Michael Oren Calls on Netanyahu to Cancel Upcoming Speech to Congress

Former Israeli ambassador to U.S. says Boehner's invitation, PM's subsequent behavior created impression of 'cynical political move' that could backfire.

Former Israeli Ambassador to U.S. Michael Oren.
Former Israeli Ambassador to U.S. Michael Oren. Bloomberg

Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his upcoming address to Congress, scheduled for March 3.

Oren, an American-born Israeli who served as envoy to Washington under Netanyahu from 2009 to 2013, reportedly said House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to the Israeli premier and the subsequent behavior involved "created the impression of a cynical political move, and it could hurt our attempts to act against Iran."

"It's advisable to cancel the speech to Congress so as not to cause a rift with the American government," Oren added. "Much responsibility and reasoned political behavior are needed to guard interests in the White House."

After leaving the ambassador post in July 2013, Oren announced in December 2014 that he was joining Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party. At the press conference announcing his candidacy, Oren implicitly criticized Netanyahu, saying that "today, more than ever, it is clear to that Israel-U.S. relations are the foundation of any economic, security and diplomatic approach. It is our responsibility to strengthen those ties immediately."

American officials have warned that the way Netanyahu and current Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer have conducted themselves in relations to Netanyahu's invitation to address Congress could discourage U.S. Secretary John Kerry from defending Israel in the international arena.