In a flash, former ambassador to the US Michael Oren has gone from the fire into
the frying pan.
Oren, who as Israel’s envoy to Washington from July 2009
until September of 2013 was often grilled on the nightly news about Israeli
policy by various news networks such as CNN, has now joined CNN as an analyst
He appeared on air as an analyst three times in the last
week and also penned an obituary on Ariel Sharon for the CNN
This is not the first time Israeli ambassadors have made the
jump from diplomat to network analyst, though it is believed to be the first
time a former Israeli ambassador has signed a contract with CNN.
who now lives in Tel Aviv, told The Jerusalem Post that he saw the position as
an opportunity to give “balanced but insightful commentary on pressing Israeli
and Middle East issues.”
He said that what made CNN attractive was that
it has not only a large domestic US audience but also a strong international
“In terms of getting the message across, it is quite a large and
diverse audience,” he said.
Oren’s piece on Sharon attracted attention
because he wrote that as US Secretary of State John Kerry pursues a peace
agreement, Sharon’s unilateralism is “once again being discussed.”
growing number of Israelis are asking, ‘What happens if the process fails?’”
“One solution could be a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from
Palestinian population centers in the West Bank. As in the disengagement from
Gaza, the United States would endorse this move, but unlike in Gaza, most
Israeli settlements would remain within Israel, and Israeli troops would still
patrol strategic borders. Of course, the preferable solution is two states for
two peoples. But if that proves unattainable, then Israel can still end the
occupation of the Palestinians, preserve its security, and perhaps lay new
foundations for peace.”
Oren did not spell out in the piece who exactly
was discussing this option.
Oren, one government official said, “is no
longer working for the government, is a respected historian, and was a
tremendous ambassador who will be writing books and giving lectures. Today he is
a private citizen, and the views he represents are his own.”
to his work at CNN, Oren holds the Abba Eban Chair in International Diplomacy at
the Lauder School of Government at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, and is
an ambassadorial fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.