White House to host two meetings with Jewish leaders

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Barack Obama will attend two meetings with Jewish leaders in his bid to persuade the Jewish community to back the Iran nuclear deal.

Obama and Susan Rice, his national security adviser, will meet Monday with top officials of Jewish organizations, including 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.

Later that afternoon, Obama and Rice will meet with “Jewish community leaders,” as the White House describes them on its schedule. Sources who have been apprised of the second meeting said the group is comprised of “influencers,” or major donors to the Democratic Party who have expressed skepticism about the Iran nuclear deal, among them Israeli-American mogul Haim Saban.

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Secretary of State John Kerry and Wendy Sherman, the undersecretary of state who leads the U.S. delegation to the Iran talks, held a similar meeting last week with organizational leaders that lasted two hours.

The major powers and Iran earlier this month released the outline of a deal that would exchange sanctions relief for restrictions aimed at keeping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel opposes the emerging deal, saying it will leave Iran a nuclear weapons threshold state.