Thursday, June 25, 2015

Well, Michael Oren Better Have Something to Say

Michael L.

orenThis is the first time in a very long time wherein the name "Michael Oren" has shown up on this blog.

At first the word was, based primarily on a few recently published articles by the former ambassador, that Oren really let the Obama administration have it in his new book Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide.  According to Oren, Barack Obama intentionally sabotaged US-Israeli relations in order to create "daylight" between the American administration and the despised Zionist regime.

This is what Jonathan Tobin writes in Commentary:
As he did in his book, Oren said he devoted a great deal of thought to trying to figure out what was at the roots of the president’s insatiable and generally unrequited (with the exception of Iran’s regime in the nuclear talks) desire for outreach to the Muslim world that was exemplified in his 2009 Cairo address and his clear belief that America should distance itself from Israel. His primary answer was that Obama was the product of the elite academic institutions where he studied, such as Columbia University where radical Palestinian intellectual Edward Said shaped attitudes toward Islam and Israel
I have been making this very same argument for years.

In any case, I have been exceedingly reluctant to jump on the Michael Oren bandwagon until I actually read his book, which I only just ordered.  The Elder says that Oren is actually far more gracious to Barack Obama than one might think from his recent articles.

What I think is that it is long past time for pro-Israel supporters of Barack Obama to finally admit that this is not a pro-Israel president.  I voted for Barack Obama in 2008.  I later realized that it was a mistake.  I admitted that mistake and moved on.

Why does this seem to be so excruciatingly difficult for so many people?

Why is admitting a mistake such a shame for people?

And please understand, of course, that Barack Obama is not merely bad for the State of Israel and, therefore, the Jewish people.  No.  Barack Obama is bad for the United States and the West, in general, because he does not really believe in the West.  He thinks that the United States and its European allies have been a force of imperialism and exploitation throughout the world and this is the reason that he felt it necessary to get on his hands and knees before the Umma during the 2009 Cairo speech.

He said this:
The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.
What so often strikes me about western-left attitudes toward Islam is the never-ending condescension.  Obama speaks about Muslims as if they were children with no agency in the world.

We are talking about 1.5 billion people who represent one of the most expansive empires and nations in human history.  They were not merely victims of the West or of imperialism or colonialism or modernity or the Cold War.

To see them in this way - which is the typically racist stance of the western-left - is to rob these people of their dignity and self-respect.  To think of Arabs or Muslims as weak little children in need of protection from the big bad western bullies is a nineteenth-century view of the world that used to be called "White Man's Burden," Lloyd.

Our stance toward the rest of the word should be as adults talking with adults, not as parents patting children on the head.  This simplistic post-colonial view that divides the world into white aggressors and their victims "of color" defames the West and infantilizes everyone else.

It is not only counterproductive, but insulting to the rest of the world.

In any case, I am very much looking forward to reading what Michael Oren has to say and I bet that he is not nearly as condescending to the Obama administration as the Obama administration is to the non-western world.

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