Today, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote in The Wall Street Journal a scathing piece on current U.S.-Israeli relations. The Times of Israel looks at how Mr. Oren faults President Obama for the breakdown in this historically strong alliance:
Oren absolved Netanyahu of some of the incidents, claiming that some missteps were taken by mid-level staffers without the prime minister’s knowledge (e.g., two instances where settlement expansion was announced just as Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to arrive in Israel)…
Obama, on the other hand, deliberately deviated from several long-held traditions in the US-Israel relationship, aired disagreements in the media, and pointedly skipped over Israel on his first Middle East tour after being elected, he said.
With these very public displays of dissatisfaction with Israel, Obama violated the “no sunlight,” as Oren referred to it, principle of not airing discord between the two governments.
Another principle Oren says Obama did not follow was one of “no surprises,” that is, refraining from public announcements of US expectations of Jerusalem until the issues had first been ironed out away from cameras and microphones.
According to Oren, Israeli leaders typically received advance copies of major American policy statements on the Middle East and could submit their comments.
But Obama delivered his Cairo speech 2009, with its unprecedented support for the Palestinians and its recognition of Iran’s right to nuclear energy, without consulting Israel.
Oren’s account included what he sees as the potentially most harmful consequence of the rift in US-Israeli relations – the negotiations conducted behind Israel’s back with its “deadliest enemy” – Iran.