During a radio interview Sunday, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren reinforced his position that President Obama’s relentless outreach to the Muslim world may be motivated by Obama’s being abandoned by two Muslim father figures.
Last week, Oren had speculated Obama’s purported abandonment issues may have caused him to seek acceptance from the Muslim world.
Sunday, Oren maintained “it’s a legitimate question” to ask whether the “abandonment” of Obama’s Kenyan Muslim father and Indonesian Muslim stepfather have been partially driving Obama’s policy toward Islam , the Middle East, the war on terrorism and Iran.
Oren, a historian and author, served as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. from May 3, 2009 to 2013. He is now a member of Knesset and has been promoting his latest book, published last week, entitled, “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide.”
As part of the book promotion, Oren penned an opinion piece last week in Foreign Policy Magazine in which he labeled Obama’s Muslim outreach as “naïve” and “detached from a complex and increasingly lethal reality.”
Oren posited Obama’s policies of rapprochement toward the Islamic world “clearly stem from his personal interactions with Muslims” as well as the president’s academic influences.
Regarding Obama’s Muslim father figures, Oren wrote:
“I could imagine how a child raised by a Christian mother might see himself as a natural bridge between her two Muslim husbands. I could also speculate how that child’s abandonment by those men could lead him, many years later, to seek acceptance by their co-religionists.”
Obama’s father, Barack Obama Sr., was a Muslim who married Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in 1961 and divorced her three years later.
From age five to age ten or eleven, Obama lived in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, where he seemed to have taken on the surname of his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro.
During the radio interview Sunday, Klein asked Oren to elaborate on his claim about Obama’s Muslim father figures allegedly influencing his policy toward the Muslim world.
Oren told his interviewer: “The role of an ambassador is to understand your counterparts. The people you have to work with. So when I came to Washington as ambassador in 2009 we had a new president, President Obama. He wasn’t very well known. He hadn’t been in politics that long. And he clearly had some very strong feelings about the Middle East and what he called the Muslim world.”
Oren noted Obama’s use of the term “Muslim world” was “very indicative.”
“That was his term, The Muslim world. Which also is very indicative. I don’t believe there is a Muslim world. It’s a very loaded term. It’s taken from Islam.”
“And it was my job to figure out. And I went back and I read every speech and every interview. And I particularly read his books. It was very interesting to read his books. Especially the books he wrote before he was running for president. And he talked about all of these connections. And people have very short memories. He would always flag his Muslim family connections in his early speeches, including in his first inaugural address, in the Cairo speech. His first television appearance was to Al Arabiya television in Dubai. His first trips abroad were to Turkey and then to Egypt. And he talked about these connections.”
Oren maintained to Klein that “it’s a legitimate question” to ask whether the “abandonment” by Sotoro and Obama Sr. have been partially driving Obama’s foreign policy.
“It’s a very important question for an ambassador to ask,” he added. “Okay, the president is saying these connections are important to him. And these connections lead him to reach out to the Muslim world. Then certainly it’s in Israel’s interests to find out the way it may impact us.”
The Anti-Defamation League criticized Oren’s piece at Foreign Policy last week, calling the former ambassador’s characterizations of Obama’s alleged issues regarding his father and stepfather “insensitive and unjustified,” and the ADL asked Oren to “walk back” his views.
ADL National Director Abraham Foxman in a statement, that Oren’s essay “veers into the realm of conspiracy theories, and with an element of amateur psychoanalysis he links U.S. policies in the Middle East to the president’s personal history of having a Muslim father.”
“This results in borderline stereotyping and insensitivity,” added Foxman.