Oren on reserve duty in Northern Israel during 2nd Lebanon War. Credit: Michel J. Totten

Oren on reserve duty in Northern Israel during 2nd Lebanon War. Credit: Michel J. Totten

…and perhaps not an easy one given that Israel to a step to the right and America took a step (or 5) to the left. He will be the next Israeli ambassador to the US. Oren is the author of the rich, detailed and fascinating June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East as well as Power, Faith and Fantasy and a fictional work, Reunion. He’s also written extensively for the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic, not to mention a nice series of articles for Azure. He’s smart, deep and has an academic resume that makes Muffti drool (just kidding! but it is very impressive).

He has quite a job ahead of him given two big issues over which the US and Israel differ (though the facts on the US side right now are slightly murky): Palestinean Statehood and Iran. Good luck, Michael Oren, and please don’t forget to write that book someday that will enshrine you forever in the authorial pantheon: The Grand Muffti and the Making of the Modern Universe. Oren replaces Sallai Meridor, an Olmert appointee.

Here is the story via the LA times:

Reporting from Jerusalem — A New York-born and Princeton-educated historian and commentator on Middle East affairs has been chosen Israel’s next ambassador to Washington, Israeli news media reported Saturday.

According to the online edition of the newspaper Haaretz, Michael B. Oren’s selection by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval at its meeting today. Oren would replace Sallai Meridor.

Government spokesman Mark Regev said he could not confirm the report.

Oren is a senior fellow at Shalem Center, a conservative Jerusalem think tank. He is the author of several bestsellers, including “Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East,” which won the L.A. Times Book Prize for history in 2003. His writings have appeared in The Times’ Opinion and Book Review sections.

Oren, who was born in 1955, emigrated to Israel in 1979, and served as a wartime paratroop officer in Lebanon. During Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip last winter, he volunteered as a military liaison officer, briefing reporters outside the coastal territory.

He holds American and Israeli citizenship and is well connected in U.S. political circles, making him a potentially effective advocate for the policies of the new conservative government.

Netanyahu’s inner circle is engaged in a wide-ranging foreign policy review before his visit to the White House this month. His refusal so far to endorse the goal of an independent Palestinian state puts him at odds with President Obama.

Some views Oren has expressed as a commentator conflict with those of Netanyahu. In a speech at Georgetown University in March, Haaretz reported, Oren called for a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, similar to Israel’s 2005 pullout from Gaza, contending that such a move would relieve tensions until a stronger, more reliable Palestinian peace partner came to power.

Netanyahu has warned that a pullout from the West Bank would enable extremists to take over and threaten Israel.

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6 Comments

  • I feel kinda star-struck. He asked A.B. Yehoshua a question when A.B. was speaking in DC and I didn’t even realize it was him. This has maybe 5% to do with your analysis, but I just felt the need to get a lil’ bit of Jewish geo in here.

  • Obama is different than Bush in that he sees engagement much more academically. When Obama engages, it reflects his more bookish approach and not any genuine reapproahment. It is not that Obama seeks to legitimize our enemies, but that he does not see engagement as legitimizing.

    I think Oren is a great match for Obama’s administration. His academic background makes him far more capable in exploring nuance and broaching subjects without conferring legitimacy on the unacceptable options that need to be discussed with the Obama Administration. Oren likely already knows the critical players in Obama’s Administration as it relates to these issues even better than Obama – and that is why this is a brilliant move by Israel. Whatever damage was done by Avigdor Lieberman’s appointment as FM, this opens the door to repairing that damage and more.

  • A friend of mine needs help. This is not a joke, this is real and immediate. I don’t know what posting this will accomplish, but if anyone has ideas, throw them out please.

    Young Palestinian woman with three kids – all US citizens, living in Midwest. She divorced her Pali husband several years ago and has been living under state of siege ever since from him, his family, her family, their community, etc. He’s not a nice guy, don’t get semantic – raped her at 16 and whenever he felt like it, beat her for ten years, threw her down the stairs while she was 8 months pregnant. They have shared custody because it is a “no-fault” state, which means unless he rapes one of the girls, he cannot be denied custody.

    Someone within his family with a conscience called her to tell her that he obtained Jordanian passports for the kids, and next time he gets custody is planning to abduct them to Jordan. If she goes to Jordan, they will kill her. If she goes to West Bank they already bribed the PA to bury the body. His family has money and own big office buildings in Ramallah.

    Jordanian law is such that it will be impossible to get them back from Jordan without hiring mercenaries and paying a lot of people off. I’m not joking, this is completely serious. By that time her girls, 8 and 11 will be married off and raped – they already found them husbands – living in some Jordanian slum.

    She files police reports every two weeks that they are going to kill her and take the kids overseas. The cops say, call us when he is in your house with an axe in his hand. Divorce attorney is useless – they don’t exactly teach this in school.

    This is life and death, right now. Options?

  • Firouz, I don’t think you left any options other than for her to disappear into a program for beaten women. I think I’ve read about some that enable the woman to bring her children.

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