Oren, who won’t meet with J Street, says dialogue is essential

Chagrined Michael Oren says that he wants to go back to UC Irvine, despite being shouted down there a few weeks back.

The diplomat said he understood the emotional nature of Middle East politics, but said it was also important to observe the decorum of free speech and hear others’ viewpoints.

"I was saddened by the loss of this opportunity to exchange ideas with those who disagreed with me and, at the very least, to introduce them to different perspectives," he wrote.

Oren noted that the incident underscored the importance of dialogue, and said dialogue was the only way peace in the Middle East would be achieved. He offered to return to the campus as long as the proper decorum of free speech is respected.

He wouldn’t meet with J Street, but he values the exchange of ideas with those he disagrees with. Maybe J Street should send Oren an open letter. Maybe I am not the best person to suggest that to them. But can’t we get someone to debate Oren? Steve Clemons at the New American Foundation should put on a debate with Amjad Atallah and maybe Daniel Levy.

About Bruce Wolman

Bruce Wolman is a citizen journalist who has lived in Norway and the Washington area.
Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine

{ 10 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. potsherd says:

    Ask Oren if he’s ready for dialogue with Hamas.

  2. Bruce says:

    He’ll debate Hamas before J Street.

    Maybe we can get him on Mondoweiss for a live chat.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Why, so Witty can monopolize the conversation and gush over him? No thanks. Certainly not until flu season is over and I can guarantee my constitution can take the strain of it.

  3. Avi says:

    A political storm overtook the Knesset today when Netyahoo went to the podium to give a speech commemorating the execution of Zionist terrorists in March 1945.


    In 1944 members of Irgun and Lehi belonging to Jabotinsky’s Betar movement carried out attacks on Arab buses. The same year, they murdered Lord Moyne, a Minister of the British Crown in Egypt.

    For their crimes, these members were tried by a British court in Mandatory Palestine and sent to the gallows on March 22, 1945.

    Today, when Netyahoo praised them as heros of the state of Israel, one of the Palestinain members of Knesset interjected and asked: “[they] shot at Arabs’ buses and killed a minister. Is it permissible to kill a minister? Are they heroes or terrorists?”

    The Ha’aretz article in Hebrew states that “Tibi even made a comparison between the [Jewish] underground [resistance] fighters and Palestinian terror organizations”.

    For his criticism, Tibbi was immediately removed from the floor of the Knesset.

    Netyahoo resumed his speech saying, “Today, we salute those 12 resistance fighters
    who despite their arrival at the gallows they did not despair. They were filled with great conviction in their mission to liberate the homeland”.

    He added, “Their heroism calls on us to remember the fallen, their high spirits, for belief in nation and country and the readiness to sacrifice [one's] life is the key to our national existence.”

    Tzipi Livni spoke as well, saying, “Those against whom we are fighting are terrorists, and those whom we are still mourning their loss and commemorating their courage today were freedom fighters.”

    link to haaretz.co.il

    P.S. The English version of the article in Ha’aretz has been cleansed of various important details that the Hebrew version contains. Background information in this post was added by me.

    • potsherd says:

      This, when they’ve been complaining that the Palestinians named a street or something after a “martyr”.

      Israel needs an optometrist, the selective blindness is getting out of hand.

    • MRW says:

      Thanks, Avi. I appreciate your doing this.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      You must be at least this Arabic to be a terrorist, apparently.

      Out of academic curiosity, do Jewish members of the Knesset ever get removed? Or is that reserved for those who aren’t “chosen” enough?

      • Avi says:


        True. I believe it was a sports arena/field. I’ll see if I can get some more information on that later.


        No problem.


        Jewish members of parliament have been removed in the past, but I can’t say at what frequency or for what reasons, as I don’t have concrete data on such cases.

        Nonetheless, a Google search for “removed from Knesset” brings up a few results, mostly of Arab MKs and one Jewish MK who was removed for shouting loudly.

  4. MRW says:

    “Steve Clemons at the New American Foundation should put on a debate with Amjad Atallah and maybe Daniel Levy”

    And Nir Rosen.