Yesterday the Pres met with Jewish leaders. Although most were from the Pres. Conference, there were representatives fro Peace Now,J Street and the National Jewish Democratic Council.
Absent because of their outspoken criticisms were ZOA and the Young Israel.
In general it was a love feastand a pr victory for the President as he pressures Israel.
Reading the JTA accounts, the Jerusalem Post and the letter of the OU President,the only criticism appeared to be about the public perception of one -sided pressure on Israel.It appears that no one appears to have brought up the issues of the failure of the PA to accept many different peace offers over the years,ior the fact that long before settlements,the Arabs never have (and never will ) accept Israel as a Jewish State.
Nore was there public mention that there was a defense of the legality under international law to build these settlements,or the agreement of the Bush administration to allow internal growth. The OU President in his statement did note that they were against an "even-handed " approach to the issues,and that the special relationship between Israel and the US must be maintained.
Sadly the President and incoming Pres. of AIPAC apparently asked bland questions about Saudia Arabia and Iran. Of note, they are both from Chicago and were mega-Obama fund- raisers.
When you stack the room with 1/3 lefties and the rest not prepared to defend Israel in a forceful but respectful manner and to support the PM, you have a sad situation.
I recall vividly long before I was OU President .I was invited to see Pres. Reagan who wanted me and a few others to release some Republican Senators who committed to us to vote against an arms package for the Arabs. I did not want to go,because I questioned if I was up to the task.That was until I recieved a call from Doug Bloomfield,then of AIPAC (now a columnist)who asked me "are you a shtarker?"
I replied "what is a shtarker?"
His retort "can you say NO to the President of the United States?"
I answered " yes, if I believe in the cause"
"then you must go "he answered.
I did,and we spoke up forcefully,and we killed the deal.
Many times over the nexr 8 years, I was priveledged to meet 4 Presidents in the White House,When the group was homogeneous, such as the OU,we met the night before and prepared the questions and the order they would be presented.With the Pres, Conf. it was more informal of a prep.Yesterday was obviously not a homogeneous crowd, and it was meant to soothe the Jews,and even show Bibi that he will not be able to count on the entire American Jewish community FOR SUPPORT
.Tomorrow the OU Pres. presents an oral report to the officers,and we await further clarifications.
WHERE WERE THE SHTARKERS?