Obama Meets With U.S. Jewish Leaders to Discuss Iran Deal, Israel's Security

President meets with leaders of major U.S. Jewish organizations and prominent community leaders to address American Jewish fears on pending nuclear deal.

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Barack Obama speaks at the Saban Forum in Washington, December 7, 2013.Credit: AP

President Barack Obama met with U.S. Jewish leaders at the White House on Monday to discuss the emerging Iran nuclear deal and their subsequent concerns regarding Israel's security.

Obama spent an hour with leaders of various major Jewish organizations during the day's first meeting, described by the Washington Post as "positive" and "very moving."

Among the attendes were representatives from civil defense groups like the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, umbrella groups like the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federations of North America, pro-Israel groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and J Street, and the major religious streams.

One of the meeting's attendees told the Post that the president was "heartfelt about his connection to Israel."

Another said that “the president talked about how deeply he feels about Israel and the Jewish people and anti-Semitism. It was not just about Iran. It was much, much deeper in terms of the president sharing with us how he felt."

That meeting continued with national security adviser Susan Rice and several other senior officials, as Obama left for a second meeting with U.S. Jewish community leaders and "influencers," as described by sources close to the White House.

Haim Saban, the Israeli American entertainment mogul who has been a major donor to Democrats but who also has in the past criticized Obama’s Israel policies, was among the leaders at the second meeting.

According to the Post, Obama did not ask those at the second meeting to lobby Congress in support of the pending deal with Iran.

The meetings follow last week's thematically similar meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry, his undersecretary Wendy Sherman and U.S. Jewish Community leaders.