For the enlightenment and advancement of its members

PRODOS FILM STUDY GROUP

Proudly presents

With the kind permission of the Aspen Institute
the following videotaped interview from July 2009

THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL
A Conversation with Historian & Israeli
Ambassador, Michael B. Oren (2009)


Date: Monday March 07, 2011

Venue: Hollywood Palace cafe, 179 Bridge Road, Richmond

6.30 PM: Kitchen opens. Big, healthy, yummy meals at heavily reduced prices available just for us! Cooked by Nick the Master Chef!

7.30 PM: Commencement of Film + Chaired discussion.

Who: Only registered PRODOS Film Study Group members and guests of members allowed. You can apply to join on the night. To join you need to agree with our purpose and pay the $5 annual fee.

Policy: Leaving straight after a film and therefore skipping the discussion goes against one of the conditions upon which our permission to screen these films is based.

9.30 PM: End of meeting.

Cost: No charge. But if you’d like to make a personal donation to Prodos that’s greatly appreciated. (But please NEVER miss out just because you’re short of cash. We want you with us!)


Dr Michael B. Oren is an American-born Israeli scholar, historian, author and the Israeli ambassador to the United States, appointed by Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu on May 03 2009.

This interview was recorded not long after that.

Don’t miss this fascinating, wide ranging interview, including lots of intelligent and challenging questions from his audience.

As well as the main topic – The Future of Israel – Dr Oren discusses his personal journey from the USA to Israel, and his understanding of Zionism, liberty, and the hard realities of Middle Eastern Geopolitics.

Extracts from the Wikipedia:

Dr Michael B Oren was born in upstate New York.

His father was an officer in the U.S. Army who took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944 and fought in the Korean War.

Oren grew up in West Orange, New Jersey in a Conservative Jewish household. As the only Jewish boy in a Catholic neighborhood, he says he experienced anti-Semitism on a daily basis.

In his youth, he was an activist in Zionist youth groups such as USY and a gold medal winning athlete in the Maccabiah Games. At 15, Oren made his first trip to Israel with youth movement Habonim Dror, working on Kibbutz Gan Shmuel.

In 1977, Dr Michael B Oren completed his undergraduate degree from Columbia University. He continued his studies at Columbia, receiving a Masters in International Affairs in 1978 from the School of International and Public Affairs.

After college, he spent a year as an adviser to the Israeli delegation to the United Nations headed by Yehuda Blum. In 1979, Oren immigrated to Israel. A few years later, Oren returned to the United States to continue his education, studying at Princeton University.

In 1986, he earned a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies.

In 1979, Oren joined the Israel Defense Forces. He served as a paratrooper in the 1982 Lebanon War.

His unit was caught in a Syrian ambush on the second day of the war. His commander was killed and nearly everyone was wounded. He then joined a unit stationed in Sidon. Oren married in the summer of 1982 and returned the next day to Beirut. During the 1991 Gulf War he was Israeli liaison officer to the U.S. Sixth Fleet. He served as an army spokesman in the IDF Reserves during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. During the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, he was a media relations officer.

President George W. Bush appointed Oren to serve on the Honorary Delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008.

As Israeli Ambassador Dr Michael B. Oren strongly condemned the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict report, which determined Israel was guilty of possible war crimes.

In an October 2009 op-ed in The New Republic, he stated, “The Goldstone Report goes further than Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves.”

On February 8, 2010, Michael Oren spoke at the University of California Irvine. During his speech Oren was interrupted by 11 protesters who shouted, “Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech,” and “How many Palestinians did you kill?”

The outburst and subsequent arrest of the protesters sparked controversy over whether the protesters were exercising free speech, as they claimed they were, or whether it was a suppression of free speech (i.e. of the right of Oren and his audience to a free exchange of ideas), as university officials claimed.

An extract from Dr Michael Oren’s essay, Seven Existential Threats (for Israel)

Since the mid-1970s, Israel’s enemies have waged an increasingly successful campaign of delegitimizing Israel in world forums, intellectual and academic circles, and the press.

The campaign has sought to depict Israel as a racist, colonialist state that proffers extraordinary rights to its Jewish citizens and denies fundamental freedoms to the Arabs.

These accusations have found their way into standard textbooks on the Middle East and have become part of the daily discourse at the United Nations and other influential international organizations.

Most recently, Israel has been depicted as an apartheid state, effectively comparing the Jewish State to South Africa under its former white supremacist regime.

Many of Israel’s counterterrorism efforts are branded as war crimes, and Israeli generals are indicted by foreign courts.

Though the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza clearly contributed to the tarnishing of Israel’s image, increasingly the delegitimization campaign focuses not on Israel’s policy in the territories but on its essence as the Jewish national state.

Such calumny was, in the past, dismissed as harmless rhetoric.

But as the delegitimization of Israel gained prominence, the basis was laid for international measures to isolate Israel and punish it with sanctions similar to those that brought down the South African regime.

The academic campaigns to boycott Israeli universities and intellectuals are adumbrations of the type of strictures that could destroy Israel economically and deny it the ability to defend itself against the existential threats posed by terrorism and Iran.

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