ADL Condemns MK Michael Oren’s ‘Unjustified and Insensitive’ Remarks on Obama

Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., wrote that Obama's outreach to Muslim world could be rooted in father abandonment issues.

Jacob Kornbluh
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Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren.
Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren. Credit: AFP
Jacob Kornbluh

JP UPDATES - The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a harsh rebuke of Knesset Member Michael Oren's views on President Barack Obama, as expressed in an essay published by Foreign Policy Magazine on Friday. The ADL said Oren's statements were “unjustified and insensitive.”

In the Foreign Policy article, Oren stated that history will view Obama’s terms in office in a negative light. “Historians will likely look back at Obama’s policy toward Islam with a combination of curiosity and incredulousness. While some may credit the president for his good intentions, others might fault him for being nave and detached from a complex and increasingly lethal reality,” the former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. wrote.

Even more controversial was Oren’s theory about Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world. “Obama’s attitudes toward Islam clearly stem from his personal interactions with Muslims,” he wrote. “These were described in depth in his candid memoir, ‘Dreams from My Father,’ published 13 years before his election as president. Obama wrote passionately of the Kenyan villages where, after many years of dislocation, he felt most at home and of his childhood experiences in Indonesia. I could imagine how a child raised by a Christian mother might see himself as a natural bridge between her two Muslim husbands. I could also speculate how that child’s abandonment by those men could lead him, many years later, to seek acceptance by their co-religionists.”

In a harshly worded statement, Abe Foxman, ADL National Director, called on Oren to retract his statements.

“Ambassador Oren’s essay veers into the realm of conspiracy theories, and with an element of amateur psychoanalysis he links U.S. policies in the Middle East to the president’s personal history of having a Muslim father. Then, taking it a step further by suggesting this 'worldview' of Muslims and Islam has driven the president to embrace the Muslim world at the expense of both Israel and U.S. national security interests.

"This results in borderline stereotyping and insensitivity,” Foxman said in a statement. “We hope that Ambassador Oren will walk back these unjustified attacks.”

Jacob Kornbluh is a political correspondent for

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