B’nai B’rith: Obama broke ground, but missed opportunity
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B’nai B’rith: Obama broke ground, but missed opportunity

B’nai B’rith International says President Obama broke new ground by "admonishing Holocaust deniers" and talking of the "unbreakable" bonds between the U.S. and Israel, but said he missed an opportunity to addrsss the issue of incitement.

“In the heart of the Arab world, the president addressed the issue of Holocaust denial, noting specifically the six million Jews who were murdered,” said B’nai B’rith President Moishe Smith. “In doing so, President Obama attempted to end an insidious ongoing campaign against Jews. Holocaust denial, by the Arab world in general and Iran specifically, will not be tolerated. It’s a vital message.”

But the group said Obama "also missed an opportunity to discuss incitement – in mosques, schools, and the media – against the Jewish population, and he did not fully address the long record of Palestinian noncompliance with peace initiatives." It also, like other groups, said he was not strong enough in underscoring the threat of Iran.

The full statement is after the jump:[[READMORE]]

Obama Breaks New Ground in Addressing Holocaust Denial, Reinforces Unbreakable U.S.-Israel Ties

B’nai B’rith International (BBI) commends President Barack Obama for admonishing Holocaust deniers and reiterating that America has “strong bonds with Israel” that are “well known” and “unbreakable.” In his first visit to a Muslim nation since taking office, the president noted the U.S. – Israel relationship is “based upon cultural and historical ties.” But the president also missed a chance to address the ongoing issue of incitement and hatred against Jews, which is taught in much of the Muslim world.

“In the heart of the Arab world, the president addressed the issue of Holocaust denial, noting specifically the six million Jews who were murdered,” said B’nai B’rith President Moishe Smith. “In doing so, President Obama attempted to end an insidious ongoing campaign against Jews. Holocaust denial, by the Arab world in general and Iran specifically, will not be tolerated. It’s a vital message.”

The president must also be commended for noting: “The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel’s legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.”

But Obama also missed an opportunity to discuss incitement – in mosques, schools, and the media – against the Jewish population, and he did not fully address the long record of Palestinian noncompliance with peace initiatives.

“The Palestinians have not honored their commitments to the Oslo peace accord to dismantle terrorist organizations and end incitement,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “Many crucial, specific Palestinian obligations have not been met in the nearly 15 years since Oslo. At this time, the Israelis have no viable peace partner to fulfill the hopes of President Obama.”

B’nai B’rith is also disappointed that the president did not better underscore the threat that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons poses to the existence of the State of Israel and to the security and stability of the region.