Michael Oren’s new book, “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, ” is getting mixed reviews. The book is about his time serving as Israel’s ambassador to the United States. Many are seeing its description of President Obama’s positions on the Arab-Israeli conflict as an anti-Obama polemic.
The current member of Israel’s Knesset from the new Kulanu Party recently caused a diplomatic row with an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal in which he accused President Obama of not supporting Israel. The piece was said to be a preview of the actual book and now people are reacting to the finished product.
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Financial Times clearly does not like the book calling it “the diplomatic equivalent of a kiss-and-tell memoir.”
The publication said, that the, “book is permeated with disdain for the policies of Barack Obama, tempered with occasional praise for the serving US president, including his apparently unfeigned fondness for Israel. It quotes many private discussions with members of his administration, expletives and all.”
The Wall Street Journal describes the book as an effort by a man who is moving from diplomacy to politics. “Ally is correctly read as a statement of intent from someone moving from diplomacy into politics; the author is, as an ambassador might say, presenting his credentials, ” it writes.
But Mr. Oren has always been a political animal. He was previously affiliated with the conservative Jerusalem based think tank “The Shalem Center, ” before he became Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. And he was appointed by the right wing Prime Primister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu.
While Oren’s book on the Six Day War was highly praised, that was written as more of an objective work of history. His new work cannot possibly be objective as it deals with his own personal experiences. It is also not surprising that Oren is highly critical of President Obama’s Israel policies. Everyone on the right side of the country’s political divide considers any American politician who seems to agree with the half of Israelis who sit on its left to be guilty of an ant-Israel bias.
But the Journal also pointed out some good aspects of the book, such as anecdotes about Mr. Oren’s years as an ambassador. “There is much that is interesting here about Mr. Oren’s years in Washington, and many tidbits of inside information that will satisfy those who have followed the deterioration of American-Israeli ties since Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu took office six years ago, ” it says.
“We hear about Mr. Oren’s frantic attempts to put out diplomatic fires as two leaders who don’t like each other pursue divergent policies, feud, make up, fall out again, undo years of trust and surprise each other with policy announcements like new West Bank construction (Israel) or the public endorsement of a key Palestinian negotiating demand (America).”