Israeli Minister Summons Former Diplomat Over Obama Critique

June 18, 2015 Updated: June 18, 2015

JERUSALEM—Israel’s finance minister is distancing himself from claims by Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S. that President Barack Obama is purposely damaging U.S.-Israel relations.

Moshe Kahlon said in a letter to America’s ambassador to Israel that he “summoned” Michael Oren, now a lawmaker in his Kulanu political party, to his office after learning that Oren had expressed his views in an op-ed this week in the Wall Street Journal. The Associated Press on Thursday received a copy of the letter.

Kahlon said Oren’s comments reflected his personal views, and praised Obama for supporting Israel.

Oren said Obama abandoned longstanding principles of U.S.-Israel relations, openly disagreeing with Israel and not coordinating with Israel over changes to its Mideast policies.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby called Oren’s account “absolutely inaccurate.”