Israeli ambassador praises Trump at White House reception

Ambassador Ron Dermer speaks at White House reception for Jewish leaders, praises Trump administration and its Israel policy.

Ben Ariel ,

Ambassador Ron Dermer at White House reception for Jewish leaders
Ambassador Ron Dermer at White House reception for Jewish leaders
Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce

Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, was the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s White House reception for Jewish leaders and lavished praised on the Trump administration, JTA reported.

Dermer in his remarks spoke in praise of the Trump administration and its Israel policy, including moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the Iran deal, defending Israel at the United Nations and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, attendees said.

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who directs American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) spoke about the coming Passover holiday at the reception in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which adjoins the White House. Elan Carr, the State Department’s anti-Semitism envoy briefed the guests on combating anti-Semitism overseas, according to JTA.

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, was expected to attend, but was not in attendance.

The event was notable due to the fact that leaders of three of the four major streams of American Judaism were not invited. Only leaders of Orthodox Jewish groups were present, although there was one Washington D.C. area Conservative rabbi.

The Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements, whose leaders were not invited, have clashed with the White House on a range of policies, including immigration and President Donald Trump’s rhetoric.

The Orthodox movements have been more welcoming of White House policies, particularly relating to Israel, including Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Jewish Democratic Council of America responded to the fact that the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements were not invited to the discussion.

“It’s clear the Trump White House invited a subset of the Jewish community and intentionally excluded others,” Halie Soifer, the director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said in an email to JTA.

“As with everything this president does, this meeting appears to be defined by narrow political calculation as opposed to genuine outreach to the Jewish community,” added Soifer.

Also not invited were the Anti-Defamation League, J Street, HIAS, or the Israel Policy Forum, a group dedicated to a two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict.

A number of Jewish Trump administration officials attended, including Jason Greenblatt, the lead Middle East peace negotiator.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva on Monday, Duvi Honig, the founder of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, who was invited, said, "Among the groups are the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Hadassah, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Zionist Organization of America, the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, the Coalition for Jewish Values, the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Young Israel, the Orthodox Union, the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, Agudath Israel, and America Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad)."

"Many left-affiliated organizations were not invited," emphasized Honig, pointing out that the issue of who was and who wasn't invited to an official White House event reached headlines at the 2017 White House Hanukkah party, as Democratic lawmakers and groups affiliated with the left were not invited.

Ambassador Ron Dermer at meeting with Jewish leaders in the White House. Photo: Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce