. Omitted from the list was Israel, the first state to arrive in Haiti and the first to reach the disaster fully prepared. I heard the president’s words and felt like I had been kicked in the chest.
On another occasion, the White House blackballed several guests from the ceremony at which Obama awarded Israeli President Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom–because they happened to have criticized Obama on television.
Though polls indicate that mutual support between ordinary Americans and Israelis is at, or near, an all-time high, and defense cooperation remains close, tensions between the American and Israeli governments have seldom been worse.
Oren, who was an historian before becoming a diplomat and politician, is uniquely placed to offer an authoritative explanation, in exacting detail.
At times, Oren writes, Obama adopted a friendlier posture. “Yet, for every reaffirmation of the alliance, the administration took steps that disconcerted or even imperiled Israel,” he writes.
The root cause, Oren says, applying the historian’s analytical tools to his personal observations, was Obama’s approach to America itself–not to Israel.
Because Obama sees nothing special about America, its dominance in the world presents a moral problem for him. As president, Oren notes, Obama set out to solve that problem by courting America’s enemies and shunning its allies.
Obama is not anti-Israel, Oren argues, much less antisemitic, but his beliefs about America have meant a change in relations with Israel, a country deeply invested in America’s military–and moral–superiority.
These are not the ravings of a right-wing Likudnik.
Oren supported the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. He ran against Benjamin Netanyahu’s party in the recent Israeli elections. He spoke out against Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in March. And he once admired Barack Obama.
Yet Oren, who served as Israel’s ambassador from 2009 to 2013, builds a powerful argument that Obama is to blame for the stunning decline in U.S.-Israel relations.
It is a verdict heard increasingly from well-informed Democrats as the Obama administration nears its end. Former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, for example, a liberal Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter who is still proud that he backed Obama, nevertheless has concluded that “the falling-out is almost exclusively the fault of Obama.” In fact, Oren notes, fellow Democrats were mostly happy to back Obama’s policy.

At Oren’s first meeting with Jewish members of Congress, all of whom were Democrats (Republican Eric Cantor was absent), the party backed the president’s demand for a freeze on “settlement” construction, even in Jerusalem, which exceeded Palestinian demands and derailed peace talks.
And at one of Oren’s first meetings on Capitol Hill, he writes, 
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) confronted him about “economic apartheid.” (Dan Mclaughlin, a spokesperson for Nelson, told Breitbart News that Nelson likely presented the letter as “just a courtesy,” not necessarily as an endorsement of its views.) Even worse was the behavior of left-wing Jews–not only the radical activists of J Street, but opinion-makers like New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, who resorted to antisemitic stereotypes in reaching for metaphors to express their dislike of Netanyahu. (Congress had been “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby,” Friedman infamously wrote.)

Such examples of long-simmering left-wing hostility toward Israel emerged as Obama launched what Israelis regarded as an ill-informed “experiment” in U.S. foreign policy that failed to recognize the importance of steady American leadership abroad.
The president wanted to revolutionize relations with the Muslim world, boost cooperation with the UN, reach a nuclear deal with Iran, and create “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, Oren explains.
The result was nearly incessant pressure on Israel.
Oren writes how Obama’s approach to Iran, for example, set the stage for clashes with Israel, which has no room for error in gauging Iran’s intentions.
Despite Obama’s repeated promises that the “military option” was “on the table,” Oren began to suspect otherwise, as did many Israelis. (It is perhaps no accident that Ally is to be released one week before the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran.)
Oren writes, bitterly: “Most disturbing for me personally was the realization that our closest ally had entreated with our deadliest enemy on an existential issue without so much as informing us. Instead, Obama kept signaling his eagerness for a final treaty with Iran.”
Obama also erred in (belatedly) embracing the Arab Spring, Oren writes–a posture that Israeli officials described as “madness,” given the likely radical Islamist takeover. In demanding that then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak leave office “now,” Oren says, Obama undermined the value of the U.S. as an ally.
He adds: “That single act of betrayal–as Middle Easterners, even those opposed to Mubarak, saw it–contrasted jarringly with Obama’s earlier refusal to support the Green Revolution against the hostile regime in Iran.” Nevertheless, Oren observed the Obama staffers congratulating themselves for being on the “right side of history.” Admiring photos of Mubarak in the White House were soon taken down, he notes wryly.
The wild fluctuations in Obama’s foreign policy continued in Syria, where Hillary Clinton called dictator Bashar Assad a “reformer,” in spite of gruesome evidence to the contrary. Eager to appease Iran, the Obama administration quietly tried to keep Assad in power before flip-flopping. And even when Assad’s use of chemical weapons was obvious, Obama did not act on his own “red line.” A deal brokered with Russia to remove Syria’s chemical weapons–and first suggested by Israeli minister Yuval Steinitz, Oren reveals–barely helped Obama save face.
As for Obama’s team, Oren criticizes John Kerry’s well-meaning but oafish push for peace in 2013-4, which largely involved browbeating Israelis.
In addressing Hillary Clinton’s role, Oren is generous to a fault. Recalling the 45-minute lecture she delivered to Netanyahu during a 2010 spat over construction in Jerusalem (which the Obama administration calls “settlements”), Oren says that she did her duty reluctantly, reading from a script.
He told Breitbart News that Netanyahu actually maintained a personal friendship with her, calling Oren “every 15 minutes” to find out her condition after she suffered a fall in 2012.
In one instance, Oren demonstrably whitewashes Clinton’s record. He notes that at a forum on U.S-Israel relations in 2011, “a senior administration official warned that Israel was en route to becoming another Iran” in the area of woman’s rights. The “senior administration official” who made that outrageous statement was widely reported to be Hillary Clinton.
Clinton’s primary appeal in Oren’s eyes (and Netanyahu’s) seems to be that she is friendlier and more knowledgeable about Israel than Obama, even if not always an advocate for Israel in her own right.
Whether she wins or not in 2016, U.S. policy toward Israel may continue to be fraught with tension. Oren notes that Obama drew upon an emerging cohort of new policymakers steeped in resentment of American power and suspicion of the “Israel lobby.” They will linger in Washington long after Obama has left office.
Netanyahu, who correctly foresaw the challenge ahead, also saw the American-born Oren as the best hope for reaching out to a president who would treat Israel very differently from any before him.
Oren tried his best, he told Breitbart News, but could not stop all of the damage, despite his strenuous efforts.
The point he wishes to stress–a point he has made elsewhere recently–is that no Israeli government could have done better: Obama is the problem.
“Nobody has a monopoly over mistake-making,” Oren says, and acknowledges that Netanyahu made a few missteps. Still, he points out, when Netanyahu tried to give Obama what he wanted, his efforts were barely acknowledged.
For example, when Netanyahu gave a speech endorsing a Palestinian state in 2009–becoming the first Likud prime minister to do so–the White House ignored him. Instead, the pressure on Israel continued, causing the Palestinians to dig in and refuse to compromise.
Oren realized that he had to understand what motivated Obama–and why Americans had elected someone so at odds with its traditional worldview. In addition to reading Obama’s memoirs, Oren told Breitbart News, he consulted a New York Times coffee table book about Obama’s election–not because of the information it contained, but because of what it said about the media.
“If the paper of record is putting that out,” Oren told me, “that’s going to tell you a lot about the way the press is going to relate to this president.”
In Ally, he writes extensively about his battles with the Times, with CBS, and other outlets that give free rein to the most inflammatory criticisms of Israel and rarely allow for a fair, factual response.
Many of Obama’s most extraordinary policies, Oren contends, have been under-reported–such as Obama’s remark in 2010 that the U.S. is a military superpower, “whether we like it or not.”
Obama wants “to withdraw from the Middle East irrespective of the human price,” he observes. That abdication of American leadership, Oren believes, will have severe consequences for both Israel and the United States.
Ally is well-written, and entertaining in spite of its exhaustive detail–though Oren’s personal recollections of ambassadorial life are, at times, overly sentimental.
The autobiographical portions of the book, recalling Oren’s life as an Israeli paratrooper and an underground agent in the Soviet Union, are fascinating and inspiring. His account of the growing cultural divide between liberal American Jews and their brethren in Israel is both illuminating and alarming.
He has a unique perspective, as an Israeli who can explain the Jewish State from a near-native sabra perspective, yet in the idiom of his American audience. And he understands American politics with a depth few outsiders can match.
Throughout Ally, Oren draws on his skills as an historian to prove his case against Obama. He gives the president credit for great generosity towards Israel at times of need–whether helping to fund Iron Dome, urging Egypt to rescue Israeli diplomats from a rabid Cairo mob, or sending fire-fighting planes during a national emergency.
Yet he notes that “the Israel [Obama] cared about was also the Israel whose interests he understood better than its own citizens and better than the leaders they chose at the ballot box.”
Oren also points out the irony that Obama’s poor mistreatment of Israel often backfired by reinforcing Palestinian extremism.
Obama’s speech in Cairo in June 2009, he recalls, was “tactically, a killer” for the peace process, because it implied that Israel had no legitimacy other than as compensation for the Holocaust–reinforcing the Arab world’s rejection of Israel.
In the most recent war with Gaza, Oren notes, Obama hurt Israelis by describing their response to Hamas rocket attacks as “appalling,” even though Hamas deliberately put Palestinians in the line of fire. Later, Obama delayed arms shipments to Israel and even barred U.S. flights from landing at Ben-Gurion Airport as a punitive measure. “Hamas won its greatest-ever strategic victory,” Oren concludes. And Obama, via Jeffrey Goldberg, continued to deliver personal insults to Netanyahu.
Yet Oren did not write Ally to settle scores. Rather, he hopes that laying down the facts about the decline in U.S.-Israel relations will encourage both sides to pull back from the brink.
“I want everyone to stop! Stop this lunacy!” he exclaims.
He believes, passionately, that the U.S.-Israel alliance is not just essential for Israel’s success, but also for America’s security, and for the world in general.
He knows that the details of Obama’s missteps will gratify American conservatives, whose version of recent history is confirmed by his account–but he hopes liberals will listen, too.
Oren hopes to reach American Jews in particular. The community has a “core” that remains pro-Israel, he says, but has adopted social justice and tikkun olam (“fixing the world”) as the new basis of its civic identity. He told Breitbart News that the 1960s socialist utopia for which Jewish liberals are nostalgic was “far less open, less democratic, less accepting than the Israel of today.”

In Ally, he describes his own “Israeli journey” with great care and skill. Oren told Breitbart News that he hopes his experiences will help a new generation of American Jews understand why he fell in love with Israel, and made it his own. Perhaps they will embrace it, too. But above all, hard truths must be told.

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