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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Let Obama get his own ratings up

I always assumed that the reason an American has to give up dual citizenship when he becomes an Israeli Knesset member, Supreme Court judge or ambassador was because American law provides that you automatically lose your citizenship when you swear loyalty to another country or to its laws.

Not too long ago, I read in a profile of Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, that the requirement that you give up your US citizenship is an Israeli requirement, and that you must actively forfeit your US citizenship, presumably so that you remove any doubt regarding issues of dual loyalty. I thought that was rather strange given that most of us with dual citizenship have chosen to live to Israel, and if anything, it ought to be the United States that questions our loyalty and not Israel.

The same Michael Oren made a strange statement at Washington's Hudson Institute think tank on Thursday that leads me to believe that Israel is actually quite wise to insist that ambassadors give up their foreign citizenship. It also makes me wonder whether Oren's forfeiture of his US citizenship was sincere and whether Israel ought to require more before appointing an immigrant to Israel to represent it abroad, particularly where the immigrant is being posted to his country of birth. Oren seems to have forgotten whose side he is on.

Oren cited recent polling figures that show that only 4% of Israelis believe that President Obama is pro-Israel. He points out - correctly - that it is unlikely that Israelis will be willing to take 'risks for peace' (i.e. to forfeit land as Oren would love for us to do) if they don't feel that they have a friend in Washington. (At this point, it's doubtful that Israelis will take 'risks for peace' anytime soon even if we do feel we have a friend in Washington, but that's almost beside the point).

Had Oren then gone on to say something on the order of "if President Obama wants Israelis to make sacrifices for peace with the Palestinians, he has to do a better job of convincing them that he is their friend," I would not have batted an eyelash, although I would have told you that I believe that there is no hope of Obama successfully doing that short of (maybe) bombing Iran back to the 8th century. But instead, Oren came up with this rather bizarre statement:
"Those Israelis who are going to make peace with their neighbors are going to be asked to take immense risks, extraordinary risks with themselves, their families, their children. In order to take those risks, they need to be able to trust the administration. It's crucial," he said.

"We have to get this number up," Oren stressed, noting that the White House and Congress were well aware of that need. "If we're going to move forward, it is a sine qua non for progress in the peace process."
Who is "we"? Surely Oren doesn't believe that the Netanyahu government has to run a campaign to get Israelis to trust Obama, does he? But if that's not what he believes, to whom does "we" refer? Whose side is Oren on? Whom is he representing in Washington?

Much more on these and other disturbing questions presented by Oren's speech here.


At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I slightly noticed this, too, when I took a quick glance at the news items on Oren. Thanks for a great analysis.

He's NOT on our side. Whoever thought so when he was appointed - we told you so!

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to add:

Stupid Jews!

At 7:26 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I'm not sure what Michael Oren means. If he means Obama has to convince Israelis to trust him then he's right. Its not Israel's job to sell Obama to the Israeli public. That's Obama's job and so far he hasn't even bothered to try. Its telling when even a hardcore post-Zionist Leftist like Haaretz's Gideon Levy doesn't think much of the American President's miserable performance. Why then should Israel's Ambassador expect it to be any different?

There is not going to be ANY "peace process" for the foreseeable future. I guess Oren hasn't heard the message from his boss Foreign Minister Avidgor Lieberman about it just before the weekend. I don't know what he was thinking when he gave that presentation.

At 2:13 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I was against Oren's appointment from the get go, his last book was terrible & he even said that George Bush was the most or one of the most (can't remember which) pro-Israel presidents ever !


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