Jewish leaders stress that Obama meeting was positive


NEW YORK (JTA) — Jewish organizational leaders are rejecting the notion that their meeting with President Obama was negative in any way.

A JTA article on March 2 reported that Obama in a meeting a day earlier with members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations reaffirmed American support for Israeli security and discussed U.S. policy in the Middle East in a spirit of cordiality and respect.

But the article also noted negative reactions to the president’s view that the Palestinians are prepared for a deal but that supporters of Israel ought to “search your souls” over the Jewish state’s seriousness about making peace.

The Conference of Presidents issued a clarification on March 3 that notwithstanding “certain public reports,” Obama conducted the meeting “in an atmosphere of warmth, friendship and openness and there was no expression of hostility toward Israel or its government.“

“The President articulated his expectations of all parties with respect to the Middle East peace process,” conference leaders said. “The President underscored the unprecedented security cooperation with and support for Israel. He asserted his commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge and to sustaining foreign aid to Israel. The President asserted that efforts to delegitimize Israel would be met with a firm response.”

Other participants in the March 1 meeting, including leaders of the Jewish campus group Hillel and the Conservative movement’s synagogue arm, issued statements affirming the meeting’s positive nature and the president’s support for Israel.

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