I am sure being an accomplished diplomat, he would deny it but everybody watching knows better. There was not a single word with which Israeli ambassador Michael Oran could sum up US/Israel relations that would not sound sarcastic. He chose “great” and both he and Candy Crowley should be commended for not cracking a smile. But much more important was ambassador Oren’s refutation of the most recent anti-Israeli “blood libel” attributed to General Petraeus whose repeated denials Ms. Crowley not only willfully ignored but gave a most inflammatory twist. In other words, Oren accurately pointed out that a Middle East without Israel would be a much more dangerous Middle East. Israel is not an American strategic liability. The opposite is true. It is a strategic asset and I would like to hear an American General deny it.
CROWLEY: I want to read you something from General David Petraeus. He was — it was written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was talking about the ongoing non-peace between Israelis and Palestinians when he said the conflict “foments anti-American sentiment due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel.”So it is not — this is a military man basically saying that the failure to find peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is making Americans targets.
OREN: Well, I think that General Petraeus has also come out and denied saying that and denied the interpretation attributed to those remarks. He says it was taken out of context.
But let’s — Candy, for the sake of argument, let’s take a horrible hypothetical situation. There is no state of Israel. Does anybody imagine that if there was no Israel, that radicals in the Middle East wouldn’t wake up one morning and join Al Qaida…
CROWLEY: But that’s not seriously on the table.
OREN: … or join — or join — well, he’s making — you’re imputing to him a meaning that he didn’t have, but let’s — let’s take it. Let’s take it — let’s assume maybe that that was true. Does anybody imagine that people — that radicals in the Middle East wouldn’t get up in the morning and join Al Qaida and want to kill Americans? Moreover, if there was no Israel, would American forces be more safe or less safe?
Through the cooperation of Israel, Americans are incredibly more safe, because through the cooperation with Israel, American soldiers are receiving training, receiving intelligence, receiving equipment that Israel has developed jointly with the United States. And Israel is saving incalculable number of American lives through our cooperation.
To my delight, earlier, Oran reiterated Israel’s refusal to acquiesce to Obama’s unreasonable demands and used an argument previously used by George Mitchell. He said:
CROWLEY: Where are we on those negotiations? Is Israel willing to stop building?OREN: Israel has a policy that goes back to 1967. This is not the policy of Benjamin Netanyahu. This is the policy of Golda Meir. It’s the policy of Yitzhak Rabin, that is, that Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel. Under Israeli law, it has the same status as Tel Aviv.
And our policy is that every Arab, every Jew has a right to build anywhere in the city legally as they — an Arab and Jew would have a right to build legally anywhere in a city in the United States, including in this city, in Washington, D.C.
That’s our policy. The policy is not going to change.
CROWLEY: So (inaudible) change?
OREN: Not going to change, but we understand. We understand that Jerusalem is sensitive. We understand that the timing of announcements, such as the announcements of this particular project, should be under the control of the prime minister’s office. It’s not easy. The prime minister of Israel, he’s not the mayor of Jerusalem. He’s got a country to run. And he knows no more about what’s being built on every street in Jerusalem than the president of the United States would know that’s being built any, you know, city, any street in Washington, D.C., or New York.