White House: Support for Israeli security is 'unshakeable'

Top Obama advisor tells Jewish organization that although region is evolving, US support for Israel will never change.

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER JERUSALEM POST CORRESPOND
March 8, 2011 21:07
2 minute read.
President Obama

Obama 311 reuters. (photo credit: Reuters)

WASHINGTON – A top White House adviser told a major Jewish organization Monday that despite the changes in the Middle East, the US remained as committed as ever to Israel’s security.

Valerie Jarrett, US President Barack Obama’s senior adviser and assistant for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement, told the Jewish Council for Public Affairs that her boss has “made clear that while the region evolves, some things will never change.

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Among them is his unshakeable support for Israel’s security.”

She also spoke of his “opposition to any efforts to delegitimize Israel, or single her out for criticism, and his commitment to achieve a peace that will secure the future for Arabs and Israelis alike,” which garnered applause from the organization’s annual conference.

Jarrett noted that she had been present last week at the meeting between President Obama and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

“At the meeting, the president made clear that throughout this period of unrest, we have been consistent in rejecting violence; calling for respect for universal rights; and advocating on behalf of a process of meaningful reform that is responsive to the needs of the people,” she said.

“These are universal values, and the president will uphold them everywhere, as he has done from Egypt to Bahrain to Libya. As he does so, he will also work closely with the international community to ensure that the process of transition is orderly and stable, and that the region evolves in a way that advances American interests, including peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors.”

Jarrett stressed that “the status quo in the Arab world is not sustainable, and neither is the status quo in the search for peace in the Middle East.”

She called on the JCPA to help in this effort, telling participants, “we need to find a way to make sure that direct negotiations have credibility and purpose, because this is the only way to resolve the conflict.”

At the conclusion of her remarks, Jarrett revealed for the first time her own Jewish ancestry, telling the audience that the upcoming Pessah holiday was particularly important to her because her parents once hosted a Seder at which her father announced that her own great-grandfather was Jewish.

“What a wonderful surprise for our friends, and for me. I had no idea!” related Jarrett, who is African-American.

“So Passover has always been a special holiday for me from that point on.”


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