WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama is hosting Elie Wiesel for lunch at the White House.
The lunch to take place on Tuesday comes after Wiesel, a Nobel Peace laureate and Holocaust memoirist, published newspaper ads obliquely criticizing the Obama administration for pressuring Israel to end building in eastern Jerusalem.
The Obama administration recently has launched a "charm offensive" in the Jewish community, blanketing Jewish events with speakers touting close U.S.-Israel ties.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton last week addressed the American Jewish Committee, and on Monday both Dennis Ross and Daniel Shapiro — two top national security councillors dealing with the Middle East — spoke to the Anti-Defamation League.
The outreach comes after two months of tensions sparked by Israel’s announcement in early March of a major eastern Jerusalem building start during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden.
Obama is said to strongly value his friendship with Wiesel, inviting the author to join him last summer when he toured the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.