Biden finger 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
WASHINGTON – US Vice President Joe Biden, whose visit to Israel earlier this year ended with a crisis in bilateral relations, will be headlining the 2010 General Assembly of Jewish federations in New Orleans this November, according to the organization.
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Biden will be joined by Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni and Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren at the Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) three-day convention themed “The Big Embrace in the Big Easy.”
Biden’s participation follows last year’s planned appearance of US President Barack Obama, who subsequently pulled out to attend the memorial service for the Fort Hood shooting victims. Then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel took his place.
“We are proud to be hosting Vice President Biden at the GA,” North American chairs Steve and Judy Silverman said in a statement e-mailed Tuesday to JFNA leadership.
JFNA representatives could not be reached for comment by deadline, nor could White House officials.
Biden’s anticipated address at the GA also comes after his March trip to
Israel, a goodwill tour that devolved into a crisis in US-Israeli
relations after the Interior Ministry announced plans to expand building
in a Jewish neighborhood of east Jerusalem during the visit.
After several weeks of tension, the White House engaged in an intensive outreach effort to the Jewish community.
“Many efforts have transpired since March. The administration has made
many efforts to reach out to the community, and those efforts have been
successful in many ways,” said Nathan Diament, director of the Orthodox
Union’s Washington office, who didn’t see a connection between the two
“It makes perfect sense that they would send the president or the vice
president to the GA,” he said. “It’s engaging with a significant
community at one of its largest gatherings.”
The GA routinely attracts thousands of participants from federations in
more than 150 Jewish communities in the US and Canada. The umbrella
organization of the federations, the JFNA’s Washington office also
lobbies on certain domestic and international issues important to
“It’s a statement about the importance of the Jewish community to this
White House as well as the importance of the issues that the Jewish
federations engage in day-in and day-out,” said Democratic strategist
Matt Dorf of Biden’s attendance. Dorf’s public relations firm represents
the JFNA’s Washington office.
He dismissed the suggestion that part of the importance of the Jewish
community was connected to the midterm elections to be help in early
“This visit stands on its own,” he said. “It has nothing to do with electoral politics.”
Diament, who is not affiliated with the JFNA, welcomed Biden’s participation.
“It’s obviously very important that the White House continue to reach
out to the community, and it’s good news that it’s not being done in the
context of a crisis,” he said.