Conferencing with the Presidents' Conference


The delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has arrived and yesterday conducted a Press Conference.  Actually, it was in three parts, the second two being appearances by Jerusalem''s Mayor Nir Barkat (with a new advisor) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  The two politicians were hosted during the dinner and, having had to coming 90 minutes early for the special security checks, I skipped those two.  As it was, my interest in attending was in trying to gauge what is going on with American Jewry on its several fronts.

Chairman Professor Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein delivered their introductory remarks from which we learned that American and Israel are but two of the locations in which the group is active.



On the way over, a stop was made in the Netherlands and Belgium for talks, including anti-semitism, Iran and local Islamic demographics.  They were quite upbeat about this leg of their trip.

My question dealt with the attempts of certain individuals and groups to undermine, in a purposeful fashion, the American Jewish establishment''s power and influence and to replace it with a radical liberal and progressive world-view.  Without mentioning names, I will admit I had George Soros in mind, as well as J Street (who "believe that a military strike against Iran would be ill-advised"), NIF and Peter Beinart.  There also was a follow-up question by Yitzchak Hildesheimer.

Both spokemen were adamant that the attempt has failed and that support for Israel is quite high despite all the negativism and divided attention these people and groups have generated.  Moreover, in adopting some of the positions they have, they have placed themselves outside of what American Jewry considers to be those of "pro-peace" and "pro-Israel". 

Another good news item was the visit with Jonathan Pollard with who they met in his prison.  I, too, have met with him twice, once in 1990 and a second time in 1993 at his current gaol in Butler, North Carolina.  Much progress has been achieved the past year, most recently the enlistment of Robert McFarlane.  A more troubling situation is that of the security at the Mount of Olives were many thousands of American Jews and relatives of American Jews from other countries of origin are buried.  In fact, next Saturday night, Hoenlein will be participating in an evening assembly on the subject.  ON the American elections, the two studiously avoided any clear pronouncements in any direction.

Before exiting, I managed to say hello to friends including Nitza and Ken Abramovitz and Betty Ehrenfeld, something which is always a plus in Jewish communal affairs.  The entire week is devoted to discussions and trips and so I will try to be back.