Forman: Too much distortion of Obama meeting


National Jewish Democratic Council CEO Ira Forman writes in the Huffington Post that critics of President Obama are distorting what happened in his meeting earlier this month with Jewish leaders. His biggest target is Anne Bayefsky, whose Jerusalem Post piece proclaimed that the president "is the most hostile sitting American president in the history of the state of Israel" on the basis of that meeting. Writes Forman:

I have to take my hat off to Bayefsky. She too did not attend the meeting and she seemed to have worked very hard to get so much of the facts and atmospherics surrounding a meeting so consistently wrong. In fact, Bayefsky seems to be describing a meeting that took place in some parallel universe. If something was white in the actual meeting it turns out to be black in Bayefsky’s telling.

For example, she claims that the White House demanded strict confidentiality. In truth, participants were told they could speak to the press about the meeting and we were allowed to take extensive notes of what was said.

Bayefsky concludes that this meeting makes "one thing very clear…[Israel] no longer has a friend in the leader of the free world." Bayefsky must reside on a different planet because if she had interviewed all the participants (or even a few of them) she would have concluded just the opposite.

At the July 13 meeting, the room full of Jewish leaders were clearly willing to ask tough questions to the President and nearly everyone walked out of the meeting with an increased appreciation of Obama and his attitudes toward Israel. However, at least one of the participants was clearly set on grossly distorting the Obama’s very clear message. Even more disturbingly there are more than a few in our Jewish community who are happy to be spoon fed distortions so they can twist reality to fit their own vision of how the world should be.

Ron wrote more about the meeting today, noting that Jewish leaders overall found the get-together "positive" but that they still have concerns about what they see as an imbalance between pressure on Israel and the Arab states.

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