Obama courts Jewish support for Iran nuclear deal

Obama is working hard to garner support for a nuclear deal with Iran. So far, he held two separate meetings with Jewish organizations and Democrats in an attempt to allay fears.

US President Barack Obama is courting Jewish organizations and seeking their support for the framework Iran nuclear deal, an initiative led by his administration.

The Hill reports that Obama held two separate meetings on Monday with leaders of major Jewish organizations and a group mostly comprised of Jewish Democratic supporters.

Obama made an “emphatic and passionate” case during the nearly 90-minute meeting, pleading his case that a deal is the best way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, an official from a group that participated was quoted by the Hill as saying. National Security Adviser Susan Rice and other senior advisers were also present and helped Obama in his efforts.

“Concerns were raised and there was a fair amount of back and forth,” the official said. “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 Washington Post wrote that the objective of the meetings was to “defuse antagonism toward him [Obama]” and to improve the chances that the deal will pass in Congress through the support of these Jewish organizations.

Obama Susan Rice

President Obama and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, right. (AP /Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Post quoted one person as saying the meeting was a positive one, in which Obama was “heartfelt about his connection to Israel.”

Another participant said that “the president talked about how deeply he feels about Israel and the Jewish people and anti-Semitism. It was not just about Iran. It was much, much deeper in terms of the president sharing with us how he felt.”

The Obama administration is seeking the Jewish organizations’ support on the Iran deal in an effort to sell it to the public and to counter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vigorous opposition to the deal.

The participating organizations included 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, the Jewish Federations of North America. Representatives from all three major Jewish movements, the Orthodox Union, the conservative Rabbinical Assembly, and the Union of Reform Judaism also participated.

In the meantime, a Gallup poll shows that Jewish American approval of the president has decreased dramatically.

American Jews’ approval of Obama has dropped 23 percentage points since 2009, and the gap between Jewish approval and general American approval of Obama—which has been marked by higher Jewish approval—is narrowing.

By: World Israel Staff