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Michael Oren: “If we’re going to be called war criminals…”

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Posted on June 9 2010 2:15 pm
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By PowerLine Blog

Michael Oren is the distinguished Israeli historian, American-born and -educated. Oren moved from the United States to Israel in the 1970’s. He is the author of works including Six Days of War and, most recently, Power, Faith and Fantasy. He is also Israel’s ambassador to the United States. At the time he was appointed to serve as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Commentary coincidentally published Oren’s piece on the seven existential threats facing Israel.

I met Oren when he spoke at the Jewish Community Center in St. Paul in November 2002 in support of Six Days of War. I met up with him again in Jerusalem at the Shalem Center in the summer of 2007. My impression of him is that he is something of a natural teacher who does not gladly suffer the usual platitudes spouted about Israel and the Middle East.

Perhaps apposite to the moment, I recall that when he spoke in St. Paul in November 2002 a member of the audience asked asked Oren about Abba Eban. Eban was the famous former Israeli foreign minister during the period including the Six Day War. Eban had just died. In his book on the Six Day War, Oren reports that Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol referred to Eban in Yiddish as “the learned fool.” Somewhat to my surprise, Oren spoke with great warmth and admiration about Eban.

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