Daily Israel Report

Obama Reaches Out to Jews, Excludes Pro-Yesha Zionists

President Obama, worried over criticism from Jewish supporters, has invited Jewish leaders for a talk but has excluded major pro-Yesha groups.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/13/2009, 9:49 AM

Israel news photo

U.S. President Barack Obama, worried over increasing criticism from Jewish supporters because of soft talk on Iran and a tough stance against Jews in Judea and Samaria, has invited Jewish leaders for a talk Monday. Among those attending is the strongly dovish J Street lobby. The president excluded the strongly nationalist National Council of Young Israel (YI) and Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), sources told Israel National News.

“After his return from Africa this weekend, Obama will be receiving a delegation of American Jewish community leaders Monday afternoon,” Ben Smith of Politco.com reported. “Israel and Iran are likely to be on the agenda,” he added.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, head of Independent Media Review Analysis (IMRA), said that a National Council of Young Israel (YI) official told him that the strongly pro-Israel organization was not among those on the invitation list. Dr. Lerner added. "It follows that Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) isn’t in.”

Both organizations are strong backers of a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and oppose American attempts to force Israel to expel its 300,000 residents in order to allow the establishment of a Palestinian Authority state in their place.

Monday’s chat between the president and Jewish leaders will include the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish organizations, the umbrella group for 51 Jewish groups. However, President Obama also has invited leaders of several individual groups, such as Hadassah, the American Jewish Committee and American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as well as J Street.

The meeting comes one month after President Obama’s “reaching out to the Muslim world speech” in Cairo, when he called Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria “settlements” that are “illegitimate.”

Coupled with the Obama administration’s continuing attempts to engage Iran in diplomacy and its refusal to encourage demonstrators protesting the alleged rigged elections in the recent president elections in Iran, the administration’s forceful campaign against Judea and Samaria has worried many mainstream American Jews.

American Jewry contributed huge amounts of money to the president’s and local Democratic party campaigns last year, and their influence has been largely felt through the upstart Jerusalem Street lobby, heavily funded by billionaire George Soros, who opposes a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.

Most of President Obama's Jewish advisors, including White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, are veterans of the Clinton-Oslo talks era, and have encouraged the president’s unprecedented statements calling for a total surrender of Judea and Samaria to the PA.