Oren: US candidates must know facts on Israel

After bus bombing, former ambassador urges presidential candidates to learn crucial facts about Israel, reality in the Middle East.

Tova Dvorin ,

MK Michael Oren
MK Michael Oren
Miriam Alster (Flash90)

The Jerusalem bus attack on Monday underscores the need for the future US president to know facts about Israel, Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren opined Tuesday. 

"Sadly, inaccurate figures have been cited, as well as slanted descriptions of Israeli policies," Oren stated, in a CNN Op/Ed. 

"This does not mean that the topic should not be honestly debated by those aspiring to the leadership of the free world," he qualified. "On the contrary, America's alliance with Israel is a cornerstone of US foreign policy, the formulation of which should be a key issue in any national contest."

"The only condition must be that Israel be discussed on the basis of facts, not misconceptions."

The facts, he said, include Israel's "commitment to a two-state solution"; the fact that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has no real leadership, thus making such a "solution" untenable for the time being; the fact that Israel's enemies shoot at innocent Israeli civilians, yet the international community questions the extent of its right to self-defense. 

While maintaining that Israel struggles with the "settlement issue," Oren also noted that candidates should be aware of Israel's humanitarianism - both in commitment to "improving the quality and security of Palestinian life" and to rescuing Syrian refugees, among others. 

"We will continue to respect America's democratic process and refrain from any semblance of interference," he concluded. "But Israel must retain the right to correct any misinformation and to expect the candidates, all of whom have expressed support for us, to also know the facts."

Oren's comments follow a heated elections season vis-a-vis Israel, with Republican candidate Donald Trump expressing the desire to force a two-state solution and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders mistakenly stating that Israel killed "10,000 innocent Palestinians" during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.