U.S. President Barack Obama told Jewish leaders this week that Israel must use its military, political and cultural strength to create a context for peace with the Palestinians, according to participants of a 50-member delegation that met with Obama at the White House.
Obama also told the delegates of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that Washington was committed to supporting Israel and its security but that the Palestinians don’t feel confident that the Netanyahu government is serious about territorial concessions, participants said.
“The president reassured us about the U.S. commitment to Israel’s sovereignty and security,” said Rabbi Steven Wernick, executive vice president of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism and one of the delegates of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “But he did talk about the fact that Israel is the stronger party here, militarily, culturally and politically. And Israel needs to create context for it to happen.”
Delegates at the Tuesday meeting said Obama indicated that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was intent on establishing a state during his tenure and was amenable to a reasonable peace deal.
A White House statement described the meeting as “productive” and noted “America’s unshakable support for Israel’s security, opposition to any effort to delegitimize it or single it out for criticism, and commitment to achieve a peace that will secure the future for Arabs and Israelis alike.”