I can’t begin to tell you how many times right-wing readers of this blog (including that inimitable self-described “liberal,” David Abitbol, of Jewlicious “fame”) have told me Michael Oren, doyenne of the Wall Street Journal and Shalem Center fellow, is an Israeli political moderate. This despite the fact that Shalem is a wholly owned “subsidiary” of Sheldon Adelson and his “good friend” Bibi Netanyahu.
Well, any thought of Oren’s being a moderate have gone out the window with news that he is the featured speaker at tonight’s Sukkot/Night to Honor Israel celebration at John Hagee’s San Antonio church. Hagee, you’ll recall is the evangelical bozo (I’m not saying, by the way, that all evangelicals are bozos–only that this one is) who said that the Holocaust was a part of God’s plan to bring Jews back to Zion and lead to the Second Coming. Hagee’s ranting earned a stern censure from Rabbi Eric Yoffe, leader of world Reform Jewry, and a warning that no Jews should cooperate with Hagee’s profoundly right-wing religious-political project, Christians United for Israel. Which is, of course, precisely what Oren has done. I’m guessing Oren was paid a handsome speaker fee. I don’t know what else bring him to speak to such an audience.
I would’ve e-mailed Oren to ask him, but curiously his website doesn’t offer any means of contacting him directly. I guess he’s too important a personage to have unmediated contact with the hoi polloi. The only contact link offered is the e mail address of the Shalem Center communication director for those who wish to book him as a speaker. Nice work if you can get it, Michael. One thing I will give him though, he does actually have more academic bona fides than Walid Shoebat, who also rides a similar right-wing Jewish talk circuit.
If anyone can locate the video of Oren’s speech I’d like to upload it to YouTube and offer it here.
Thanks to Joel Katz of Religion and State in Israel for word about this.