Michael Oren and Barack Obama.
(photo credit: REUTERS,JPOST STAFF)
The Beersheba Municipality on Saturday apologized to Kulanu MK Michael Oren for a press release that misquoted the former ambassador to Washington as saying that US President Barack Obama espoused “radical Islamic values.”
Oren, a critic of the Obama administration’s policies toward Israel, was a panelist at a town hall meeting organized by the city on Saturday.
“The spokesman of the Beersheba municipality wants to clarify and apologize for falsely quoting MK Michael Oren, who spoke at a cultural event in the city today, saying that President Obama introduced radical Muslim values into the White House,” Beersheba’s city hall said in a statement.
“MK Oren never said such a thing nor suggested it. We apologize for the false quote and for the distress caused to MK Oren.”
The municipality had released a statement earlier on Saturday quoting Oren as saying Obama was responsible for introducing “radical Muslim values to the White House.”
“For the first time, radical Muslim values have been introduced to the White House,” the initial press release read. “He would never use the term Islamic extremism” to define groups like Islamic State, the statement said.
The quotes were then picked up by Israeli media outlets, prompting an outpouring of criticism. This forced Oren to issue a clarification in which he strongly denied having made such a remark.
“I was shocked and profoundly disturbed by reports appearing in several Israeli news sites alleging I had publicly attacked [President Obama],” read a tweet on his social media page.
In a press release Oren later added that “several quotes taken from an interview held at a Shabbat culture event in Beersheba were significantly inaccurate.... I never said that the White House holds or expresses radical Muslim values.”
“The interviewer asked about leftist values, not Muslim values,” the statement added.