Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Is Ambassador Michael Oren a Chameleon?
Remember the phrase "you're either with us, or against us"? Such phrase is used to depict a situation as being polarized and to force witness bystander, or other unaligned with some form of pre-existing conflict to either become an ally of the speaking party or lose favor. The implied consequence of not joining the team effort is to be deemed an enemy.
I remember when Dr. Michael Oren was announced to be Israel ambassador to the USA and I objected his nomination because of his ambiguous ideology.
On May 3, 2009, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed Mr. Oren as the ambassador of Israel to the United States, succeeding Sallai Meridor.
Recently, Ambassador Oren visited the West Coast and was a guest of the Israel Consulate General in Los Angeles. I heard Mr. Oren speech to a large audience at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills and admit he is most pleasant to listen to. He has mastered Washington's diplomacy well and talks in a diplomatic jargon that sounds great but is totally vapid. I am even willing to think he has a chance to be Israel's future Prime Minister: http://newsblaze.com/story/20130117204154nurg.nb/topstory.html
However, something about Mr. Oren's speech did not sit well with me. And so I am back to write about him. Mr. Oren's optimistic view of Israel-USA relations and his world's view demands careful thinking; he paints a very optimistic picture, again, that demands a very close examination.
Some of Oren's remarks are simply diplomatically disingenuous, almost at the level of… doping. One has to be very leery of a man who once said that relations between Israel and the Obama administration suffer "tectonic rift," as he described them, and now is trying to tell us how much consensus exists between the two countries, especially when the evidence clearly indicates the opposite: Israel-USA relations suffering 'tectonic rift' - http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=39777.
When I witness this kind of soothing and promising performances, usually designed to disperse narcotic peace of mind among those who are threatened, I cannot help but think about the European Elderly Jewish Council whom, Reinhard Heydrich, the high-ranking German Nazi official during World War II who was one of the main architects of the Holocaust, scared and subordinated to his authority, because his job was to ensure that their fellow Jews will crowd together into cattle cars without fuss and objection.
Jews cannot be complacent; they must be forever vigilant, as they are always one step away from another Holocaust. Anti-Semitism and the dislike, even hate of Jews is ingrained in the blood of most human beings.
To defy the ongoing protest, in many forms, against the state, the government of Israel has taken a new approach, which is to tell the world all the good things Israel has to offer, that the world wants to buy, have or experience.
Mr. Oren has clout in the world; in 2011 the Jerusalem Post has elected him as one of the most influential Jews living today.
So yes, when Mr. Oren tells us that between the United States and Israel there is a deep spiritual bond, its roots is in the Founding Fathers' deep belief in the Bible, G-d and their support for His people, the Jews, we need to agree with him. However, we see these days that the American people's mind is easily swayed. And since a leader like Obama can sell them anything, and even if it is bad for them they go along with him, then he can sell them exactly what Reinhard Heydrich 'sold' the Jewish elderly in the late 1930s.
So yes, when Mr. Oren tells us that the United States has strategic and military interests in Israel and thus it is Israel's ally he is correct. However in the past the United States has proved to be a fair-weather friend to Israel and even worse. Therefore, Israel needs to thrive to be totally independent in this alliance and to be able to walk away from it, as much as possible unscathed, if the winds start blowing in the wrong direction.
So yes, when Mr. Oren tells us that there are very close economic and commercial relations between the two countries he tells us the truth. Israel in the 12th largest exporter to the USA. Israel is a noticeable force of business outsourced to the USA and tens of thousands American are employed in America-Israel joint venture companies. And though these commerce ventures are beneficial to both, Americans and Israelis, Israelis need to expect, almost demand, that the American people will go the extra mile to support – even expand - their partners in the Middle East.
Israel definitely needs to project and promote the fact that she has a lot to offer to the world. Since many Israelis think that Americans are naïve, bordering lack of basic knowledge, Israelis have an advantage on them. They know more and what they know is reality. They are not sold "Hope and Change" that quickly, rather they go along the "Show me" slogan.
This writer strongly suggests to Israel, work along “Life is the sum of all your choices.” – Albert Camus.
Make conscious decisions according to which you act every day; everything we say and do is the result of a decision, small or big, we make either consciously or not. Always keep Israel's interest as the main factor and do the best you can to approach the subject from as many perspectives as possible. And then choose a course of action that seems to be the best for you and appears to be reasonable and balanced at that time and into the future.
Or, make a decision by suing the Ben Franklin's Pros and Cons method, which is very useful today.
“My way is to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns; writing over the one Pro and over the other Con. Then during three or four days’ consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives, that at different time occur to me, for or against the measure. When I have thus got them altogether in one view, I endeavor to estimate their respective weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out. If I judge some two reasons con equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out five; and thus proceeding, I find where the balance lies; and if after a day or two of further consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly.” –Benjamin Franklin