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 the Republican party (i.e. Sheldon Adelson via Newt Gingrich), and that he has directly confronted and challenged President Obama on several occasions regarding Israeli settlement policies and conditions for negotiations.
The article discusses the development of Romney’s and Netanyahu’s friendship, their similar visions on running an economy, and focuses primarily on Romney’s admiration for Netanyahu.
“He was a strong personality with a distinct point of view,” Mr. Romney said. “I aspired to the same kind of perspective.”
Oren takes issue with the article’s mention of a phone call the two had on Super Tuesday where Netanyahu briefed Romney on the situation in Iran, pointing out that in fact Netanyahu was in Washington for the AIPAC conference and had spoken earlier to President Obama for “more than four hours.” So what if Netanyahu was in D.C. for AIPAC? The article isn’t trying to claim he went to D.C. especially to speak to Romney on the phone. Furthermore, since Romney and Netanyahu are in fact old colleagues, this article is standard fare considering Romney is now indeed the Republican hopeful for president.
If anything, the article demonstrates how much Israel has become a wedge issue in American politics, and about Mitt Romney’s questionable approach to foreign policy and obvious lack of understanding of the implications on America’s standing in the Middle East if it continues to support Israeli policies.
Mr. Romney has suggested that he would not make any significant policy decisions about Israel without consulting Mr. Netanyahu.
The fact that Oren felt the need to write such a letter to the editor and specifically assert that Israel does not interfere in American politics – when there was really no such indication in the article – only reveals just how much Oren and the Israeli leadership are aware of Israel’s invasive role in American politics.