08/16/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Foxman: Obama Putting Too Much Weight On Solving Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Abraham Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), gives an account of his meeting this week with President Barack Obama and other Jewish group leaders, which was aimed at addressing concerns that the new administration's approach towards Israel has been too harsh while its approach to Arab states is seen as too soft.
According to Foxman, in a blog post on the Jerusalem Post's website, Obama on Monday stressed his administration's undying support of Israel insofar as, despite stricter demands against things like settlements, the US will never allow Israeli security to erode.

However Foxman then goes into his qualms with the Obama approach towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the criticism that the strategy, as it stands now, is based on too simplistic a reading of the effects of the Bush years. Or in other words, Foxman fears that Obama is bending over backwards to appease Arabs to make up for the ardently pro-Israel approach the Bush administration employed. As Foxman puts it, though, treatment of Israelis versus Arabs is not a zero-sum game--both can be pushed to make changes simultaneously.

The other most salient concern Foxman has in the piece is that Obama is rushing the process, perhaps unrealistically or even detrimentally, writing:

A second assumption that is troubling is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the key to US interests in the region. To his credit, President Obama rejected the concept of linkage between the Palestinian and Iran issues. I welcome that.

Still, I continue to sense that the administration is putting too much weight on solving the conflict. We all want to see progress and I have no problem with the administration view that the US must be much more engaged to achieve progress. But I am concerned when expectations rise dramatically, as when the president says that he expects the problem to be resolved in two years.

Foxman ends by saying that he is pleased with Obama's overture, but he gives a caveat that there is much more to be done to win over the Jewish community's full trust.

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