Jewish leaders to visit the White House Monday (Updated)
Continuing their aggressive, proactive outreach strategy to the Jewish and pro-Israel community on the Iran agreement, the Obama administration has invited senior organizational leaders to visit the White House on Monday afternoon for two separate meetings, multiple sources have informed Jewish Insider. The assumption, according to three of the invited leaders, is that President Obama will attend at least one, if not both, of the meetings. As of Saturday night, the invitees we spoke with were not sure exactly which other leaders were invited but speculated there would be around a dozen individuals at each of the meetings, with one tailored to Jewish Democrats and the other for organizational leaders.
Secretary of State John Kerry, together with Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, hosted many of these same individuals at the State Department last Wednesday for a meeting on the Iran agreement. According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Kerry talked with the group for over an hour while Sherman stayed for an extra hour to answer any remaining questions. Some of the attendees expressed concerns regarding whether there would truly be ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections at Iranian military sites. Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield attended the meeting as well.
Previewing Monday’s meeting, one prominent organizational leader who declined to speak on the record, said he expected the administration to address the community’s concerns regarding the agreement and Khamenei’s recent comments, but added, “we’ll have to see if the administration wants to use the opportunity to gain support for the agreement in general or to actually push for something specific regarding legislation.” While Iran is sure to be the focus of Monday’s meeting, the Jewish leader expects other issues, relevant to the community, to also be addressed including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Asked about the White House’s outreach efforts to Jewish leaders, Jarrod Bernstein, a former Obama White House Jewish Liaison, told Jewish Insider, “they are making the case that the U.S. has had and continues to have Israel’s back and that it will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon period. This deal is the best deal possible and the idea that we could sit back and let sanctions run indefinitely while maintaining the support of nations like Russia is just not realistic. At every turn when the President needed to be there for Israel he has been there whether it be the diplomats in Cairo, the forest fires in Israel, at the United Nations, or over Sderot. Any assertion that that has changed is just not true.”
Update: In a Sunday evening press release, the White House confirmed Monday’s two meetings with Jewish leaders. According to the release, the President and National Security Advisor Susan Rice will attend a meeting with leaders of American Jewish organizations at 1:45PM and then the President will again meet with other Jewish community leaders at 4:45PM. Both meetings will take place in the Roosevelt Room.