Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren recently boasted about Israel's record on gay rights - however the LGBT community in Jerusalem has faced repeated intolerance and push back from the government. A proposal to be presented this Sunday to extend protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation will be the real test of its commitment to gay rights. By Elinor Sidi "In Israel, LGBT rights is not an issue that divides us, it is a vision that unites us," said Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, in Philadelphia two weeks ago. In his keynote, Oren took…Read More... | 3 Comments
Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren claims "Israel fought for gay rights even before 1967." Problem is, homosexuality was illegal until 1988. Michael Oren, the American Jew turned Israeli ambassador to the US, is apparently not content with embarrassing himself about Israel's record regarding its Christian citizens. In an interview with the Philadelphia newspaper Metro, Oren said that "Israel was fighting for gay rights before the 1967 war. Even when terrorists were blowing up our buses and cafes, there was equality for gays." Leaving aside the second and particularly ignorant part of this statement – what the hell is…Read More... | 8 Comments
Ambassador Michael Oren insists that in all the Middle East, Christians have it the best in Israel, but a history of dispossession paints a more complex picture. The writer asserts Palestinian Christians are emigrating due to Israel's discriminatory policies, and calls attention to upcoming resolutions by churches in the United States to divest from Israeli companies that profit from the occupation. By Philip Farah | Originally published in the Huffington Post on May 1, 2012 In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren claimed that Christians in Israel are better off than their brethren anywhere else in…Read More... | 16 Comments
Palestinian Christians are no different than other Palestinians. We all suffer the same. There have already been a number of articles written in response to CBS’s 60 Minutes report about Christians in the Holy Land. The sexy story in all this appears to be Michael Oren’s interview with Bob Simon of 60 Minutes, and the attempt by Israel, its embassy in the United States and syndicate of lobbying groups to prevent the report in some capacity from airing. The real story told in this piece has been to some degree overshadowed by the Michael Oren story, but also lacks appeal…Read More... | 27 Comments
After watching the 60 Minutes interview with Michael Oren, I felt like puking. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is. And if you only have a minute, just watch this short segment, where Oren looks Bob Simon straight in the eye with a look that could make your blood curl, and tells him "there's a first time for everything, Bob." Apparently, Oren took it even further during the interview. After much persuading, I got Simon to give me the unedited segment of him grilling the Israeli ambassador in D.C. You gotta see it to believe it.Read More... | 10 Comments
Much has been made of the inept appearance of Michael Oren – American Jew turned Israeli ambassador to the United States - on 60 Minutes, in which he admitted that from time to time he calls up senior TV brass to make certain they censor the work of their writers and editors. This morning, Haaretz reported (Hebrew) that the Prime Minister's Office was intimately in the loop. Why? Because Oren claimed the show was a "potential strategic terrorist attack" against Israel's image in the US. Lo and behold: at the same time Oren was biting his nails, an American Hasbara…Read More... | 56 Comments
Advocates for Israel often claim that the Palestinians run their own life. Yet again and again it appears that the West Bank has become their prison. Last week I posted here a criticism of Ambassador Michal Oren's Foreign Policy piece, titled "Israel's Resilient Democracy." One of Ambassador Oren's claims was that the fact that Palestinians in the West Bank are deprived of voting rights is not enough to question the nature of Israel as a democracy. The existence of partially democratic enclaves within a democratic system does not necessarily discredit it. Residents of Washington, D.C., are taxed without representation, while…Read More... | 64 Comments
Ambassador Oren is prolific these days. In a letter to the editor of the New York Times published on April 11, he addresses a piece that appeared a few days earlier, entitled "A friendship dating to 1976 resonates in 2012", describing the longtime friendship between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who worked together in Boston in the 1970's. Oren takes issue with the article's "insinuation" that Israel interferes in American politics and stresses its appreciation of "wide bipartisan support." But the article makes no such insinuation, and it is common knowledge that Netanyahu is well-aligned with…Read More... | 12 Comments
In his Foreign Policy piece, Israel's ambassador to Washington repeated the false claim that MK Tibi expressed support for suicide attacks. Tibi has now sent an official letter to the Foreign Ministry, demanding a retraction. Of all the factual errors, omissions and half-truths in Ambassador Michael Oren's piece at Foreign Policy, titled "Israel’s Resilient Democracy," perhaps the most troubling was this paragraph, which regurgitates a long-debunked lie about the Deputy Speaker of Oren's own parliament, MK Ahmad Tibi (Raam-Taal / United Arab List): ...In fact, Israel has tolerated acts that would be deemed treasonous in virtually any other democracy. Ahmed…Read More... | 14 Comments
In a piece recently published, Israel's Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren rejected claims regarding anti-democratic trends in his country, and compared the legal status of Palestinians in the West Bank to that of American citizens in Washington DC and the U.S. territories. A response. When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed Professor Michael Oren - a historian and researcher at the conservative Shalem institute, author of a popular book on the 1967 war - as his ambassador to Washington, he was probably hoping to capitalize on the latter's name-recognition and credibility, especially with the political establishment and the Jewish elites. And indeed,…Read More... | 32 Comments
By Hagai El-Ad Israel's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, tries hard to separate the Israeli social justice protests from the Arab Spring. He ends up sounding both out of date and out of touch. Israelis and Palestinians are again gradually engulfed in escalating violence. While hoping that the situation will not further escalate, Israel's social justice protests are faced with the challenge of not evaporating in the face of security challenges. Business is not as usual – and no one is pretending that it is. And yet, nor were the social justice protests an expression of "business as usual". So,…Read More... | 5 Comments
The gambling billionaire, who publishes the pro-Netanyahu "Israel Hayom" tabloid, said he objects to an agreement with any of the current Palestinian leaders Unlike the confrontation between the White House and Jerusalem over the settlements during the administration's first year, I think that the current rift has more to do with tones and personal mistrust than actual policy differences. More than anything, it seems that President Obama's Middle East speech was meant to help Israel avoid isolation at the UN, but Netanyahu overreacted, and later decided to play tough, mainly for political reasons. As I wrote yesterday, it worked out…Read More... | 17 Comments
J Street was in the headlines recently for two incidents that reporters are deeming to be indicative of the self-declared "pro-Israel pro-peace" lobby's inability to gain acceptance in the mainstream American Jewish establishment. The first incident was Congressman (Jewish and democratic) Gary Ackerman's public disassociation with J Street over its urging the US not to veto a UN security council resolution calling for a halt to settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The second was the announcement that a J Street U trip to Israel through Birthright was a no-go. J Street U, the student arm of J Street,…Read More... | 2 Comments
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