Obama meets with Jewish leaders to address concerns
In attempt to ease the worries of American Jewish leaders that he is being too hard on Israel and soft on Iran, US President Barack Obama told Jewish leaders Monday that eight years of US-Israeli demands on Palestinian concessions has produced few improvements. He instead asked American Jewish leaders for support in a new approach to the Middle East peace process.
In a private White House meeting with 16 Jewish American leaders, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to Israeli security, but maintained his commitment would not deflect all disagreements between himself and Jerusalem. He told the guests that he was asking both Israel and the Palestinians to take concrete steps toward resuming peace talks.
Obama also indicated that special Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, is negotiating with Israeli and Palestinian leadership toward a compromise on the settlement issue.
“I think people were very direct with the president in expressing their views. ... I think the president was very candid in responding,” the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Alan Solow said. The White House did not release a transcript of the meeting, and participants were prohibited from sharing direct quotes from President Obama. However, four participants and a White House official confirmed Obama’s comments.