Ex-Israeli envoy Michael Oren: Biden’s criticism of Israel is ‘bad for America’

The former ambassador also said the Biden administration’s insistence on the two-state solution was an “immense injustice.”

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said President Joe Biden’s invitation to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a rare phone call on Monday did not constitute a formal invitation for a state visit to the White House, and instead the meeting would probably take place on the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.

“The likely scenario is that it will happen in the quarters of the UN,” Oren told World Israel News.

“Now Bibi can say he was invited,” Oren said, using the prime minister’s nickname, “and Biden can say he didn’t invite him.”

According to Oren, Biden’s decision to snub Netanyahu is a concession to the progressive arm of his party over fears that a far-left candidate who would outflank him would be put forward.

Oren assailed Biden for characterizing the Netanyahu-led government as Israel’s “most extreme” ever, calling it “inappropriate and wrong.”

“It’s also historically inaccurate,” Oren told World Israel News, pointing to the Tzomet party which called for the transfer of Arabs out of Israel in the early 1980s, something that even firebrand National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir hasn’t endorsed.

Passing comment on Israel’s internal politics was “bad for America” because it would leave other U.S. allies wondering if they were next, Oren said at an event in Tel Aviv.

Oren also highlighted the U.S.’ hypocrisy in criticizing Israel.

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“Over the course of the last year and a half, [the U.S.] has had an insurrection with an attempt to take over the Capitol. It has large segments of the electorate who refuse to accept the outcome of an election.

“So I don’t think America is in a position to be lecturing any other country, certainly not this country, about its democracy. I think a little humility is called for,” Oren told an audience at the Tel Aviv International Salon, Israel’s largest speakers forum.

Oren also noted that Israel is one of the five countries in the world, along with the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, that has “never known a second of non-democratic governance.

“And we’re the only country on that list that has never known a second of peace. What destroys democracies again again is war and conflict. We deserve credit for that. We deserve respect for our democratic system, even if that system produces people who are abhorrent to many people.”

Addressing the two-state solution, Oren said Biden and much of the West was doing an “immense injustice” by insisting on it as an answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While in theory the Palestinians, as a people, have the right to self determination, they are not “capable of sustaining a nation state,” he said, adding that if they were given one, it would last a matter of days.

“Everybody knows that if the IDF were to pull out of Judea and Samaria, that [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas’ days would literally be numbered, perhaps on one hand, and the whole thing is going to fall apart. And we’ll find ourselves not being within rocket range, we’ll find ourselves being in rifle range. Very few people today I know who have any experience with this at any level can say that this is a serious option.

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“I will go on to say further that American foreign policy and foreign policy of much of the West by harping on the two state solution – which is an oxymoron – are executing an immense injustice, to the Palestinians because there are so many different ways you can move forward – with trusteeships and federal solutions and cantons and autonomous regions – there are many ways you can do it, but by harping on the one venue which has absolutely no chance of success.
The Palestinians “don’t want us here,” he said.

“Not a single Palestinian has ever accepted the two states for two people formula. Why? Because we’re not a people, according to them, we’re a religion.”

“If we’re not a people we don’t have the right to self determination,” he said. “If there were a Palestinian state, you would have a Jewish state that recognizes the legitimacy of the Palestinian nation state but a Palestinian nation state that would not recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish nation state. You would have immediate irredenta.”

Despite his criticism of Biden, Oren credited the U.S. president for supporting Israel by and large, both today and in his past capacity as President Barack Obama’s VP.

He hailed Biden for standing up to his own party when the “progressives were going nuts” against Israel during the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Gaza; for demurring on reopening the U.S. consulate in east Jerusalem – seen by many as the de facto Palestinian embassy; and for going off script and declaring he was a Zionist when he landed on the tarmac of Ben Gurion Airport during his inaugural visit to the country as president last year.

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During Oren’s tenure as Israeli envoy, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama were engaged in a concerted effort to take the U.S.-Israel relationship “down a few notches,” he said. When Clinton was ignoring his phone calls, Biden became Oren’s main point of contact at the White House and was the one person “who wouldn’t go along with this policy,” Oren went on.

“Biden was the person you could go to. He was the go-to guy. And yes, he is a Democrat and the Democratic party is at odds with us on key issues – the peace process, the Iran nuclear issue – but if you had to choose somebody to be at loggerheads with, this is the guy,” he said, before adding the caveat that clearly Biden is “not at the top of his game that he was, but I don’t know how many of us are going to at age 80.”