Many Jewish groups had something to say about yeterday’s meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Here’s a sampling of their reactions in the order they arrived in the mailbox ( A quick summary: Left-leaning groups emphasize Obama’s interest in strong U.S. leadership and moving toward a two-state solution , while moderate organizations focus on the friendship between the two nations and the shared problems and goals):
J Street: As the President made clear, progress toward Israeli-Arab peace will help Israel, the United States and our allies to deal seriously with the threat posed by Iran. Today’s meeting was a first step on a difficult road that must be navigated skillfully and quickly before time runs out on the two-state solution and Israel is forced to choose between its democratic nature and its Jewish heritage. (Their statement mentions Obama or the president four times and Netanyahu just once.)
American Jewish Committee: "President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu today demonstrated that there is a unique friendship between the U.S. and Israel,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “The two nations share common goals of achieving peace in the Middle East and stopping Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon." … Prime Minister Netanyahu, who called President Obama “a true friend of Israel,” could not have been clearer in reasserting Israel’s desire to achieve peace and security with all its neighbors, said Harris. He pointed out that Netanyahu declared, “I want to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians immediately, and broaden them to include other Arab nations.”
Americans for Peace Now: APN praised President Barack Obama for pledging to "aggressively" advance peace for Israel and its neighbors and to address the threat that Iran poses to Israel [and] … for stating categorically that settlement construction "has to be stopped." APN president and CEO Debra DeLee said that "Prime Minister Netanyahu is doing Israel no favor by refusing to embrace" the two-state solution. DeLee said that while Netanyahu’s statements in support of immediately resuming negotiations with the Palestinians were positive, "negotiations with no political horizon are hollow. Palestinians need to know that at the end of their engagement with Israel there would be independence and sovereignty. Otherwise, they will have no incentive to negotiate in good faith and make the concessions necessary for peace."
Anti-Defamation League: This meeting between the two newly elected leaders reaffirmed the strong and enduring special relationship between the United States and the State of Israel. … On the subject of Iran, both leaders agreed on the seriousness of the Iranian nuclear threat. President Obama stated that the U.S. will undertake a serious process of diplomatic engagement with Iran. He also said those talks must lead to action, and not be an excuse for inaction. This first meeting underscored the serious commitment of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama to accomplishing their shared goals of achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians and preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Stand With Us: "Of course Netanyahu is anxious to resume peace talks because Israel has always sought peace with its neighbors. This is about terrorism and not territories. For there to be a long-lasting peace, talks must focus on the Palestinians’ ability to secure law and order in their communities, build a civic infrastructure and they must begin teaching peace to their children. Imagine, if there was a real comitment to peace the economy and future of both peoples would thrive."
Israel Policy Forum: As the President also pointed out today, Prime Minister Netanyahu "has a historic opportunity to get a serious movement on this issue during his tenure." IPF hopes that the Prime Minister will seize this opportunity to take advantage of a President who declares: "The United States is going to do everything we can to be constructive, effective partners in this process." Though Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu have met before, today’s meeting was their first as leaders of their respective countries. It is critically important that the two leaders develop a trust in one another, but it will not be possible to gauge whether today’s session was successful until we see whether or not the peace process is moving forward successfully.