The National Jewish Democratic Council’s David Harris, writing in the Huffington Post, says the White House’s invitation to Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren for Tuesday night’s Ramadan celebration at the White House is a positive sign of the president’s vision for the Middle East:
It actually makes great sense for Israel’s representative to have a seat around the Ramadan dinner table. Israel is home to well over a million Muslims, and it’s a country – unlike those around it – that provides real religious freedom. While many of the world’s Muslims may not know it, the Jewish State actually funds many mosques and the printing of Korans. So when viewed in this light, Ambassador Oren’s presence is completely kosher.
The president and this administration of course know this, and extending this invitation is a public recognition of these facts. More importantly, Israel’s unprecedented inclusion in such an event reflects Obama’s ultimate vision of inclusiveness – and it presses representatives of Arab states to sit and break bread with Israel’s ambassador. Let’s face it; ambassadors from some Arab states were probably not too thrilled to learn that Israel was joining in on a big night with the president. The White House is clearly demonstrating its commitment to stand by first principles, including advancing the cause of peace.