Israeli Diplomat Michael Oren Is Man in Middle –

Tough spot to be in:

“He’s in a very tough spot because his job is to maintain open communications between two administrations that have staked out positions that are adversarial and yet they can’t admit that they’re adversarial,” said David J. Rothkopf, the chief executive of the Foreign Policy Group and a roommate of Mr. Oren in graduate school who remains a good friend.

“This is not the easiest time in history to be the Israeli ambassador to the United States,” said another friend, Jeffrey Goldberg, who closely follows relations between Jerusalem and Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine.

Friends say that the polished and telegenic Mr. Oren is frustrated, although he keeps up a diplomatic front. Asked last week if he was having a tough day after Mr. Netanyahu harshly criticized the Obama administration for refusing to set “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear progress that would trigger an American military strike, Mr. Oren replied, zombie-like, “Oh, no.”

via Israeli Diplomat Michael Oren Is Man in Middle –


5 thoughts on “Israeli Diplomat Michael Oren Is Man in Middle –”

  1. I feel for the guy. What a tough spot to be in for sure. To make matters worse, the American Presidency is being very vague on its position concerning Iran’s progression towards achieving nuclear capabilities. As Iran screams for a clear red or green light from its close ally, the U.S. simply leaves it to “they will not get a bomb.” With a history of retiring red lines (See article “Israeli Leader Stiffens Call for U.S. to Set Iran Trigger” on page A1 in the Sept. 12, 2012 issue of NYTimes), there’s no wonder President Netanyahu is demanding a clear, direct response. In that same article, Ambassador Oren echoed President Netanyahu that the U.S. needs to set a clear line and collaborate with Israel remarking that “the redder the line, the lesser the chance that [Iran] will pass it.” It would be hard to be an American diplomat with the responsibility to not only manage relations between two nuclear powers, but to represent the U.S. in its decisions, especially if the decision isn’t necessarily one you agree with.

  2. I agree with draper15. Mr. Oren is in a really tough position trying to keep the peace between the two nations that have rising tensions. He is concerned for the welfare of the Israeli people and their country. He does not want war, after all his children would be in the line of defense, but rather a negotiation to restrict Iran from progressing their quest to build nuclear weapons. Again, I believe that Mr. Oren is in a troublesome position; one that could go many different ways based on the US governments decisions. Mr Netanyahu has a very legitimate reason to want a firm US response and to be direct with this requisition. It is essential that Iran knows its boundaries and the consequences for crossing them.

  3. While I understand that it is a frustrating position, I am glad we are not taken such a hardline. Our unwavering support of Israel is quite misguided. The complete focus on Israel is at the root of much of the anti-Americanism from various Middle East countries. When Israel harasses its neighbors, particularly the Palestinians, and we support them still, it sends the message to most Arabs that we only care about Israel. It is hard to think why we are so wrapped up with Israel, if it is hurting us in the long run. Of course, if you speak to evangelicals, such as my mother, it becomes clear that many Christians want to support Israel out of some “religious” reason. Luckily, us LDS do not have that same obligation. However, if we can educate more people about what Israel does, then public opinion will turn and more will advocate the position that the Presidency as taken. More and more Americans do not feel that they need to blindly support Israel anymore. I feel this change in our position is going to help us in the long run. Hopefully, if we continue this path, we can repair the damage done between us and the Arab nations and can actually have good relations with them. Of course, this may take some years and more than one President before such a time can come.

  4. It is interesting to see what an impact the video that insulted the Prophet Mohammed, is making in many countries with the spread of information. An article in the Foreign Policy blog ( talks about how the embassies are on alert for any more protest and attacks. The Brotherhood’s deputy president Khairat al-Shater wrote in a letter to the New York Times: “Despite our resentment of the continued appearance of productions like the anti-Muslim film that led to the current violence, we do not hold the American government or its citizens responsible for acts of the few that abuse the laws protecting freedom of expression.” Violence is not the answer, however it is sure making a huge impact in the opinion and behavior of the people in against the United States. The position of a diplomat now is even more complicated.

  5. This article caught my eye in this morning’s paper. The interactions that Michael Oren has had to repair US-Israeli relations sharply contrasted with the ‘YouTube diplomacy’ of the recent anti-Muslim movie which has sparked so much controversy (as alluded to in the previous comment). This distinction stuck out to me. Michael Oren is an example of the power that traditional diplomacy still holds in politics. Although any radical can post a disrespectful movie on YouTube, Michael Oren has shown how traditional diplomacy can keep lines of communication open between countries even when there are tense disagreements. Although the influence of citizen diplomacy in disparaging relationships has recently been proved superior to traditional methods, it is the ambassadors and diplomats who have the superior power to mend and repair these relationships.
    (In the article attached, there is an example of how Oren has made statements that have promoted US-Israeli relations despite all of the animosity.

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