President Barack Obama said Friday he “forcefully” objects to suggestions that policy differences between his administration and the Israeli government signal his lack of support for the longtime U.S. ally.
Speaking at one of Washington’s most prominent synagogues, Obama said the U.S. and Israel should not be expected to paper over differences on Israel’s settlement building or the frozen peace process with the Palestinians.
“That’s not a true measure of friendship,” Obama told about 1,200 people, including members of Congress, gathered at Congregation Adas Israel. “The people of Israel must always know America has its back.”
The president’s remarks come during a period of deep tension in an already prickly relationship with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, particularly over Obama’s bid to strike a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu views Iran’s disputed nuclear program as an existential threat to Israel and has lobbied vigorously against such a deal, including by addressing a joint meeting of Congress earlier this year.
Obama defended the framework deal that negotiators are seeking to finalize by the end of June, saying it would make Israel and the entire region safer. Still, he said given the high stakes, he welcomes scrutiny of the negotiations.
“This deal will have my name on it,” he said.
Obama on Friday signed bipartisan legislation that gives Congress the right to review any final nuclear deal with Iran before the president can waive congressional sanctions. Obama had initially resisted any legislation that could undo the nuclear deal.
The president and Netanyahu also clashed during the recent Israeli elections over the prime minister’s comments on the peace process. Netanyahu said in the lead-up to the election that he no longer backed a two-state solution, though he reversed himself after his party’s victory.
Obama also addressed what he called a “deeply disturbing rise” in anti-Semitism around the world. He said the world knows from history that this is “not some passing fad” and should not be ignored.
Obama’s appearance coincided with Solidarity Shabbat, devoted to showing unity by political leaders in Europe and North America against anti-Semitism.
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Obama Tells People of Israel: America Has Your Back – ABC News
The definition of anti-Semitism was at the center of a battle of words Monday involving campus protests about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This comes as some Jewish students say that protests against Israels occupation of the West Bank have had anti-Semitic overtones that they contend makes some American universities, including UC campuses, a hostile environment. Meanwhile, activists against Israeli policies, including some Jewish faculty and students, say such claims of anti-Semitism are an attempt to squelch any criticism of Israel.
The debate focused specifically on the U.S. State Departments definition of anti-Semitism. That definition defines more general ethnic and religious hatred against Jews but also declares that it is anti-Semitic to demonize Israel, deny Israels right to exist, liken Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and blame Israel for all inter-religious tensions.
On Monday, 57 rabbis from California and 104 University of California faculty members called on UC administrators to adopt that State Department definition when dealing with protests and potential discipline for anti-Semitic statements. They said they did not aim to silence free speech, but they contend that too often protests against Israel have turned into inciting anti-Jewish attitudes.
In a letter to UC President Janet Napolitano and the UC regents, the rabbis urged that campus leaders be trained in using the State Department definition to identify anti-Semitic behavior and to address it with the same promptness and vigor as they do other forms of racial, ethnic and gender bigotry and discrimination.
In contrast, an open letter signed by more than 250 members of the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council asked the U.S. State Department to revise its definition of anti-Semitism to prevent it from being used to silence critics of Israel. The interfaith group that supports calls for peace talks between Palestinians and Israel, an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and security for both sides said that it is important to distinguish criticism of Israel from real anti-Semitism. The letter also said the State Department should drop the definitions references to demonizing Israel and applying double standards to its policies.
Meanwhile, the Palestine Solidarity Legal Support organization and the Center for Constitutional Rights released a report that said that more student activists are being wrongly described as anti-Semitic for their support of Palestinian rights. The groups said that they have received many requests from students and faculty in California and around the country who contend they have been identified as terrorists or terrorism supporters for speaking out against Israels treatment of Palestinians.
Napolitano and other UC leaders in March issued a statement condemning anti-Semitic incidents on UC campuses, as have student governments at UCLA and UC Berkeley recently. UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said it was too early to say whether the regents would adopt the State Department definition but that several people from the public are expected to speak on the matter at the regents meeting in San Francisco this week.
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Definition of anti-Semitism provokes campus debates – LA Times
Since 1998, Jewish-History.com has provided full digital text of primary historical documents previously unavailable to the general public except in historical society archives or on reels of microfilm.
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Jewish-American History on the Web
This article is about the Gaza Strip government, currently administered by a unity government.
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Governance of the Gaza Strip – Wikipedia, the free …
FIFA President Sepp Blatter says he does not want to see Israel suspended from world football for allegedly hampering teams in Palestine and will try to make sure it doesn't happen at FIFA's congress next month. Palestine's football federation has accused Israel of restricting the movement of Palestinian players between Gaza and the West Bank and has said it will submit a proposal for Israel's …
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Sepp Blatter doesn't want Israel suspended
US President Barack Obama has rejected a call by Israel for any nuclear agreement with Iran to be conditional on Tehran's recognition of the Jewish state's right to exist, branding it a “fundamental misjudgement”. Speaking after Israel proposed its own terms for the accord, Obama told US radio network NPR Monday that demands for Iran to recognise the country go beyond the scope of the agreement …
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US says recognition of Israel not part of Iran nuke deal
Israel's intelligence minister on Monday proposed terms for a final nuclear accord with Iran which he said would be an improvement on the outline drawn up last week. Yuval Steinitz told journalists that US President Barack Obama's pledge to back Israel's security was appreciated, but it did not outweigh the potential threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.
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Israel proposes terms for 'more reasonable' Iran deal
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas turned down on Sunday the tax revenues from Israel due to deductions. Abbas returned the revenues as Israel had deducted one third to cover unpaid Palestinian utility debts, The Jerusalem Post reports. In case Israel does not restore the full amount, the leader of Palestine threatened to file a lawsuit at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Palestine Turns Down Tax Transfer from Israel Due to Deductions
US President Barack Obama has said that a weakened Israel would be a “fundamental failure of my presidency,” affirming solidarity with the long-time ally despite recent differences over the Iran nuclear deal. Obama said while Israel has reason to be concerned about foe Iran, he defended the framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program that negotiators drew up last week. Obama made the comments …
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Obama says a weakened Israel would be 'failure' of his presidency
GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday Israel had released frozen tax revenue to the Authority but that he had ordered the funds to be returned because money had been deducted to cover debts to Israeli utility companies. Israel started withholding around $130 million a month in tax and customs revenue in December.
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Abbas rejects Israel’s partial transfer of Palestinian tax …