Obama on Israel: ‘No Wedge Will Be Driven Between Us’

By Nathan Guttman

Published April 23, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Responding to concerns of the Jewish community over pressuring Israel’s government, President Obama has written a letter to Jewish leaders, assuring them that special relations between the United States and Israel will not change.

Obama addressed the letter to Alan Solow, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and a personal acquaintance of Obama from Chicago.

“I am sure you can distinguish between the noise and distortion about my views that have appeared recently, and the actual approach of my Administration toward the Middle East,” Obama wrote in the April 20 letter.

Obama stated that pursuing a two-state solution in the Middle East “is in the national security interest of the United States.” He stressed that although peacemaking is a top priority of his administration, he recognizes that “peace cannot be imposed from the outside; it must be negotiated directly by the leaders who are required to make the hard choices and compromises that take on history.”

The president’s letter, written in response to concerns raised by Jewish communal leaders in talks with Obama’s aides, focused on reassuring the community that relations with Israel are as strong as ever, despite differences regarding the peace process and settlements.

“As we continue to strive for lasting peace agreements between Israel, the Palestinians, and Israel’s neighbors, all sides should understand that our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable and that no wedge will be driven between us,” Obama wrote. “We will have our differences, but when we do, we will work to resolve them as close allies.”

In a statement issued on April 21, Solow welcomed Obama’s letter and added, “We look forward to working with President Obama and his team on a full range of issues of immediate importance, including the Middle East peace process and Iran.”

Obama’s letter is the latest in a series of attempts by the administration to improve relations with the Jewish community and address concerns raised regarding tensions between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These attempts included a conference call held by Daniel Shapiro, who is in charge of Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, as well as speeches by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, National Security Adviser James Jones and Senior Adviser David Axelrod. Obama and Clinton also issued statements on the occasion of Israel’s 62 independence day, in which they stressed that bonds between the United States and Israel are unshakable.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com






Find us on Facebook!
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.