Former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren published a new op-ed on Friday in which he again criticized President Obama’s Middle East policies. In the article, Oren speculated that Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world may stem from the fact that he was abandoned by the two Muslim father figures in his life and therefore seeks acceptance by Muslims.
In addition to its academic and international affairs origins, Obama’s attitudes toward Islam clearly stem from his personal interactions with Muslims. These were described in depth in his candid memoir, Dreams from My Father, published 13 years before his election as president. Obama wrote passionately of the Kenyan villages where, after many years of dislocation, he felt most at home and of his childhood experiences in Indonesia. I could imagine how a child raised by a Christian mother might see himself as a natural bridge between her two Muslim husbands. I could also speculate how that child’s abandonment by those men could lead him, many years later, to seek acceptance by their co-religionists.
It was Oren’s third op-ed critical of Obama’s policies towards Israel and the Middle East, published in major US media sources in one week. In the opinion articles, Oren echoed charges in Ally, his new book about US-Israel relations in the Obama era. One of these charges is that “aspects of US-Israel ties are in tatters because of Obama.”
The Obama administration has vehemently denied the charges in Oren’s articles, calling them “absolutely false.” The White House reportedly submitted a request to Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu asking him to distance himself from Oren’s charges; but he refused, according to Israeli media.
Oren wrote in his Foreign Policy article that understanding Obama was crucial to his role as ambassador and that he taught himself an “Obama 101″ course, meaning he “devoted months to studying the new president, pouring over his speeches, interviews, press releases, and memoirs, and meeting with many of his friends and supporters.”
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Oren said that during his term as Israel’s envoy to the United States, he was hardly surprised by Obama’s approach on Muslim and Middle East Affairs. He claimed that this approach led to Obama’s “boycott” of a mass demonstration in Paris attended by a large number of world leaders after Islamist terrorists staged the devastating attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices and at a kosher supermarket in which four Jewish men were killed.
“The president could not participate in a protest against Muslim radicals whose motivations he sees as a distortion, rather than a radical interpretation, of Islam,” Oren wrote.