Obama Meets Orthodox Jews, Reiterates Support for Israel
U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated his support for Israel in a meeting this week with members of the Orthodox Jewish community at the White House.
According to a report in the International Business Times, Obama told the Jewish delegation not to doubt his “fidelity” to their cause.
Speaking of the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Obama warned that the window of opportunity for the peace-making process might be already closed, but still expressed hope that progress was possible.
The International Business Times quoted Obama as having said he understood that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wanted no restraints and pledged to “keep trying” for the Israeli cause as “peace is good for Israel.”
A report in the European Jewish Press quoted Obama as insisting his administration is “more attentive to Israelis than Palestinians”.
Obama’s White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, himself an observant Jew, was present at the meeting. The U.S. Orthodox Jewish delegation included Dr. Simcha Katz, Rabbi Steven Burg, Rabbi Shmuel Gordon, president of the Rabbinic Council of America, and Nathan Diament of the Orthodox Union.
“We are deeply appreciative of President Obama and Lew for meeting us to discuss the president's priorities and the Orthodox Jewish community's values and interests,” Katz said, according to the International Business Times.
A White House official said, “The president discussed with the rabbis and lay leaders a variety of issues of mutual concern on issues related to both domestic and foreign policy. The president reiterated his unwavering support for Israel's security and his commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
Obama has come under fire for his policy on Israel, and may be trying to correct that image ahead of November’s election. In his foreign policy speech last May, Obama called for a return to the 1949 armistice lines (often erroneously called 1967 borders) as a starting point for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
A poll earlier this week showed that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is leading over Obama by a new high of four percent.
The Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday by Rasmussen gave 48 percent of the vote to Romney, 44 percent to Obama, 4 percent to other candidates and the rest undecided.
Meanwhile, a poll released last week suggested Jewish voters still prefer Obama over Romney.
Obama out-polled the Republican candidate by 59 percent to 27 percent, with 14 percent undecided. If the undecided voters split similarly, Obama would out-poll Romney by a 68 percent to 32 percent margin among Jewish voters.
“Pastrami & Politics”, a video recently uploaded to YouTube, reveals some strong and confused attitudes that Jewish Americans have towards President Obama and his policy on Israel.
Some of the people shown in the video admitted having voted for Obama in 2008 but at the same time said they are now reconsidering their vote in the November elections.