Jewish leaders are feeling misled by the White House over the terms of a proposed deal with Iran on nuclear enrichment, according to the Times of Israel. Specifically, they are upset that they were urged not to lobby for new Iran sanctions, in order to allow time for diplomacy to work, when the administration had allegedly been negotiating with Iran in secret for a year and knew well in advance where that diplomacy would be heading.
The White House has denied reports that it sent senior adviser Valerie Jarrett to meet with Iranian envoys in the Middle East for several months. But even if the reports are true, the Jewish leaders’ complaints hardly come as a surprise. The administration has already broken past U.S. policy towards Israel by declaring all post-1967 settlements illegitimate, and has broken commitments to stand firmly with Israel’s against terror.
In a forthcoming op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, Richard D. Heideman, former president of B’nai B’rith International, takes Secretary of State John Kerry to task for warning Israel of a “third intifada.” Kerry’s remark was not, sadly, out of character with past administration pronouncements, including a major crisis in 2010 in which Kerry’s predecessor berated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over settlements.
Jewish leadership in the U.S., which leans heavily left, relies on a shrinking mandate from an increasingly disconnected Jewish population. More and more, its priorities are set by a core group of donors with their own political agendas. Dissident groups like J Street, which back Obama to the hilt, are not a threat to the pro-Israel sentiment of the Jewish community but rather a symptom of that community’s steady dissolution.
The Obama era will be remembered as one in which the Jewish community invested in politics as a substitute for investing in its institutional future. As in other, smaller Jewish communities around the world, the leadership has come to represent the government to the community more than the community to the government. The one consolation is that the Jewish community is not alone in feeling betrayed. Many Americans feel the same.