Obama Stresses Support for Israel, but Refuses to ‘Paper Over’ Discord

Julie Hirschfeld Davis

May 22, 2015

President Obama sought to reassure American Jews that he is a fierce supporter of Israel as he visited an influential synagogue here on Friday to defend his quest for a nuclear agreement with Iran. The visit was also an attempt to mend a strained relationship with parts of the American Jewish community that dates to the start of Mr. Obama’s presidency and has worsened in recent months.

“When I hear some people say that disagreements over policy belie a general lack of support of Israel, I must object — and I object forcefully,” Mr. Obama said. But he said he was unwilling to “paper over differences.”

Calling himself an “honorary member of the tribe,” Mr. Obama, wearing a yarmulke and standing at the bimah where rabbis chant from the Torah, told about 1,000 people in the packed sanctuary at Adas Israel, a large Conservative congregation about three miles from the White House, that the United States had an “enduring friendship with the people of Israel” and “unbreakable bonds with the state of Israel” that could never be weakened.

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