Obama Tells U.S. Jewish Leaders: Netanyahu Not Invited to White House Until After Iran Talks

Obama reportedly told delegation of U.S. Jewish leaders last week that he was worried Netanyahu would publicly vent his complaints about his administration's Iran policy.

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

U.S. President Barack Obama informed American Jewish leaders at a meeting last week that he was not prepared to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House for an in-person visit.

According to a New York Times report, Obama told the group that he was concerned Netanyahu would publicly vent his complaints about White House policies, specifically the ongoing negotiations with Iran regarding the latter's nuclear program.

Obama told the delegation that he would speak with Netanyahu over the telephone in the meantime, while a formal invitation would wait until after the Iran talks' June 30 deadline.

Obama met with U.S. Jewish leaders at the White House last week 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."