Obama hosts first Jewish-American Heritage reception
US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a reception in honor of Jewish-American Heritage Month.
The reception comes after Israel approved 1,600 new settlements in Arab area of East Jerusalem, which many saw as a slap in face to Obama and the US generally.
Obama is utilizing the event to reach out politically to the hearts and minds of Jews in America, argues Graham Wisner, an attorney at Patton Boggs.
“The Democratic Party and the president, who’s the leader of the party, are very mindful of the mood and spirit of the Jewish population. They are trying to tap into a portion of the Jewish community which is very liberal,” said Wisner.
The American Jewish community has been very politically active, but has been wary of recent US overtures towards the Palestinians.
“This is, I think, a political race for the hearts and minds of Jewish America,” said Wisner.
There are many who believe there is a growing trust issue between the Jewish population and the Obama administration, and this celebration of Jewish heritage is intended to improve relations between the two parties.
The Obama administration, similar to past administrations, is continuing to seek a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Wisner argues that the Jewish-American heritage celebration in the US is separate from the Middle East conflict and that parallels should not be drawn between them.