NO HOLDS BARRED: Hillary Clinton’s treatment of Michael Oren as ambassador

The dumped Clinton emails contained insinuations, conspiracy theories and negative portrayals painting Oren as almost an enemy agent who could not be trusted.

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks with supporters during a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire (photo credit: REUTERS)
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks with supporters during a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In the recent email dump from Hillary Clinton’s private server, a series of poisonous emails and articles were exchanged regarding former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren. They contained insinuations, conspiracy theories and negative portrayals painting Oren as almost an enemy agent who could not be trusted.
Sidney Blumenthal, Hillary’s anti-Israel adviser and longtime friend, sent a number of these emails.
In one email, Blumenthal sent an article from the notoriously anti-Israel website Mondoweiss, which has long trolled me on the Internet, and which duplicitously implied with empty insinuations that Oren had planted a false story about a joint US-Israel Iran strike in a plot to manipulate US policy.
On another occasion, Blumenthal sent two articles written by his anti-Semitic son, the notorious Israel-hater Max Blumenthal, which implied Oren was conspiring with Benjamin Netanyahu to derail the peace process.
Sidney Blumenthal derisively emailed Hillary about Oren’s untrustworthiness writing, “[T]he New Republic is a preferred outlet for the highest level Likud/neocon propaganda. Michael Oren, a channel for Israeli intel, was a frequent contributor in the past.”
He also sent an email describing rumors from his journalist son Paul, who claimed to have heard that “Oren raced around the West Wing searching for Barack [Obama], opening doors and looking in rooms.
[Then-US national security adviser Thomas] Donilon heard about Oren’s frantic snooping and raced after him, catching him, and escorted him out. Apocryphal? True?” Hillary responds to the email, “Doubt that it happened, but, these days, who knows???” Furthermore, a flurry of email communications from July 2012 surrounded Hannah Rosenthal, who served from 2009 to 2012 as special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism for the Obama administration. After three years in this position, news broke that Rosenthal had accepted a position as president of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. However, she faced harsh criticism from sectors of the Jewish community for her past views toward Israel. The exchange in these released emails from Hilary’s server showed that the administration was very concerned about this opposition and planned on how best to counteract it, with long-time aide Huma Abedin keeping Clinton apprised.
Rosenthal had previously served on the board of directors of the anti-Israel J Street. She was also on the board of directors of Americans for Peace Now – an organization that advocates for a total BDS-style boycott of Judea and Samaria and its settlements. Yes, this was the person hand-picked by the White House with Clinton’s blessing to fight anti-Semitism.
The protests of Rosenthal’s appointment to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation post stemmed in part from her associations with these anti-Israel groups.
We know that Rosenthal has been a major supporter of Hillary Clinton for the past 20 years and was appointed and served under the Bill Clinton administration in a top-level position in the Department of Health and Human Services.
In a speech of July 13, 2010, Hillary Clinton praised Rosenthal’s appointment to combat anti-Semitism, saying, “I have known Hannah for more than 20 years and we have worked over those 20 years on issues that are near and dear to both of us.” She went on to say, “We know we have a big challenge ahead of us, but I was thrilled when Hannah agreed to take this position...”
Yet just a few months earlier, Rosenthal’s first denunciation in her new role was not against anti-Semitism but shockingly against ambassador Michael Oren.
Oren had recently turned down the offer to be the keynote speaker at J Street’s inaugural conference in December 2009, saying that the policies and approaches of J Street toward Israel were “fooling around with the lives of 7 million people.”
Rosenthal, no doubt offended at the refusal, broke protocol in an uncharacteristic attack on Oren, condemning his comments, and calling his approach to J Street “most unfortunate,” saying that he “would have learned a lot” if he had attended the conference.
Supporting J Street, boycotting Judea and Samaria, and condemning Michael Oren. Was this the basis of Hillary’s support for Rosenthal? Rosenthal faced criticism from a number of Jewish groups for her words. Alan Solow, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, summed up the unusual and inappropriate nature of Rosenthal’s comments. “As an official of the United States government, it is inappropriate for the anti-Semitism envoy to be expressing her personal views on the positions ambassador Oren has taken, as well as on the subject of who needs to be heard from in the Jewish community.”
The Israeli government released a statement that said in part, “We received Ms.
Rosenthal’s statements as reported in Haaretz with astonishment and surprise.”
The Obama administration tried to reassure Israel that these comments did not represent State Department policy.
Unfortunately, the truth is that based on everything we have seen in these email dumps, this is precisely what the State Department’s policy was.
All of these communications put into context another revelatory email from Brian Greenspun, owner of the Las Vegas Sun newspaper, who is close to the Clintons and who fund-raised for them in the past. Greenspun became aware that Oren had been at his job as ambassador for already six months, and astoundingly could not get a single meeting with secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Greenspun wrote Clinton in December 2009, “Word has it that the Israeli ambassador has been trying to meet with you to no avail.
I wanted to make sure you knew that was a belief being shared. I can’t imagine why your folks would want to keep you two apart. I hear he is solid...”
This corroborates Oren’s own claims in his book, Ally: My Journey Across the American- Israeli Divide, in which he described how in the early months at his post as ambassador, Clinton refused to arrange a meeting with him. This was a bizarre change in protocol from Condoleezza Rice’s time as secretary of state in which she met with Israel’s ambassador on a regular basis. Yet Clinton’s staffers pushed off Oren for months with the absurd explanation that she did not meet with ambassadors of foreign countries. When Oren happened to later run into Clinton, she patronizingly asked him in jest why he never responded to the messages she left him.
Clinton’s excuses ring hollow seeing as how six months later her emails show she summoned Oren for a meeting. Unfortunately this severance of communication and unfortunate treatment of Israel’s ambassador was the inevitable result of the attitude toward Israel that seems to have encompassed and defined Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
Mrs. Clinton owes us all an explanation.
Shmuley Boteach is the international bestselling author of 30 books, including his upcoming The Israel Warrior: Fighting Israel’s Battles in the Marketplace of Ideas.
Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.