A report from Janice Weinman, Hadassah Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, with highlights from a meeting at the White House for leaders of major Jewish organizations with Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials, August 9, 2013.
I attended a meeting held in the White House for Jewish organization leaders with Secretary of State John Kerry; Ambassador Susan Rice, National Security Advisor; Martin Indyck, U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations; Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Matt Nosanchuk, the new head of Jewish Outreach in the White House, to bring the community up to date on the status of the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Among the 19 invited organizations were: AIPAC, AJC, ADL, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, J Street, B'nai B'rith and JPCA.
The Secretary described the current situation as cautiously optimistic, with conditions poised to move forward through successful capacity building of the Palestinians. Contributing to the atmosphere of collaboration is the recognition by all parties that 1) the only solution is a two state solution, 2) the time is now or else it will not occur at all, and 3) the United States is providing assurances that certain demands being made by both sides will be recognized.
The Secretary reported that the U.S. is working on several fronts: a) security concerns; b) economic support; c) international outreach, and d) American outreach.
There was a definite sense of confidence in the Administration's intention, process and progress. Yet, several leaders commented that it would be helpful if there was some visible indication by the Arab world that they are behind the talks, if the European nations displayed support, and that there be consideration of the long-term sustainability of the peace outcomes.
All in all, it was an encouraging and positive meeting with much interchange and dialogue.