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Oren denies describing bleak U.S.-Israel relations

JTA

June 28, 2010 | 10:59 am

Israel’s ambassador to the United States denied reports that he called the relationship between Israel and the U.S. a ‘tectonic rift.’

Michael Oren on a visit to Israel last week reportedly told Israeli diplomats during a briefing that Jerusalem and Washington are like “continents drifting apart,” Haaretz reported Sunday. The newspaper cited five unnamed Israeli diplomats as saying that Oren described relations between Israel and the U.S. as grim.

“I said shift, not rift, but that may be a subtlety that escaped the Israeli ear,” Oren told the Washington Post about the briefing, given in Hebrew at the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Oren reportedly told the diplomats that he has good access to the administration, but that “Obama has very tight control over his immediate environment, and it is hard to influence him.”

“This is a one-man show,” Oren reportedly said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet July 6 with President Obama. The meeting was postponed by a month following Israel’s interception of a Gaza-flotilla that resulted in the death of nine passengers.

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