“I am the voice of this government [Israel] in this country and you’ll never hear a partisan word out of my mouth… Nothing, no partisanship,” Israeli Ambassador in the United States, Michael Oren said during a Q&A in Brooklyn. Oren visited Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope this evening, in which he touted Israel’s diversity, economic growth and its relationship with the United States, Colin Campbell reports.
“I’m so not going to answer that question!” he declared when first asked about the effective difference between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama when it came to foreign policy in the region. The crowd laughed and cheered.
Mr. Oren went on to frame the discussion in a bipartisan way, noting a recent bill passed in the U.S. Senate expressing support for Israel’s right to defend itself militarily in the face of increased tensions with Iran. “That was passed by a majority of 90 to 1,” he explained. “What piece of legislation in Washington today passes with that kind of majority?”
“I watch the debates, I see the commercials,” he continued, pivoting to the totality of elections rather than 2012′s presidential one. “They’re all trying to show how much they love Israel. The bipartisan support in this country is a great blessing.”
Rabbi Andy Bachman, the host of tonight’s event, later tried to approach the issue in a roundabout fashion, asking why Israel has become such a centerpiece topic in the election between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama, rather than the specific foreign policy differences between the two.
“Everything in this country is glimpsed through the prism of elections. Everything. Where in Israel, we view everything through the prism of existential threat,” he said, lamenting that Israel’s actions to contain Iran has been viewed in the context of American politics. “It’s the furthest thing from the truth. Listen, I am the voice of this government in this country and you’ll never hear a partisan word out of my mouth…. Nothing, no partisanship. And again, Israel deeply values–on every level, on the level of shared values, also on the strategic level–we deeply value the bipartisan political support in this country, and we will do our utmost to preserve it.”