Leaders of the Conference of Presidents and its member organizations met on Tuesday at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the relations between the U.S. and Israel, ongoing changes in the Middle East as well as other issues.
The meeting lasted almost one hour, and President Obama addressed issues including the recent U.S. veto of the Palestinian Authority's anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations Security Council, the ongoing changes taking place in the Middle East and prospects of peace between Israel and its neighbors. He then fielded questions from the leaders.
“We appreciate the extraordinary session we had with President Obama today during which we were able to engage in an open dialogue relating to issues of concern to the Jewish community,” said Conference of Presidents Chairman Alan Solow and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein following the meeting.
“The President reaffirmed his deep commitment to Israel's security and set out his view as to how the United States can promote the values it shares with Israel as the region undergoes change,” they added. “The open lines of communication with President Obama and his Administration are highly valued and provide us with the opportunity to articulate the views of American Jewry on issues that face our country.”
The 50-member delegation also met other American leaders including David S. Cohen, the Department of Treasury’s Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence regarding sanctions against Iran; Dennis Ross, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region; and Daniel B. Shapiro, Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council. They also met with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders including House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
“The strong bipartisan support for strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship in all its aspects was evident from the meetings with the congressional leaders,” said Solow and Hoenlein. “They also spoke of concerns regarding the U.N. continuing to single out Israel in one-sided resolutions, the status of foreign aid to Israel and other countries, and other issues on the congressional agenda. We believe that the discussions are of great importance to inform the leadership of our member organizations, and have the leaders of our country hear their perspectives and concerns.”
Hoenlein recently visited Israel and said that he believes that the relations between the United States and Israel are very strong.
“I think the day-to-day relationships between the United States and Israel are very strong,” he said. “You saw the visit of Admiral Mike Mullen, you heard the words he used, that the relationship between the militaries is probably the best it’s been. There are tensions. There are differences and that’s natural in every relationship, but our hope is that the overriding interests and the commonality of values and goals will overcome any differences that arise.”