Commentary Magazine


Did Ambassador Say Republicans Are “Dangerous” for Israel?

If true, this is a huge blunder by the Israeli embassy. Why on earth — even in assumed confidence — would Israeli ambassador Michael Oren tell Debbie Wasserman Schultz — the woman responsible for getting Democrats elected — that the GOP was “dangerous” for Israel? That isn’t the type of thing that stays secret for long.

I am willing to give Oren the benefit of the doubt here that he didn’t actually say it, mainly because DWS a.) isn’t exactly known for sticking to the truth, and b.) has been insisting to every Israeli official in earshot for the past year that GOP criticism of Obama is bad for Israel, and it could be that she interpreted a polite non-response from Oren as an endorsement of that view. But judge for yourself. Phil Klein reports:

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz claimed on Monday that Israel’s ambassador to the United States has accused Republicans of being “dangerous” to Israel by criticizing President Obama’s record.

The Florida congresswoman made the charge at a training session for Jewish Democrats held by the Obama campaign here at the Democratic National Convention, aimed at teaching Jewish Democrats how to convince their fellow Jews to vote for Obama. …

As she was wrapping up her remarks, she claimed that, “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”

Unfortunately, we only have DWS’s word to go on this for now. The Israeli embassy apparently turned down the Washington Examiner when asked to comment:

The Washington Examiner could find no such public reference by Oren accusing Republicans of being “dangerous” to Israel. The Israeli embassy would not respond to a request for comment.

Even if DWS’s allegation is bunk, Oren probably doesn’t want to be on record directly contradicting the chair of the DNC. While that’s understandable, imagine if the roles were reversed. If RNC chair Reince Priebus claimed Oren trashed the Democrats to him in private, there would be a mob of Democratic leaders (publicly and behind the scenes) calling for the Israeli embassy to respond to the allegation. Oren needs to either own up to it, or acknowledge that DWS’s comment is inaccurate. Whether or not he actually said the GOP is “dangerous,” it’s still going to be taken as a slap in the face of Republicans, who have been vocal defenders or Israel and friends of the embassy. They deserve an answer.