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Oren: Obama ‘Abandoned’ Two ‘Core Principles’ of US-Israel Relationship

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Fmr. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren argued the Obama administration “abandoned” two of the “core principles” of the US-Israel relationship on Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC.

Oren said that the book does include mistakes that were made by Israel and himself, but also points out that “the Obama administration had a change of policy vis-a-vis Israel, particularly on changing the two core principles in that relationship. I told them, ‘no surprises and no daylight.’ No surprises means the United States doesn’t make major pronouncements on Middle Eastern policy without having — letting Israel have an advanced copy, so that we can submit our remarks. And daylight means if we can have differences, and sometimes very deep differences over the settlement issue, over Jerusalem, but we try to keep those settlement — those differences behind closed doors. And we don’t give our enemies the advantages of knowing that we are disagreeing, and as a matter of policy, the Obama administration abandoned those two — those two principles. So, everyone made mistakes but there was a change of policy.”

He continued, “There was a change of policy made by the Obama administration back in 2009 about no daylight. The president said he was going to put daylight between Israel and the United States. That was a departure from a policy that existed since the mid-1980s at least.” And that with regards to Iran policy, “the greater problem was the leaks on the American side. We had a real problem with leakage on the American side. And I go into it in depth. And I think the issue goes to the heart of what the book is about, and why I brought it out now, why I brought it out in June just days before the possible signing of this agreement with Iran, because what’s at stake here for Israel is nothing less than our future security, and perhaps even our survival. … The lives of eight million Israelis are at stake here, and on an issue like this one would expect a close ally to consult with us, clearly we have a difference about the Iranian regime. You mentioned that the president, you quoted him, saying that it’s an irrational regime that could be a…reasonable regional actor and perhaps even bring about reconciliation between the Sunnis and Shiites. Israel sees this regime as irrational, genocidal, and worse than 50 North Koreas. That’s a very big difference.”

Oren concluded that while, “the security relationship between Israel and United States during the period of the Obama administration was excellent. … But the daylight wasn’t on security matters, it was on diplomatic matters. And there was a distinction made by the administration, ‘Well we can have daylight on diplomacy, but no daylight on security.’ The problem is, in the Middle East, that’s an artificial distinction, because in the Middle East it’s just daylight, and daylight is very searing. And that’s what our enemies all saw, the daylight.” And that “If America stood by the sanctions, other businesses in the Far East, or in Russia would be very reluctant, very reluctant to break America’s sanctions.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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