Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declined to criticize a new memoir by his former ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, who accuses President Barack Obama of deliberately souring the U.S.-Israel relationship. The book, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, only hits stores on June 23, yet is already stirring vigorous debate about American foreign policy, the U.S.-Israel alliance, the Iran nuclear deal, and Obama’s attitude towards America itself.
The request to denounce the book was conveyed by U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, a former Obama campaign operative who is largely portrayed positively in the book, but who nevertheless has accused Oren of distorting the facts in order to sell books. Moshe Kahlon, who leads the political party Oren now represents in the Israeli parliament, has distanced himself from the book, but Netanyahu, who is largely portrayed positively in the book, has reportedly refused to comment on it.
Few have actually read the book; most are commenting on a Wall Street Journal op-ed published by Oren Monday evening that summarizes many of his arguments. In “How Obama Abandoned Israel,” Oren acknowledges some Israeli missteps but says that the blame for U.S.-Israeli tensions rests largely with Obama, who sought to create division (“daylight”) with Israel over the peace process, and who surprised Israel with secret nuclear negotiations with its deadliest enemy, Iran.