Obama makes impassioned plea to Jewish organizations to back Iran deal

In extensive meetings with some of the most powerful Jewish organizations in the country, the president hopes to get support for landmark deal.

April 14, 2015 10:31
2 minute read.
US President

US President walking into the White House. (photo credit: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO / PETE SOUZA)

During a private meeting at the White House Monday, US President Barack Obama pleaded with Jewish groups to accept his framework deal with Iran, according to Washington-based newspaper The Hill.

In multiple meetings with leaders of some the largest Jewish organizations in America, the president made an "emphatic and passionate" case for his landmark deal with the Islamic Republic, according to participants in the meeting.

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“Concerns were raised and there was a fair amount of back and forth,” an official who requested to remain anonymous said of the meeting. “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.”

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 and the Jewish Federations of North America were among those that attended the first meeting. Representatives from all three major Jewish movements, the Orthodox Union, the conservative Rabbinical Assembly, and the Union of Reform Judaism also participated, The Hill added.

Obama has fought hard to sway Jewish voices in  favor of recent the diplomatic initiative with Tehran, but has faced ardent opposition from figures at home and abroad.

During a recent visit to Panama City, where he took part in the hemisphere-wide Americas summit, Obama told journalists at a press conference that he is aware of reservations held by some of Washington's allies, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and stated that he has yet to receive a viable replacement option.

"I have repeatedly asked -- what is the alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon? And I have yet to obtain a good answer on that."

On the domestic front, the White House has come up against outspoken Republican figures such as Arizona Senator John McCain who took a jab at Secretary of State John Kerry during a recent radio interview, suggesting that he took the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei's word more seriously than the US's top diplomat.

"That's not how we're supposed to run foreign policy, regardless of who is president or secretary of state," Obama said, addressing the veteran Senator's derision of one of the White House's keystone diplomatic efforts.

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