Kathy Manning 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The US-Israel partnership remains intact and positive steps have been taken to further Israel’s quest for peace and security, delegates from North American Jewish federations who met in Washington believe, according to a statement issued over the weekend.
The comments followed two days of extensive meetings with US officials directly responsible for forming and implementing US foreign policy in the Middle East. The delegates included more than 30 prominent individuals from major Jewish federations.
“The mission to Washington was very productive,” said Kathy Manning, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America. “We met with key foreign policy-makers who listened to our concerns, gave detailed answers to our questions, and elaborated on policies regarding Iran and the strong relationship between Israel and the United States. We believe it is important that we continue to meet with key policy-makers in the future to ensure that the interests of the Jewish community are clearly communicated and that our government’s policy continues to move forward in a way that supports the safety and security of Israel.”
Representatives from the federations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, South Florida and Washington, DC, were in attendance. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs also participated.
In a series of closed-door, off-the-record meetings, the delegates were briefed about the steps taken by the Obama administration over the last year and a half to enhance Israel’s security, stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program and combat the international deligitimization campaign against Israel.
“This week’s mission speaks to the collective power of the Jewish federations,” said William C. Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of The Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington office. “Not only were we updated on America’s foreign policy plans from those most responsible for developing and implementing US policy in the Middle East, but we were also able to engage in a frank discussion with them about the perceived relations between the US and Israel.”
Among the US officials who met the delegation were Middle East envoy
George Mitchell; Obama adviser Dennis Ross; Daniel Shapiro, senior
director of Middle East and North Africa at the National Security
Council; and Susan Sher, chief of staff to the first lady and one of
two White House Jewish liaisons.
The delegation also held discussions with Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid (D-Nevada); Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon); House Majority Leader Steny
Hoyer (D-Maryland); House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Virginia);
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Howard Berman
(D-California); House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence
(R-Indiana); House Chief Deputy Whip Debbie Wasserman Schultz
(D-Florida); and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida).
The Jewish federation delegation also met with former Rep. Robert
Wexler (D-Florida). News media reports last week suggested that Wexler
may be the next US ambassador to Israel.