JERUSALEM (JTA) — In an open letter to President Obama, the president of the World Jewish Congress expressed concern over the deterioration in relations between Israel and the United States.
Ronald Lauder called on Obama to "end our public feud with Israel and to confront the real challenges that we face together," most importantly the Iranian nuclear threat.
Pointing out that Israel has recognized the need for a two-state solution and put a settlement construction moratorium into place, Lauder asks in his letter, “Why does the thrust of this Administration’s Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks? After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.”
Lauder also questioned the administration’s Mideast policy.
“The Administration’s desire to improve relations with the Muslim world is well known. But is friction with Israel part of this new strategy?" he asked. "Is it assumed worsening relations with Israel can improve relations with Muslims? History is clear on the matter: appeasement does not work. It can achieve the opposite of what is intended.
“Israel is not only America’s closest ally in the Middle East," Lauder concluded, "it is the one most committed to this Administration’s declared aim of ensuring Iran does not get nuclear weapons.”
Lauder told the New York Times that he cleared his letter with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.