On Dec. 16, Meretz USA sent an open letter to Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, expressing “our deep disappointment and great alarm over recent remarks with regard to the J Street organization, delivered at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s biennial convention.
“As a co-sponsor of J Street’s recent national conference, your erroneous suggestion that J Street is hostile to Israel and to the Zionist idea was deeply troubling. …” Read entire statement online.
In the meantime, J Street’s head, Jeremy Ben-Ami, has responded to Ambassador Oren in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post (a tip of the hat to Lilly Rivlin for finding this):
Being an Israeli ambassador these days can’t be easy. On the one hand, you’re working for a prime minister whose strong suit is public relations, who at least talks of peace with the Palestinians and who has consistently judged that engaging in the diplomatic process rather than refusing to talk plays better with domestic and international audiences.
On the other hand, you’re working for a foreign minister who seems to have missed Diplomacy 101 during his orientation. This boss dismisses traditional diplomacy as “groveling” and prefers that Israel lecture the world rather than engage it.
Talk about a rock and a hard place. As one of your bosses talks up the Israeli interest in negotiation and compromise, the other pulls the country unflinchingly toward a racist, undemocratic future.
Along comes a pro-Israel lobby anxious to support the government if it moves beyond speeches about peace to serious action to end the occupation and save the country’s Jewish and democratic character – and what should you do? ….
Read entire article online.
What else should one expect from an ambassador whose boss is former Kahanist Avigdor Liebermann?
Ben Ami’s article in the J Post is excellent, and it’s good that he managed to get it in a newspaper that is generally a mouthpiece for the Right. It hit Oren right where he and other center-rights claim to be so superior — the practical political consequences of his position.