In Letter to Obama, President of Largest Jewish Denomination Reiterates Support for Administration's Middle East Policies
Yoffie: “I applaud your leadership in seizing the moment and taking vigorous action in your first year in office.”
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WASHINGTON, DC, July 16, 2009 – Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, this afternoon wrote to President Barack Obama following up on the meeting with 16 leaders of the American Jewish community earlier this week at the White House.
In the letter, Rabbi Yoffie noted that he “left the meeting confident that [the] Administration has the interests, instincts and expertise to devise a policy what may be able to move Arabs and Israelis closer to peace and prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.” Rabbi Yoffie also said he appreciated the President’s “clear statements that all parties – including most definitely the Palestinian Authority and the Arab states – will be asked to take positive steps to demonstrate that they are serious about peace.”
The full text of Rabbi Yoffie’s letter follows:
July 16, 2009
24 Tamuz 5769
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20006
Dear Mr. President:
Thank you for hosting me and other Jewish community leaders at Monday’s meeting. I appreciate your expression of deep concern for Israel’s well-being, your commitment to keep Israel strong, and your efforts to help Israel achieve peace with her neighbors.
I welcome the initiatives of your Administration on the two major issues that we discussed. I left the meeting confident that your Administration has the interest, instincts and expertise to devise a policy that may be able to move Arabs and Israelis closer to peace and prevent Iran from developing or obtaining nuclear weapons.
As I mentioned, our Movement, in both its congregational and rabbinic bodies, representing 900 congregations with over 1.5 million members and 1800 rabbis, recently reiterated their support for your Administration’s views on halting settlement construction. I am enclosing for your review copies of these resolutions, which also address a variety of other issues related to Israel’s security.
As I also said, I am grateful that your Administration has decided to turn its attention to promoting peace in the Middle East at the very beginning of its term. I share your view that the Iranian threat and other developments in the region have created a window of opportunity for our government and I applaud your leadership in seizing the moment and taking vigorous action in your first year in office. I also appreciate your clear statements that all parties – including most definitely the Palestinian Authority and the Arab states – will be asked to take positive steps to demonstrate that they are serious about peace.
We remain committed to providing whatever support we can as you, Secretary Clinton, and your entire Administration engage in the intensive and sustained diplomatic efforts necessary to move us in the direction of peace between Israel and her Arab and Muslim neighbors.
Eric H. Yoffie
The Union for Reform Judaism is the synagogue arm of Reform Judaism in North America, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 920 congregations across the United States and Canada. Union programs and services include youth camps, music and book publishing, adult education opportunities, Outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.