Roger L. Simon

Conversations with the (Israeli) Ambassador - Part II

I interviewed Michael Oren – Israel’s ambassador to the USA – for the second time today. The results will be up on PJTV in a day or so. But as before it was distinct pleasure to talk with this man. Oren is not your normal diplomat, not in this epoch anyway. He is a writer and historian of considerable reputation and even when talking diplomat-speak (which he must – it’s his job) he has a way of doing it that transcends the usual boiler plate.

We discussed the recent catastrophic fire in Northern Israel (he has an article on the subject appearing shortly in the LA Times), the peace process and a recent (and rather bleak) essay by Israeli historian Benny Morris that attracted the attention of Ron Radosh and others, Wikileaks, and of, course, Iran.

But the most fascinating part of the interview for me was when I asked him at the end about himself – about the two Michael Orens, historian/writer and diplomat, how he reconciled them, etc. He said something that resonated with me – how different it was having to act as a diplomat from being a writer or a pundit. The level of consequence is just not the same. Yes, I thought, readily agreeing with him, it’s easier to spout an opinion than to be responsible for real life action, a lot easier.

I hope you all enjoy the interview with this remarkable man when it’s posted. I will give a head’s up.

BTW, this second interview took place inside the Israeli embassy in Washington. Not surprsingly, entry security was pretty strict, even though they knew several days in advance that PJ Washington Bureau Chief Richard Pollock and I were coming. But you will be happy to know that neither Pollock nor I were x-rayed or touched in any way. No TSA in sight. [insert smiley here]