In which Michael Oren gets the Alinsky treatment

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren is the author of the new book Ally: My Journey Across the American Israeli-Divide, to be published this coming Tuesday. Through the courtesies of Random House, I obtained and read an advance copy of the book in order to interview Ambassador Oren for a Power Line podcast that should be posted this weekend. I hope you will read the book and take the time to listen to what Oren has to say during the interview. What he has to say in both the book and the interview is interesting, illuminating and important.

The book is many things, but most of all it is an invaluable insider’s account of the fraying of the relationship between the United States and Israel in the Obama administration. The account focuses on the period of Oren’s ambassadorial service over the years 2009-2013. One thread of the book documents the Obama administration’s deceit and betrayal of Israel in favor of the Islamic Republic of Iran during these years. Oren’s account of the betrayal is simply devastating.

Drawing from the book in advance of its publication, Oren published “How Obama abandoned Israel” (accessible here via Google) this past Monday in the Wall Street Journal. This week h also published “Why Obama is wrong about Iran being ‘rational’ on nukes” in the Los Angeles Times and “How Obama opened his heart to the ‘Muslim World'” (“and got it stomped on”) at Foreign Policy. (Foreign Policy’s précis continues: “Israel’s former ambassador to the United States on the president’s naiveté as peacemaker, blinders to terrorism, and alienation of allies.”)

Oren timed the publication of his book to produce an impact on the debate over the merits of the current and prospective deals with Iran that will facilitate the regime’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Oren’s critique of the Obama administration is particularly powerful in several respects.

Oren is a respected historian. His books Six Days of War and, most recently, Power, Faith, and Fantasy establish him as one of the preeminent historians of our time. Moreover, he is a man of the center. He is not now and never has been a member of the Likud Party. He has joined the centrist Kulanu Party and was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Kulanu Party in this year’s election.

I find him difficult to situate on the American political spectrum, but he would at best (from my perspective) be an independent. On the evidence of his new book, he studied Obama sufficiently to avoid drinking the Kool-Aid in 2008, but my guess (and it is only a guess) is that he would more comfortably fit in the Democratic Party than in the Republican. His critique of Obama cannot in any event be dismissed as that of an extremist, a “Likudnik,” a conservative, a fantasist, or the like.

Confronted with Oren’s insider account, what’s an Obamaton to do?

Obama and his minions have demanded that Prime Minister Netanyahu denounce Oren and renounce the Wall Street Journal column. The Times of Israel reports:

The op-ed has drawn unhappy reactions from the US, including an angry phone call from US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to Netanyahu, asking the prime minister to renounce Oren’s ideas in a public statement, according to a report in Haaretz Thursday.

Netanyahu refused Shapiro’s request and said he had no intention of publicly addressing the piece, an anonymous source told the newspaper.

The prime minister said Oren was no longer a public official but a politician belonging to another party and therefore he saw no reason he should intervene, Israel’s Army Radio reported, citing a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

The Prime Minister’s Office refused to share Netanyahu’s views on the issue.

For the clueless, Netanyahu’s views are on display in Oren’s book at pages 50-355. If anything, Oren is more charitable toward Obama than Netanyahu is. But of course the intended audience for the denunciation demanded is the army of the ignorant that swells the ranks of Democrats and other supporters of President Obama.

With the publication of his new book and the related columns and essays, Ambassador Oren is in for a healthy dose of Alinsky treatment according to the terms of Rule 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” It is a treatment with which he developed great familiarity as he saw it directed toward Prime Minister Netanyahu by the same cast of characters now directing it toward him.


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