Freedman to Oren: Can I come over and see your house?

Author Samuel Freedman, in a column in the Jerusalem Post, gushes over historian Michael Oren’s appointment as Israel’s new ambassador to the United States and wonders if… um… well… this is a little bit embarassing… Can I come over to your new house in DC with some of my friends?

There’s some serious material in there too:


The excitement I feel is genuine, and it’s meaningful, too. I can’t imagine an ambassador better prepared to interact with American Jews than you, an American by birth and education. In fact, in Israel’s entire history, I doubt the country has ever simultaneously put forward a prime minister and an ambassador to Washington who are both so linguistically and culturally fluent with American Jews. The era of diplomacy with an accent out of Mahane Yehuda – or, for that matter, with Abba Eban’s embodiment of the "Dress British, Think Yiddish" axiom – is over for now.

You’ll obviously need all your diplomatic gifts, all your rhetorical and analytical talents, when you and the prime minister meet President Obama next week. Virtually all of the advance coverage has focused on the conflicts you’re both expected to have with the president over the moribund peace process and strategy toward Iran. I won’t pretend to offer advice in those areas; the spin room is already SRO.

WHAT I DO hope is that, even as you deal with those existential issues, you’ll spend some time tending to the fraying bonds between American Jews and Israel. I sense that the divide is opening more widely than it has in decades, perhaps than ever before, and I worry that without special effort you’ll wind up talking and listening to just one faction of the larger community, the most hawkish part.

Full column here.

NEXT STORY