On My Mind: Arnie Eisen

At the White House

9 Sivan 5772
Chancellor Arnold Eisen at the White House

Chancellor Arnold Eisen at the White House

 

Today, I had the honor of sitting across the table from the President of the United States in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. President Barack Obama and his Chief of Staff, Jacob Lew, wanted to meet with Conservative Jewish leaders from around the country. Our group—which numbered about 20—wanted to hear them speak directly, and perhaps more candidly than is the case in public, about key issues on our minds.

It’s hard to judge how our hosts felt about the meeting, though it was clear we had their full attention and engagement from start to finish. We, for our part, were pleased with the fact of the meeting, with much of what was said, and with how it was said. There was no clowning, no cheap shots at political opponents, no pretense of easy answers to difficult questions, no demagoguery, not even much preaching to the choir. Speaking for myself, I wished I had the chance to talk regularly like this with the leaders of my country, at my dining room table or theirs. I got the sense that the President and his chief deputy would be open to every hard question I would throw at them—once we got to know each other better—would think about that question a lot, and would give good responses and reasons both when they agreed with me and when they did not. It was a worthwhile hour indeed.

The subjects discussed included Israel, Iran, the economy, immigration, the environment, the recent decision on same-sex marriage. I knew that my colleagues would be covering those issues, and knew too that Obama and Lew would use the meeting to cogently restate the administration’s enduring support for Israel and its position that Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. So I devoted my question to something else: the role and special responsibilities of religious leaders in America today.

The President himself had said a few words about this in his opening remarks, and I expected—based on his writings going back to The Audacity of Hope—that he’d have more to say on the subject this afternoon. I reminded him of his writing in that book that he would not let political opponent Alan Keyes claim a monopoly on the teachings of Christianity, which was his faith, too. I said that I had particularly identified with that concept, agreed with him that America remains a profoundly religious country, and asked if there were particular issues that passionate moderates like those in the room needed to emphasize in his view—stewardship of God’s Creation? Protection of human dignity? Tasks that we especially need to perform?

The ground rules of the meeting prohibit direct quotation, and I wanted to keep eye contact with the President rather than take notes on his response, but it is fair to summarize that he answered by stressing that sometimes process is no less important than outcome. Religious leaders need to stress the common good, and teach that we all need to be part of and serve the common weal and not just our own communities. He again stressed, clearly from the heart, the importance of religious communities making a difference in the lives of their members, and also in the lives of members of other groups and our country as a whole. Nothing I had not heard before. Nothing that surprised me—except that it was the old, inspiring Obama that one does not hear as much of on the campaign trail after three-plus years in office as in years past, when both he and the country seemed more prepared to confess idealism.

I did not get the sense that the President has given up on that agenda, or on the peace process, or on stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The picture of Teddy Roosevelt’s charging up the hill on one wall may give inspiration. So, too, may Franklin Roosevelt’s portrait on another: he won not just a second term, but a third, and a fourth. It was a good meeting for this President, I think, and for Conservative Jewish leaders. He clearly cares what the Jews of America think of him. This has to be a good thing for us and for Israel; I believe it is also a good thing for America.

44 Comments

  1. Hank Heller says:

    Dear Chancellor Eisen,
    I understand that relationship and understanding, as well as trust, are not borne of one meeting. However,I am fearful that you have wasted your time (and perhaps, mine). When I see this President do something that is helpful toward peace and security in the Middle East, and especially, Israel, I will show respect. So far, all I have seen, heard and read are time-filling and mind numbing commentary and dialog geared toward weakening Israel and strengthening the Arab world. To my way of thinking, this President cares much more about the benefits to the Arab world than he cares about Israel’s survival. And, if he thought that his candidacy would not be damaged by not reaching out to you and your associates (and thereby to your voters)you would never have had the meeting.
    Sincerely,
    Hank Heller

  2. Susan Kristol says:

    Excuse me Chancellor Eisen, are you implying that your meeting wtih President Obama was so inspiring that you would wish him to have a third and fourth term like FDR? Really, that is so depressing.

  3. Alan Iser says:

    Did anybody raise the question of why President Obama has not visited Israel?

  4. rachel kapen says:

    I read the White House report with the greatest of interest, Kol HaKavod for initiating this very important meeting and reporting your impressions of our president the you did. Unfortuniately there are poeople, Jews very much included, who could never accept Barack Obama as our president and no matter what he does or doesn’t do this will not change. I know that he is a great friend of both our People and of the State of Israel and its people and hopefully this will help getting this vitally important point through. I do want him as president for another term, he s deserves this thankless yet honorable job.

  5. Joel M. Zinberg says:

    It goes without saying that President Obama “Cares what the Jews of America think of him.” But why and why now?
    Could the impending election have something to do with his concern and the timing of this meeting?
    The President’s rhetoric about his enduring support for Israel and opposition to Iranian weapons has been constant. But we have to look at his actions and the way he has treated Israel. I always get the feeling with this President that he believes he knows better than the Israelis about the best way towards peace and isn’t reluctant to force the issue. Of course that is consistent with his approach on many issues; he and the benevolent government know what’s best for the people and states and will utilize the power of the government to obtain it.

    I wish you paid less attention to the rhetoric and more attention to the actions. Less attention to the aspirations and more attention to the results. “Hope” and “change” are great aspirations but after 3 and a half years of an actual record I think the Jewish community should move on.

    • annonymous says:

      I totally disagree with everything you have said about the president. Since day one the opposition party has found ways to pull out a sentence here and there on every important speech he has made and spin them into lies that apparently seem to resonate with you.

      President Obama has been amongst the best of friends to the State of Israel and it is doing everything to strengthen her position in the Middle East.

      I recommend that you read what the Washington Institute has to to say about his relationship to Israel and other organizations who are open minded.

      I have been to Israel over 30 times and very involved in what goes on there. I find it amazing how easily people are swayed to believe ill of the President because he and the Prime Minister do not have the warmest personal relationship. What is important is how they both strive to do what is in the best interests of the State. President Bush may have been a hands off person when it came to Israel especially in his second term and look where it got the State. Hamas in a forced election.
      I am convinced there is more to this dislike of the President than meets the eye. As Jewish Americans we also owe a lot to the country we live and the people who are it citizens. To vote for someone on one issue alone to me is unpatriotic. America, no matter who is the President, will always stand by her side. But, we live in this country. Aren’t you interested in what the future holds for you and your family? That is what you should be thinking about.
      Leave the tunnel and view the world.

  6. Steve Yastrow says:

    Arnie – fabulous insights. I can only imagine how interesting the entire experience must have been. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Gerry Berg says:

    “I discuss what the president wants religious leaders to emphasize to their memberships and other communities. ”

    I don’t understand why it is your role to act upon the President wishes.

  8. Maxwell Rosenbaum says:

    This administration is clearly in re-election mode. Needing to regain support of Jews as they received in the previous campaign, they are doing the political thing inviting you to the White House now. Why now? It should be obvious. Do you recall the off camera words that President Obama was caught saying about his dislike for Netanyahu to the President of France? Do you recall the off camera comment to the head of the Soviet Union to “wait until I’m re-elected when I will have more flexibility (in giving them what they seek)”? This said to a competitor in the world scene. This anti-capitalism,failing job-creating and dollar value destroying administration will prevent us from maintaining our just leadership in the world. By encouraging the Arab Spring changes in the middle east,is Israel in less danger today? I think not.It’s truly time for a change.

  9. Jack Berkowitz says:

    Dr. Eisen:

    As a member of a conservative congregation, parent of Ramah campers and Solomon Schechter Day School students, I’m proud of you for having attended and represented us with such dignity and grace at the White House with the President. However, let us all not be so naive. Next week – or the week thereafter, whenever it may be – the President will meet with an equal number of conservative Muslim leaders, in the Roosevelt Room, and make veiled promises and opportunities available during the course of his second term; things he could/would not say previously. He will talk about a Palestinian State, hint on the complete and utter withdrawal of the West Bank, suggest the future return of the Golan (as if the Syrians are worthy) and whisper to his guests how a divided Jerusalem will work. Mr. Chancellor, I am a Democratic and active one at that. But our President believes in the politics of appeasement. In the Middle East and elsewhere, he believes in an equal footing for all. Unchecked, in a second term, he will strive for no less. Somehow, this doesn’t translate in the best interests of Israel.

  10. Arnie, Thank you for sharing your visit and it’s nice to hear that our President shares so many of our values. I especially appreciate your phrase: “passionate moderates.” As Conservative Jews, we maintain the vital center position and we must articulate passion when we articulate our spiritual path. Here is a piece I wrote about this from the Jewish Week: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shefa/message/486
    Kol tuv – all the best, Rabbi David Lerner, Temple Emunah, Lexington, MA

  11. Robert Latzer says:

    “I discuss what the president wants religious leaders to emphasize to their memberships and other communities. ”
    Is this what the President wants us to emphasize? “…the common good, … we all need to be part of and serve the common weal and not just our own communities. He again stressed, clearly from the heart, the importance of religious communities making a difference in the lives of their members, and also in the lives of members of other groups and our country as a whole.”
    I am deeply disturbed that as an influential a member of the Conservative Jewish community, you brought only hackneyed truisms (as you imply in your next sentence) from such an important meeting.
    So the Conservative community will now have to live with such empty words. Is such emptiness emblematic of the dearth of real thinking in Conservatism? I don’t think, if your faculty is any guide.
    Why accept such clichés then?

  12. dave says:

    Is it true that he claimed to know more about Judaism than any other president!!!!!

  13. Leon Rogson says:

    Unfortunately, our president’s actions have not tracked or achieved the promises of his words. After almost 4 years, and trillions of dollars we are in deep trouble. Foreign affairs is a shambles with “leading from behind” and Israel has been hamstrung by both our President and his state department.

    While I am glad you were well impressed with him, in the memorable words of a tuna commercial, “We want a tuna that tastes good, not a tuna with Good taste” We need a president that performs well, not just one who is a nice guy!
    Leon Rogson

  14. Ira says:

    I can’t believe that you could be so politically naive. It looks like you are shilling for Obama. You state that…”He clearly cares what the Jews of America think of him.” Of course he cares. He is in a position where, not only might he lose the election, but he could lose by an embarrassingly wide margin. He wants the Jewish vote because he needs every vote he can get. But look at his past- his previous associations, his Muslim education, his comments and actions that hurt Israel. Are you sure he is really a friend to Israel and the Jews? You can’t be certain about the true Obama and, if you love Israel, you can’t vote for Obama because you “think” he likes Israel and Jews. Look at his past! If it doesn’t give you pause- if it doesn’t make you uneasy, then go ahead and vote for him. But, if you have even a small doubt about him and you truly love Israel, you can’t take the chance!

  15. Adina Shapiro says:

    This is very heartening…so what can we as laypeople do to get the message out in this environment of fear and cynicism, particularly since you couldn’t quote him? I’m so disheartened to hear of Jews thinking of Obama as weak on Israel.

    • zalman says:

      Disheartened is a misplaced emotion in this case. Look for ‘ emes’ truth. Obama is no friend of Israel and thereby, no friend of Jews.

  16. eleanor caplan says:

    Thank you for this!

  17. Gerrold says:

    I cannot believe you feel he deserves your support. This man has no intention on backing Israel. I could spend the time to point out the fifty times he has spit in the face of every Jew. However, you are engrossed in the rhetoric not his actions. He we go again sheep sent willingly to slaughter.

  18. Jonathan says:

    This is an encouraging glimpse of the sensitivity and thoughtfulness that many see in President Obama. However, a form of equal time might support holding a similar meeting with the likely Republican nominee, if respective schedules permit.

  19. Arthur Greenberg says:

    How you can be lulled into complacency by this man who spent 20 years in an anti-semitic church, who doesn’t know his bible let alone Torah. To say he knows more about Judaism than any other president is so audacious as to totally undermine his credibility. His treatment of Israel and Netanyahu clearly demonstrates his true colors. You are being used by this blatant politician simply looking for the Jewish vote and you give the Conservative Movement a bad name for your ignorance.

  20. Michael Stein says:

    Chancellor Eisen:
    I wonder if you took the opportunity to show solidarity with the Catholic Church over the matter of religious freedom? Even if we disagree with the Catholic position on birth control (and I do disagree, quite firmly), the administration’s pointed refusal to grant a clear exemption for church-related institutions on religious grounds is very scary and disturbing. Worse, supporters of the government position try to argue for an inversion of reality — saying that this is the church somehow foisting its beliefs on the rest of society. I don’t understand that. The only issue is whether or not the church can be forced to provide (or can be forced to use insurance companies who will provide in their stead) certain benefits that they find morally objectionable. This matter only affects employees of church affiliated organizations, and even then it isn’t an overwhelmingly large economic cost to those concerned — so why did the administration pick this fight with the church? All religious organizations should be rallying to the church’s support.

  21. Marianne Shain says:

    I am puzzled and troubled by the fact that any religious leaders, especially our own, are going to the President for advice on how to speak to their congregations. On the other hand, I didn’t read anywhere in your blog that he turned to the religious leaders for their opinions on how he should speak to the public. To me, this seems to be the reverse of common sense.

  22. Mort Kane says:

    Thanks , again , for being with us in Minneapolis. It was most interesting and enjoyable.

    Suggestion: the scrolling tweets on your blog are quite distracting. would have them scroll on command.

    Thank you, again.

    Mort kane

  23. Rabbi Marvin Bash says:

    Thanks for your report which conveyed important information and impressions.
    Was their any reasons why the President decided to meet with Conservative Jewish leaders only and not an across the board pluralistic segment of our community?

    • Josh Baker says:

      Very good question. My guess is that obama believes that reform Jews are almost 100% with him and that orthodox Jews are against him. Obama is likely worried that his hostility towards Israel will harm him with conservative Jews, so he is trying to use the leadership to send the message that Obama really loves Israel and Jews.

  24. Scott Kolber says:

    Thank you for sharing this Chancellor Eisen. I would love to see President Obama go to Israel and make a speech that makes the existential case, from his heart, for Israel as the embodiment of Western values and moral authority. Something that goes beyond the usual talk about shared strategic interests and political values– beyond saying that Israel is the only democracy in the region. That the West’s commitment to Israel’s success and survival is the basis of its own moral legitimacy because Israel’s destruction or failure would invalidate any Western claims to moral legitimacy. No American president or candidate has ever framed the US/Israel relationship in this way– not since I heard John Anderson do it in a conversation with Rabbi William Berkowitz in 1980. I think Obama could pull it off and I’d like to hear it.

  25. joshua yurfest says:

    from

    http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2012/05/rabbi-obama-and-shame-brought-by.html

    Most writers base our opinions on three and a half years of anti-Israel policies such breaking previous agreements between Israel and the US govt., surrounding himself with anti-Semites and Israel haters, making demands on Israel without making the simplest demand on the Palestinians (the recognition of Israel as Jewish State). And let’s not forget the times he used rhetoric in an attempt to portray Israel as some sort of war-mongering human rights violator the court of world opinion

    Honestly I cannot blame the president, he wants to get re-elected so (as he told Russian President Medvedev) he can have more flexibily in a second term.

    However, I do have a beef with the leadership of Conservative Jewry. It seems that nothing matters to them, his anti-Israel policies, his support of anti-Semites, his Lashon Hara right to their faces–none of it.

    Perhaps they are so wrapped up in “social justice” justice politics (itself an anathema to Jewish law) that they’ve lost all powers of reasons. These Conservative Jewish leaders have thrown out their “higher calling” their love of the Jewish state, and have begun to worship the golden calf of big government and a progressive political theology committed to replacing the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as the Gods of other faiths.

    Shame on these supposed leaders for forgetting the words “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.” Shame on them for allowing themselves to become political pawns of an anti-Israel, anti-religion President–Shame on them for forgetting why they became Rabbis in the first place.

  26. Aaron Gordon says:

    Among the many words of his 2009 Cairo speech, the President equated, on the one hand – the Holocaust, and on the other – the Palestinian situation. He also compared the situation of the Palestinians with the blacks in the South. (I have included the full text of the Israel/Palestinian part of his speech, below, so you can verify these assertions.)

    Why didn’t you as scholar and leader of our Seminary, question the President on these extremely disturbing comparisons, as they remain a part of his record?

    “The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.
    America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
    Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.
    On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.
    For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers – for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.
    That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them – and all of us – to live up to our responsibilities.
    Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.
    Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
    At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.
    Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.
    Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel’s legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.
    America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.
    Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.”

  27. zalman says:

    First speech in Cairo, keeps Bibi waiting in the anteroom. no photos of that meeting, his refute to Sarkozy’s criticism of Bibi, ” I have to put up with him everyday”; Israel to start negotiations at ’67 borders. Outrage at housing construction in East Jerusalem. No outrage at missiles logged into innocent Jewish homes from land we unilaterally gave to the terrorists. This is our friend! Wake.up Jews!

  28. Stephen Luftschein says:

    Sadly, Chancellor, your perspective is revealed in the statement “…his enduring support for Israel…”despite ALL, and I do mean ALL, evidence to the contrary, and in fact, worse than that, but a regard of Israel as an historic mistake, and evern worse, a cynical attempt, just as in 2008, solely for purposes of an election, to “chum up” to Jewish Leaders such as yourself.
    All that one needs to know is to ask this globetrotting President why he, even as he stood 1/2 hour from Jerusalem, in Cairo, why he has been unable to visit Israel even once during his administration.

    Telling also is your citing of both Roosevelts, two other Progressives who did so much damage to this country, and in Franklin, another Progressive who so grievously injured the Jewish People.

  29. Steven says:

    For all the experts on the Middle East, identify and comment on the following:

    Achieving an agreement will require painful political concessions by both sides. While territory is an issue for both parties to decide, I believe that any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949 to reflect current realities and to ensure that the Palestinian state is viable and contiguous.

  30. Richard Cramer says:

    Chancellor Eisen and the rabbis, including my own, have good reason to be pleased to have had a chance to meet with the President. Most of the comments here indicate that anything less than totally uncritical support for Israeli government policies means that the President is insincere in his reaching out to Jews and caring about Israel. To me as a practicing Conservative Jew, I feel the real danger to Israel are the continuing expansion, rather than dismantling, of West Bank settlements and the harsh treatment of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians. I recognize the risks of terrorism, but those risks multiply in response to the frustrations suffered by the Palestinians. And, while US support for Israel remains all-too-unwavering in this Presidency, the rest of the world is increasingly less sympathetic to Israel. And that is true, as well, among the growing mass of non-AIPAC Jews in this country. Not only Israel’s policies regarding the Palestinians, but also its disciminatory policies favoring Orthodox Jews, diminish our enthusiasm for Israel as it now governed.

  31. S. Braginsky says:

    Don’t you think this meeting was a little too obviously timed to coincide with his desire to recoup the Jewish vote after being so dismissive of Netanyahu? Your attitude seems too naive.

  32. E. Weissberg says:

    Regarding the comparison between FDR and Obama perhaps you would like to consider the following piece of history (there are many parallels here, not just one):

    From Ed Kaplan’s biography of Heschel, Spiritual Radical (p. 52- 53):

    “Heschel among the four hundred rabbis, most of them formed in European yeshivas, bearded and dressed in traditional garb, who marched down the Pennsylavania Avenue, accompanied by jewish War Veterans of America. But the protesters were not recieved by the White House because Roosevelt Jewish advisers had told him that these immigrants were not official community leaders. Instead they were greeted on Capitol steps by an uncomfortable Henry Wallace, the vice president. [...] The potesters urged the U.S. government to deliver “the remnants of the people of the Book” and open Palestine and other nations to jewish refugees. Wallace responded with vague expressions of sorrow but no plans to rescue the remaining victims [...] Despite the description of this dramatic event, the established Jewish community did not support the protesters. The rabbis returned home discouraged. Yom Kippur that year was especially grim.”

  33. mira barelli says:

    “Netiv ha-Lamed heh!” At least you were brave enough to put them on……

    Shabbat Shalom

    TR: “Do the best you can, with what you’ve got, where you are, with God’s help.” I hope this meeting will not be FDR’s “..a day that will live in infamy!”

  34. Elliott Vizel says:

    So when will Mr.Obama recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and place the US embassy there? We already know the answer. This President is no friend of Israel…and his Secretary of State Mrs. Clinton is no Albright, let alone a Kissinger, “setting the reset button” with Putin (what a joke!), fiddling while Syria burns, and taking no action to halt the Mullah bomb – the one with “Israel” painted on its side!!! As Edmund Burke said, the only thing evil men need to succeed is for good men (and women) to do nothing – and this is exactly what the Obama Administration has done – gurnisht!

  35. Mike L says:

    Chancellor Eisen,
    Did you ask him how Anti Semitic Reverand Wright fit into his religious beliefs and how he was able to sit in his pews for 20 years? How about what influence Wright had on his religious and political views.

    I am glad that you felt that Obama was so interested in hearing and caring about “Jewish issues”. I would like to inform you that a few years ago Obama would NOT meet with the RJC( Republican Jews). Are their issues less important than mostly Left Wing, Democrat Jews? I would think not.
    The fact that The President did not want to be quoted directly, besides being typical should have spoken volumes to the Rabbis.
    I am glad though you were apparently impressed enough to feel confident you can recommend with certainty that that he is “good for the Jews and good for America”. There are many especially those in the RJC who would take exception to that.

  36. Rosalind Silberman says:

    As I read the comments about Arnie Eisen’s report, I thought about how they reflected a lot about the active members of the Conservative movement. I don’t think I can identify with such a movement, if this is where its members stand re the election. I also think Netanyahu’s intrusion into American politics was reprehensible. He has a right to speak at the UN, but not to tell our president (in public) what to do.
    I just received an appeal for money to “strengthen the Conservative Movement.” I think I’ll pass for now. I need to see if this movement is moving to a more conservative place.

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