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US envoy to Israel calls Oren’s Obama claims ‘imaginary’

Dan Shapiro says Jerusalem’s former US ambassador is trying to sell books by making up story about US abandoning Israel

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro speaks at the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Jerusalem on November 11, 2013. (photo credit: Flash90)
US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro speaks at the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Jerusalem on November 11, 2013. (photo credit: Flash90)

Washington’s ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro hit back at former Israeli envoy Michael Oren Wednesday for what he said were “imaginary” claims that US President Barack Obama had purposefully left Israel in the lurch.

On Monday, Oren, a current Knesset member with the Kulanu party who previously served as Israel’s ambassador in Washington during Obama’s first term in office, wrote an op-ed claiming that Obama had “abandoned” the Jewish state by “deliberately” deviating from several crucial, long-held traditions in the countries’ relationship.

“His account does not reflect the truth. It’s imaginary,” Shapiro told Israel’s Army Radio Wednesday.

“Oren is now in a different position; he is a politician and a writer who wants to sell books,” Shapiro said, referring to the upcoming publication of Oren’s book about US-Israeli bilateral ties.

Michael Oren with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador Dan Shapiro in Jerusalem during President Barack Obama's visit to Israel in March 2013 (Facebook)
Michael Oren with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador Dan Shapiro in Jerusalem during President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel in March 2013 (Facebook)

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Oren faulted the US president for the breakdown in ties between the two allies.

Shapiro however, described the relationship between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “effective, close and the kind that serves the interests of both countries.”

Shapiro also said that recent reports of an upcoming meeting between the two leaders in July was inaccurate. The ambassador said that a meeting agreed to by both Obama and Netanyahu hadn’t been set yet, but was optimistic that it would happen soon.

Commenting on the emerging nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the US ambassador said he wasn’t sure a final deal could be negotiated by the June 30 deadline. “We will only accept an agreement that ensures that Iran will not be able to acquire nuclear weapons within a decade,” he said.

Shapiro said if Tehran proved to be uncooperative regarding UN monitoring or withheld information regarding military involvement in their nuclear program, the US would not hesitate to walk away.

“We will only accept a good deal,” Shapiro maintained.

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