Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | Israel | War on Terrorism | Ron Fournier | Obama | appeals

Obama Tries to Sell Iran Deal to Jewish Groups

By    |   Monday, 13 Apr 2015 09:48 PM

President Barack Obama pleaded his case for a nuclear deal with Iran during a private meeting with Jewish groups Monday, but his pitch reportedly didn't sway anyone's view.

The president made an "emphatic and passionate" plea for support during the nearly 90-minute meeting with Jewish organizations, arguing the framework for a deal is the best option to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, The Hill reports, citing an unnamed participant.

"Concerns were raised and there was a fair amount of back and forth," the official told The Hill. "There were some folks walking in who support and favor the deal and there were some who have deep, deep concerns about the deal. I don’t think anyone’s fundamental view was changed by the conversation."

According to The Washington Post
, there were two meetings, one with leaders of major Jewish organizations and a second session with "community leaders … many of them major political contributors."

"All of us begin with sense of skepticism knowing what Iran is," one Jewish leader told The Post. "A lot of questions were asked. How would this deal with this, how it would deal with that?"

The White House didn't release a list of the groups or participants, but The Hill notes the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), J Street, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Federations of North America, and the Orthodox Union were reportedly among those attending the first meeting.

The Post reports a total of 16 leaders were in attendance, including Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Robert Cohen, president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; Allen Fagin, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union; and Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

The meetings come as the White House tries to shore up support of the Iran deal as negotiators try to finalize an agreement by June 30.

"We do not question the president’s motives here. We do not think he is trying to do anything at odds with Israel’s security or at odds with American security," the unnamed official told The Hill. "This is a disagreement over whether this particular strategy is going to serve the goals that he articulates and we support."

Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz are also briefing members of Congress about the current framework of a deal, the reports say.

The American Jewish community has strong relationships with members of Congress, and its support could be crucial in light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's fierce criticism, but one participant told the Post the president didn't ask Jewish leaders to help with congressional challenges.

"I’m sure that that elephant was in the room, but it didn’t surface," the participant told The Post.

The meetings come as Obama's approval rating among American Jews has dipped in the past three months, a Gallup poll finds.

For the first quarter of 2015, 54 percent of American Jews approved of the job Obama is doing as president. But the approval was 61 percent in January, dropping like a stone to 52 percent in February and 50 percent in in March.

"Jews continue to approve of the job Obama is doing at a higher level than the national average, although the evidence suggests that this advantage among Jews is narrowing," the polling firm notes.

The margin of error for the entire polling sample was 1 percentage point, and 4 percentage points for the same who identify their religion as Jewish.

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President Barack Obama pleaded his case for a nuclear deal with Iran during a private meeting with Jewish groups Monday, but his pitch reportedly didn't sway anyone's view.
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2015-48-13
Monday, 13 Apr 2015 09:48 PM
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