President Barack Obama told a group of American Jewish leaders that he will continue to support the annual US aid to Israel, one of the participants at the meeting told Globes.
It was one of the rare times that Obama has referred directly to the issue of military aid to Israel, which is currently around $3 billion per year. Sources said yesterday that even though the discussion was a private conversation with the leaders, they are very important in light of the major budget cuts battle underway between Democrats and Republicans, especially as some Republicans look to significant cuts in foreign aid.
Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and its member organizations met with President Barack Obama at the White House. The fifty person delegation was led by led by Conference of Presidents chairman Alan Solow and executive vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein. They also met with several other officials.
Obama said that the US has an indisputable commitment to Israel’s security, a claim made often by administration officials, and emphasized that the US will continue to maintain Israel’s qualitative military advantage.
Responding to “challenging” questions by the participants, Obama said that there very well may be differences of opinion between his administration and some in the US Jewish community regarding one aspect or another of America’s Middle East policy, but that it is impossible to cast doubt regarding the sincerity of America’s intentions regarding Israel.
Obama said that while there may be different paths to reach a goal, and there may be disagreement over which path to take, they all agree on the goal of attaining peace and security for Israel.
Obama also said that Israel has to deal with the fact that it has become more isolated in the international community than ever before, and the best way to deal with the problem is peace efforts, which the US remains committed to.
A Jewish leader told “Globes”, “Several accounts which leaked after the meeting, according to which Obama displayed hostility toward Israel, those descriptions are garbage. The President displayed understanding of Israel’s problems, and reiterated US support, but at the same time he did not hide his view that Israel, the US, and the Arab world cannot ignore the lessons of the developments in the region.”
A White House notice called the meeting “productive.”