Full Text Israel Political Brief September 30, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech to Jewish Federation Leaders in New York — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks to Jewish Federation Leaders in New York

Source: PMO, 9-30-14
יום שלישי ו’ תשרי תשע”ה

Photo: Avi Ohayon, GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, in New York, met with Jewish federation leaders and made the following remarks:

“Every time I come to the UN I try to tell the truth as it is. But here’s a picture I didn’t show in the UN yesterday. This is an impending execution. But this isn’t ISIS, this is Hamas. And during the recent fighting in Gaza, right around the time that ISIS was doing its grisly deeds, Hamas executed dozens of Palestinians just to impose fear and force the population of Gaza into submission. It’s true there are some differences between Hamas and ISIS – for example ISIS beheads people and Hamas puts a bullet in the back of their heads. But to the victims, and the victims’ families, the horror is the same. The point I was trying to make yesterday and I’m making today is that we are faced with a world-wide network of militant Islamists, groups and regimes. It’s not that they have a common war-room. They have war-rooms against each other because all of them wish to dominate first the region in which they are in and then ultimately the entire world. But they all share this fanatic ideology; they all have not only unbridled ambitions but also savage methods. And the more they have the capability to realize their ambitions, the more they’ll unleash their pent-up aggression against our common civilizations.

This is the point that I think is most important – We all support the efforts led by President Obama to stop and defeat ISIS, there’s no question that that has to be done. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is, as I said yesterday and I’ll say it again, is to win the battle and lose the war. We have to stop ISIS, defeat ISIS, but we have to prevent Iran from getting the capability to produce nuclear weapons.”

 

Israel Political Brief April 14, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu sends condolences to families of Kansas Jewish center shootings

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Netanyahu sends condolences to families of Kansas Jewish center shootings

Source: Jerusalem Post, 4-14-14Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the families of those killed in Sunday’s shootings at two Jewish centers in Overland Park Kansas….READ MORE

PM Netanyahu Sends Condolences to Families of the Victims of the Massacre in Kansas

Source: PMO, 4-14-14
יום שני י”ד ניסן תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sends his condolences to the families of the victims of yesterday’s massacre in Overland Park, Kansas in the US. “We understand that the murders were — according to indications — were perpetrated out of hatred of Jews .

The State of Israel is at the forefront, along with all civilized peoples which are committed to the struggle against this scourge,” the Prime Minister said.

 

 

 

Israel Brief May 23, 2013: Sheldon Adelson & wife Miriam donate another $40 million to Birthright Israel Foundation

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Adelsons donate another $40 million to Birthright

Source: JTA, 5-23-13

Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, donated another $40 million to the Birthright Israel Foundation….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 8, 2013: US President Barack Obama to US Jews: Peace vital but prospects bleak

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Obama to US Jews: Peace vital but prospects bleak

Source: Jerusalem Post, 3-8-13

US President Barack Obama believes prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace are “bleak,” but he still will urge both sides to avoid unilateral actions that might further damage a process he hopes will be back on track within a year….READ MORE

Jewish Political Brief February 13, 2013: ZOA chief Morton Klein: US Jews shied away from Chuck Hagel controversy

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ZOA chief: US Jews shied away from Hagel row

Source: Jerusalem Post, 2-13-13

Morton Klein tells Post that other Jewish leaders urged him to drop ‘campaign against Hagel’, accuses them of being ‘frightened group of Jews’….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief January 22, 2013: Elections 2013: Memo To The Next Knesset: Get To Know American Jewry

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Memo To The Next Knesset: Get To Know American Jewry

Source: The Jewish Week, 1-22-13

Israeli media coverage of American Jewish life is mostly confined to the ebb and flow of the Israel lobby in Washington…..READ MORE

Israel Political Brief September 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Rosh Hoshanah Greeting

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President Obama’s Rosh Hoshanah Greeting

Source: WH, 9-13-12

As we look forward to the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays Sunday night, I want to extend my warmest wishes to all those celebrating the New Year.

This is a joyful time for millions of people around the world. But Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are also opportunities for reflection. They represent a chance to take stock of our lives and look forward to the coming year with clear eyes and renewed purpose.

In that spirit, the Jewish Tradition teaches us that one of the most important duties we have during this period is the act of reconciliation. We’re called to seek each other out and make amends for those moments when we may not have lived up to our values as well as we should.

At a time when our public discourse can too often seem harsh; when society too often focuses on what divides us instead of what unites us; I hope that Americans of all faiths can take this opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate; to be tolerant of our neighbors; and to recognize ourselves in one another. And as a nation, let us be mindful of those who are suffering, and renew the unbreakable bond we share with our friends and allies – including the State of Israel.

In that spirit, Michelle and I wish you and your families a sweet year full of health, happiness, and peace. L’Shana Tovah.

Israel Political Brief September 11, 2012: Barack Obama’s Jewish Support Continues to Drop

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Obama’s Jewish Support Continues to Drop

Source: Israel National News, 9-11-12

Obama’s support among Jews continues to drop although most polls show his standing is on the rise among the general population.
Mitt Romney greets the audience at a campaign rally in Jacksonville, Florida

Mitt Romney greets the audience at a campaign rally in Jacksonville, Florida
Reuters

President Barack Obama’s support among Jews continues to drop although most polls show his standing is n the rise among the general population.

A survey by TIPP, which says it was the most accurate presidential pollster in the 2004 and 2008 elections, show that only 59 percent of likely Jewish voters will vote for the president, down from 68 percent in Gallup polls in June and July and far from the 78 percent in the final results in 2008.

The TIPP poll, carried to for The Investors Business Daily/Christian Science Monitor, shows Obama leading Mitt Romney by a 59-35 percent margin among Jews.

Overall, the survey gave Obama a two percent lead, while a CNN survey shows the president ahead of Romney by 6 percentage points. Romney and Obama were running nearly neck-and-neck in previous polls, with leads of 1-2 percent….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 17, 2012: Jonathan Pollard supporters call Sec of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks a ‘slap in the face’

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Pollard supporters call Clinton’s remarks a ‘slap in the face’

Source: JTA, 7-17-12

Supporters of Jonathan Pollard called Hillary Clinton’s remarks rejecting his possible clemency “a resounding slap in the face” to Israel’s leaders and its people….READ MORE

Israel Brief July 17, 2012: Adelsons Infuse Cash Into Birthright Israel Program

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Adelsons Infuse Cash Into Birthright Program

Source: Israel National News, 7-17-12

The Birthright-Taglit program are to receive a much-needed infusion of cash from top philanthropists Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson.
Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson at a Birthright Israel Foundation event

Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson at a Birthright Israel Foundation event
Billie Weiss/Birthright Israel Foundation

The Birthright-Taglit program are to receive a much-needed infusion of cash from top philanthropists Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson.

The Jewish-American couple has donated $13 million to the program’s coffers, it was announced, adding to the $20 million they gave earlier this year….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief July 15, 2012: Text of US Jewish leaders’ letter to PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Levy settlement report

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Text of Jewish leaders’ letter to Netanyahu on Levy settlement report

40 U.S. Jewish leaders sign Israel Policy Forum letter urging prime minister to reject document produced by panel headed by former Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy.

U.S. Jews to Netanyahu: Report urging state to legalize settlements will aid those seeking to delegitimize Israel

July 13, 2012

The Honorable Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of the State of Israel

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

As strong advocates for Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish and democratic state, we are deeply concerned about the recent findings of the government commission led by Supreme Court Jurist (Ret.) Edmund Levy. We fear that if approved, this report will place the two-state solution, and the prestige of Israel as a democratic member of the international community, in peril.
As you boldly stated in your address to the United States Congress last May, “I recognize that in a genuine peace, we’ll be required to give up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland.” As you said clearly, doing so is not easy. While the Jewish people indeed share a biblical connection to the lands of Judea and Samaria, you told Congress, “there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they’ll be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people living in their own state.”
Securing Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state requires diplomatic and political leadership, not legal maneuverings. We recognize and regret that the Palestinian Authority has abdicated leadership by not returning to the negotiating table. Nonetheless, our great fear is that the Levy Report will not strengthen Israel’s position in this conflict, but rather add fuel to those who seek to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist. At this moment, it is more critical than ever that Israel strengthen its claim in the international community that it is committed to a two-state vision, which is, in turn, central to Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.
We are confident that with your deep understanding of the gravity of this situation, and your unprecedented political strength, you will ensure that adoption of this report does not take place.

Sincerely,

Karen R. Adler
Jack C. Bendheim
Michael Berenbaum
Howard M. Bernstein
Charles R. Bronfman
Steven M. Cohen
Rabbi Marion Lev Cohen
Lester Crown
Thomas A. Dine
Rabbi David Ellenson
Edith Everett
Susie Gelman
E. Robert Goodkind
Stanley P. Gold
Rabbi Daniel Gordis
David A. Halperin
Harold R. Handler
Alan S. Jaffe
Peter A. Joseph
Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky
Peter S. Kolevzon
Steven C. Koppel
Burton Lehman
Marvin Lender
Geoffrey H. Lewis
Deborah Lipstadt
Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon
Harriet Mouchly-Weiss
Burt Neuborne
Bernard Nussbaum
Richard Pearlstone
Marcia Riklis
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn
David Sable
Rabbi David Saperstein
Jeffrey R. Solomon
Joel D. Tauber
Melvyn I. Weiss
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
Michael D. Young
Lawrence Zicklin

Affiliations provided below for identification purposes only

Karen R. Adler (New York, NY) – Chair, Executive Committee of the Jewish Communal Fund

Jack C. Bendheim (New York, NY) – President & Chairman, Phibro Animal Health Corp.; former Chairman, IPF

Michael Berenbaum (Los Angeles, CA) – Director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust at the American Jewish University; former Project Director of the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC

Howard M. Bernstein (Los Angeles, CA) – Emeritus Member of Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; Honorary Board Member, Wilshire Boulevard Temple

Charles R. Bronfman (New York, NY; Montreal) – Chairman, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies

Rabbi Marion Lev Cohen (New York, NY) – Board Member, Israel Policy Forum; Director of Adult Engagement, Central Synagogue

Steven M. Cohen (New York, NY) – Director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at New York University

Lester Crown (Chicago, IL) – Chairman of Henry Crown & Co.; Crown Family Philanthropies

Thomas A. Dine (Washington, DC) – Former Executive Director of AIPAC

Rabbi David Ellenson (New York, NY) – President, Hebrew Union College –Jewish Institute of Religion

Edith Everett (New York, NY) Co-founder and President, Everett Family Foundation

Susie Gelman (Washington, DC) – Immediate Past President, Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

Stanley P. Gold (Los Angeles, CA) – Chairman Emeritus, Jewish Federation of LA; President and CEO, Shamrock Holdings

E. Robert Goodkind (New York, NY) – Partner, Pryor Cashman LLP; former President, American Jewish Committee (’04-’07)

Rabbi Daniel Gordis (Jerusalem) – Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem

David A. Halperin (New York, NY) – Executive Director, Israel Policy Forum

Harold R. Handler (New York, NY) – Former President, JCC in Manhattan; Former Chairman, Jewish Communal Fund; Board Member, Israel Policy Forum

Alan S. Jaffe (New York, NY) – President, Jewish Community Relations Council-NY; former President, UJA-Federation-NY; former Chairman, Proskauer

Peter A. Joseph (New York, NY) – Chairman, Israel Policy Forum

Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky (New York, NY) – Temple Ansche Chesed

Peter S. Kolevzon (New York, NY) – Founding Chair and Past President, JCC in Manhattan

Steven C. Koppel (New York, NY) – Partner, JonesDay; Member, International Board of Governors, The Peres Center for Peace

Burton Lehman (New York, NY) – Former Chair and Member of the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute Religion

Marvin Lender (Connecticut) – Former National Chairman, UJA

Geoffrey H. Lewis (Boston, MA) – Board Member, Israel Policy Forum

Deborah Lipstadt (Atlanta, GA) – Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University

Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon (New York, NY) – Congregation Bnai Jeshurun

Harriet Mouchly-Weiss (New York, NY) – Board Member, Israel Policy Forum

Burt Neuborne (New York, NY) – Professor of Law, NYU

Bernard Nussbaum (New York, NY) – Former White House Counsel (’94); Partner, Wachtell Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Richard Pearlstone (Aspen, CO) – Former Chairman, Jewish Agency

Marcia Riklis (New York, NY) – Board member, Israel Policy Forum; General Campaign Co-Chair, UJA Federation-NY

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn (New York, NY) – Program Director, Jewish Life and Values, Nathan Cummings Foundation

David Sable (New York, NY) – Former Executive Board Member, UJA Federation-NY

Rabbi David Saperstein (Washington, DC) – Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Jeffrey R. Solomon (New York, NY) – President, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies

Joel D. Tauber (Southfield, MI) – Former Chairman, National UJA; former National Chairman of Tel Aviv University: American Council

Melvyn I. Weiss (New York, NY) – Board Member, Israel Policy Forum

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie (New York, NY) – President Emeritus, Union for Reform Judaism

Michael D. Young (New York, NY) – Board Member, Israel Policy Forum

Lawrence Zicklin (New York, NY) – Former President, UJA Federation-NY

Israel Political Brief July 15, 2012: 40 US Jewish Leaders Send Letter to PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Bury Levy Report — Includes Charles Bronfman, Daniel Gordis, Deborah Lipstadt

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40 U.S. Jewish Leaders to Bibi: Bury Levy Report

Source: Israel National News, 7-15-12

Philanthropist Charles Bronfman, Shalem Center head Gordis among signatories who fear report will imperil Israel.
Delegates at AIPAC conference

Delegates at AIPAC conference
Hezki Ezra

More than 40 prominent American Jewish leaders and philanthropists sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday in which they implored him not to approve the judicial report that says Jews may settle freely in Judea and Samaria….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 11, 2012: When President Obama Awards President Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom Could be Jonathan Pollard’s Last Chance for Freedom

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Obama’s ‘Freedom’ Award to Peres May be Pollard’s Last Chance

Jonathan Pollard and millions of Jews are hoping Obama will free him from jail when he awards Peres the US Freedom Medallion Wednesday.

Source: Israel National News, 6-11-12

Free Pollard protest

Free Pollard protest
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Jonathan Pollard and millions of Jews are hoping President Barack Obama will free him from jail when he awards visiting President Shimon Peres the U.S Presidential Freedom Medal Wednesday.

In the cold world of politics, the “Jewish vote” may be the only factor that determines the fate of Pollard, who has been languishing in prison for more than 26 years.

With all polls showing that President Obama has 60-64 percent of the Jewish vote, as opposed to 78 percent four years ago, his political calculations of how many votes he can gain for Pollard’s freedom probably will outweigh humanitarian considerations.

However, the act of working on behalf of a foreign country, even if an ally, claws deeply into the skin of American patriotism, and American Jews are far from united on whether the U.S. president should exercise his authority and pardon Pollard, despite his deteriorating health.

Pollard was sentenced to life for a crime that usually carries a punishment of 2-4 years in jail – passing on classified information on behalf of a foreign country.

He was not convicted of spying, but mainstream media continue to call him a “spy for Israel.” The information Pollard handed over while working at the Pentagon is believed to have involved the Iraqi nuclear reactor, which Israel subsequently destroyed in a bombing raid. The information was not damaging to U.S. security, and an increasing number of American officials have said that Pollard did not get a fair trial and was punished unfairly.

The award of the Freedom Medal to President Peres will give him a prime time opportunity to free Pollard. Pres is arriving with a petition from 70,000 Israelis, backed by media support from the entire political spectrum, for freeing Pollard….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 31, 2012: US Jewish Leaders Ask President Barack Obama to Let Jonathan Pollard Go Free

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U.S. Jewish Leaders: Obama, Let Pollard Go

Conservative Rabbis stream told Obama Pollard has served an unprecedented period of time in jail.
Free Pollard protest

Free Pollard protest
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Rabbis from the Conservative Jewish stream met with President Barack Obama Wednesday and asked him to set Jonathan Pollard free immediately.

As justification for the request, the rabbis said that the time served by Pollard was unprecedented in view of his offenses, and noted his deteriorating health.

The meeting was originally planned to be held with White House Chief of Staff, Jack Lew. However, Obama popped in for a surprise visit.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger will be among the guests at the gala dinner in which President Shimon Peres will receive the Medal of Freedom. Kissinger recently published a letter which includes the statement that “justice will be done by the immediate freeing of Pollard.”

Jewish News Brief May 30, 2012: President Obama, White House ‘regrets’ reference to ‘Polish death camp’

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White House ‘regrets’ reference to ‘Polish death camp’

Source: JTA, 5-30-12

The White House expressed its regrets about President Obama’s use of the term “Polish death camp.”

In a statement Wednesday morning, Tommy Vietor, the spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, said the president “misspoke” during his presentation of a posthumous Medal of Freedom a day earlier to Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter who was among the first to report German atrocities in his country.

“He was referring to Nazi death camps in Poland,” Vietor said. “We regret this misstatement, which should not detract from the clear intention to honor Mr. Karski and those brave citizens who stood on the side of human dignity in the face of tyranny.”

During the ceremony, Obama said of Karski, “Fluent in four languages, possessed of a photographic memory, Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action.”

Poles insist on the term “Nazi death camps” to describe facilities such as Auschwitz and Sobibor….READ MORE

Jewish News Brief May 30, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Jewish American Heritage Month White House Reception

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IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA HOSTS AMERICAN JEWISH HERITAGE MONTH EVENT AT WHITE HOUSE

Obama hosts Jewish heritage event at White House

Source: JTA, 5-30-12

President Obama celebrated the values of communities petitioning government at a White House reception honoring Jewish American Heritage Month.

“We don’t just celebrate all that American Jews have done for our country; we also look toward the future,” he said. “And as we do, I know that those of you in this room, but folks all across this country will continue to help perfect our union, and for that I am extraordinarily grateful.”

Obama focused a large portion of his remarks on the 150th anniversary of an order that was issued by Gen. Ulysses Grant expelling Jews “as a class” from the military department of Tennessee.

“It was wrong. Even if it was 1862, even if official acts of anti-Semitism were all too common around the world, it was wrong and indicative of an ugly strain of thought,” Obama said.

He went on to note that American Jews protested the order. “What happened next could have only taken place in America,” the president said. “Groups of American Jews protested General Grant’s decision.”

Obama described how a Jewish merchant from Kentucky met with President Abraham Lincoln and, following the meeting, the order was revoked.

“Like so many groups, Jews have had to fight for their piece of the American dream,” Obama said. “But this country holds a special promise: That if we stand up for the traditions we believe in and in the values we share, then our wrongs can be made right, our union can be made more perfect, and our world can be repaired.”

The order by Lincoln to revoke Grant’s order was on display during the reception, as were letters from two Jewish groups asking for the revocation.

Years later as president, Grant said that he recognized his mistake and apologized for the order. Also on display was a receipt for his contribution to the Adas Israel congregation, which still exists, after attending an 1876 service.

Before he delivered his little history lesson, Obama’s staff consulted with Brandeis University’s Jonathan Sarna, who is an expert on American Jewish history…. READ MORE

  • Obama’s elegant post-blunder speech on Jewish heritage: Obama chose to ignore his referring to Nazi concentration camps as ‘Polish death camps’ during the Jewish American heritage reception, instead choosing to focus on a Jewish struggle during the Civil War…. – Haaretz, 5-31-12

Remarks by the President to a Jewish American Heritage Reception

Source: WH, 5-30-12

East Room

5:17 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Well, welcome to the White House, everybody.  I hope you’re having fun.  Excellent.

I want to recognize Ambassador Michael Oren, and thank him for his work representing our great friend, the state of Israel.  I want to recognize and thank all the members of Congress and the members of my administration who are here today.  I want to thank our musical guests, Rak Shalom.  (Applause.)  I was just meeting with all of them back there — they said they did quite a few numbers.  And they were outstanding, I know.

This year, we celebrate Jewish Heritage Month — Jewish American Heritage Month, and we’re also commemorating an important anniversary.  One hundred-fifty years ago, General Ulysses Grant issued an order –- known as General Orders Number 11 –- that would have expelled Jews, “as a class,” from what was then known as the military department of the Tennessee.  It was wrong.  Even if it was 1862, even if official acts of anti-Semitism were all too common around the world, it was wrong and indicative of an ugly strain of thought.

But what happened next could have only taken place in America. Groups of American Jews protested General Grant’s decision.  A Jewish merchant from Kentucky traveled here, to the White House, and met with President Lincoln in person.  After their meeting, President Lincoln revoked the order — one more reason why we like President Lincoln.  (Laughter and applause.)

And to General Grant’s credit, he recognized that he had made a serious mistake.  So later in his life, he apologized for this order, and as President, he went out of his way to appoint Jews to public office and to condemn the persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe.

Today, we have a few documents on display –- maybe some of you saw them when you walked in.  There are two letters of protest from Jewish organizations to President Lincoln.  There is President Lincoln’s handwritten reply, saying that he had taken action.  And there is a receipt for the donation that President Grant made to the Adas Israel Synagogue here in Washington, when he attended a service there in 1876.

So together, these papers tell a story, a fundamentally American story.  Like so many groups, Jews have had to fight for their piece of the American dream.  But this country holds a special promise:  that if we stand up for the traditions we believe in and in the values we share, then our wrongs can be made right; our union can be made more perfect and our world can be repaired.

Today, it’s our turn, our generation’s turn.  And you guys, your generation’s turn.  You’re younger than us.  (Laughter.)  We got some later generations here in the front.  We’re the ones who have to stand up for our shared values.   Here at home, we have to rebuild an America where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.

Beyond our borders, we have to stand alongside our friends who share our commitment to freedom and democracy and universal rights; and that includes, of course, our unwavering commitment to the State of Israel and its security and the pursuit of a just and lasting peace.  (Applause.)

It’s no secret that we’ve got a lot of work to do.  But as your traditions teach us, while we are not obligated to finish the work, neither are we free to desist from that work.

So today, we don’t just celebrate all that American Jews have done for our country; we also look toward the future.  And as we do, I know that those of you in this room, but folks all across this country will continue to help perfect our union; and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful.

God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
5:21 P.M. EDT

Israel Political Brief May 29, 2012: President Barack Obama Speaks to Conservative Judaism Leaders — Defends his Israel commitments, touts his Jewish ties

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Back to ‘kishkes’: Obama defends his Israel commitments, touts his Jewish ties

Source: JTA, 5-31-12

President Obama, shown speaking at a White House reception honoring Jewish American Heritage Month on May 31, 2012, told Conservative Jewish leaders the previous day that he probably knew more about Judaism than any other president.  (The White House)
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President Obama, shown speaking at a White House reception honoring Jewish American Heritage Month on May 31, 2012, told Conservative Jewish leaders the previous day that he probably knew more about Judaism than any other president. (The White House)

The so-called “kishkes issue” — what does President Obama, deep down, really feel about Israel — is now being addressed at the highest level by Obama himself.

Obama dropped in on a White House meeting Tuesday of lay and rabbinical leaders of the Conservative Judaism and Jack Lew, the president’s chief of staff. During his 20 minutes at the hourlong meeting, Obama emphasized his affection for Judaism and Israel, and like Vice President Joe Biden last week in a similar meeting with organizational leaders, his frustration with perceptions that he is cool toward the Jewish state.

The tone, coupled with blitzes of Jewish communities by Democratic leaders in recent months, reinforces the impression that the party’s leadership is unsettled by Republican inroads into what for decades has been a Democratic base constituency.

The presidential visit was “informal,” although the group of Jewish leaders knew a drop-by was likely. So when Obama walked into the Roosevelt Room, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, was ready with the traditional blessing for heads of state….READ MORE

Obama chats with Conservative leaders

Source: JTA, 5-29-12

A group of leaders from the Conservative movement held an informal meeting Tuesday with President Obama.

Obama dropped by a scheduled meeting with White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew and thanked the 17 rabbis and lay leaders for their work to improve their communities.

The president stated his strong commitment to Israel’s security and discussed his actions to enhance security cooperation between the U.S. and Israel, as well as implement biting sanctions against Iran, according to a White House official.

Participants said they asked Obama questions about the social net, health care, the relationship with Israel, the threat from Iran, and Obama’s views on Jusaism and Israel.

The hour-long meeting with Lew in the White House’s Roosevelt Room was arranged by Rabbi Jack Moline, the rabbi of Agudas Achim synagogue in Alexandria, Va. and the director of public policy for the movement’s Rabbinical Assembly. Moline has close ties with the Obama administration.

“The meeting spoke to the president and administration’s deep appreciation of the values that motivate Jewish communities around the world,” Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, told JTA. “It was a values-driven conversation and represented the great potential for the Jewish community to make its views heard.”

Israel Political Brief May 1, 2012: Obama’s Jewish Numbers On The Rise

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Obama’s Jewish Numbers On The Rise

Source: The NY Jewish Week, 5-1-12

President Obama at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum last month. getty images

President Obama at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum last month. getty images

President jumps to 61 percent of vote from 45
in September, but observers cautious on AJC poll results.

Does President Barack Obama have his Jewish mojo back?

Did the rightward tilt of the Republican presidential primaries, where culture war issues surged to the top of the GOP agenda, scare off potential Jewish voters?

Or is Election Day simply too far in the future for a poll in April to carry much significance?

Those are some of the questions to emerge as analysts dissect the data from the latest opinion poll of American Jews by the American Jewish Committee.

The survey of 1,074 people who identify as Jewish, taken between March 14 and March 27, found that in the prior six months, the president — who has spent much of his term trying to beat back criticism from the Jewish right that he is anti-Israel — has seen his appeal to Jews spike to 61 percent, from 45 percent in September.

And if the election were held today, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, would receive just 28 percent of the Jewish vote.

Obama’s share of 61 percent is virtually identical with the 62 percent Jewish approval rating found by the Public Religion Research Institute a month earlier. (Those figures are well below the 78 percent he garnered in the 2008 election, but Jews continue to support Obama more than almost any other group in the country). It sampled 1,004 self-identified Jewish adults between Feb. 23 and March 5….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 26, 2012: US President Barack Obama’s Israeli Independence Day — Yom Ha’azmaut Message

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Statement by the President on Israeli Independence Day

Source: WH, 4-26-12

Sixty-four years ago, the United States became the first country in the world to recognize the State of Israel–the realization of a modern day state in the historic homeland of the Jewish People.  Since that momentous day, the special bond of friendship between the United States and Israel has grown stronger.  Ours is a unique relationship founded on an unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security, and anchored by our common interests and deeply held values.  These values continue to enlighten and guide our efforts as we work with Israel, as well as with others in the region, to confront shared challenges and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution that will usher in a future of peace, security, and dignity for the people of Israel and its neighbors.

Today, as Israelis celebrate their 64th Independence Day and their remarkable achievements over the past six decades, it gives me great pleasure to extend my best wishes, and the best wishes of the American people, to President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the people of Israel.

Israel Political Brief April 5, 2012: President Barack Obama posts Passover message, to host seder

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Obama posts Passover message, to host seder

Source: JTA, 4-5-12

President Obama will host a seder at the White House on the first night of Passover.

Obama’s seder on Friday night will continue a tradition that started in 2008, when he was a presidential candidate on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania and he joined a small group of staff members at an impromptu seder.

On Thursday, the president issued a video Passover message.

“The story of the Exodus is thousands of years old, but it remains as relevant as ever,” he said. “Throughout our history, there are those who have targeted the Jewish people for harm — a fact we were so painfully reminded of just a few weeks ago in Toulouse.

“Michelle and I are proud to celebrate with friends here at home and around the world, including those in the State of Israel,” Obama said, wishing the Jewish community a “Chag sameach.”

A Passover Message from the Obama Family

Source: WH, 4-5-12

Starting tomorrow night, the Jewish community in the United States, Israel, and throughout the world will come together to celebrate the holiday of Passover.

President and Mrs. Obama will join them, continuing their tradition of hosting a small Seder at the White House. By now, the story of how that tradition began has been told and retold, but in the spirit of Passover, I’ll tell it again: In April of 2008, the President and his staff were on the trail in Pennsylvania in the midst of a long primary campaign. Weary from a long day of work and away from their families, a small group of staffers came together to hold an impromptu Seder. When then-Senator Obama got wind of the Seder, he gathered some other staff and friends and decided to join. At the end of the Seder, the President followed the traditional “Next year in Jerusalem” declaration with a pledge of his own – “Next year in the White House.” Each year since, he has followed through on that promise. This year, he also added a new touch, a video message to Jews everywhere wishing them Chag Sameach as they continue their own traditions or start new ones this Passover.

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