U.S. President Barack H. Obama has Israel's best interests at heart, believes his Treasury Secretary Jack Lew – but attendees of the Jerusalem Post Conference taking place in Washington this week weren't buying it.
As Lew proclaimed that “no administration has done more for Israel than the current one,” and that “we do not at all assume that Iran intends to act with innocent intentions,” a large number of audience members began hooting, booing, and yelling “nonsense,” as well as intoning sharper invectives.
Lew continued, saying that the U.S. “strategically assists Israel daily, and we stand against those who question Israel's legitimacy and right to exist.” This, too, earned audience opprobrium.
At one point, Lew was forced to stop speaking and address the audience response, saying that “I understand that we do not agree on everything, but there is no doubt of the commitment of President Obama to the State of Israel.”
Lew, who is an Orthodox Jew, told the audience that he, too, was concerned over Israel's future and security. “We can never allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons,” he said to cheers this time. Even louder cheers came when he invoked the name of Israel's Prime Minister, saying that “Binyamin Netanyahu does not believe we can trust Iran.”
But Obama does, apparently, which was why the audience reacted so negatively, said one observer. “This was the worst I have ever seen a U.S. official ever treated in front of a pro-Israel audience,” he added.