June 17, 2015 | Quote
Is Oren’s Call for ‘No Surprises’ in U.S.-Israel Ties Possible?
Israel’s former ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, caused a stir this week by publicly accusing President Barack Obama of abandoning the two core principles that undergird the U.S.-Israel relationship: no public disagreements and no surprises.
But should there be no public disagreements – “no daylight,” in diplomatic parlance – between the United States and Israel, and is that kind of shoulder-to-shoulder closeness even possible between allies?
Oren, the American-born diplomat who served as Israel’s ambassador in Washington from 2009 to 2013 and is now a Knesset member in Israel’s center-right Kulanu party, outlined his argument in an Op-Ed piece in The Wall Street Journal. The piece appeared the same week as the launch of Oren’s new book, “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide.”
While it’s true that disagreements long have characterized U.S.-Israel ties, Obama was the first president to make a policy of “daylight,” said Jonathan Schanzer, a vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies whose expertise includes the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.
“This is the first time that this has been a systematic approach to Israel,” Schanzer said, noting the report cited by Oren that Obama in July 2009 told Jewish leaders he believed the policy of no daylight was contrary to American and Israeli interests and to advancing the peace process.
“When tensions came up in the past, the approach was to try to downplay it,” said Schanzer, who monitored terrorist financing at the U.S. Treasury during the George W. Bush administration. “Over the last six years, when there has been a disagreement, this administration has doubled down on the conflict that existed and used those disagreements for political gain.”
Read the full article here.