President Obama pleaded with Jewish groups to back his nuclear framework deal with Iran during a private meeting at the White House on Monday.
The president held separate meetings on Monday with leaders of major Jewish organizations and “Jewish community leaders” who are reportedly Democratic supporters.
Obama made an “emphatic and passionate” case during the nearly 90-minute meeting with Jewish organizations that the deal is the best way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, according to an official from a group that participated.
“Concerns were raised and there was a fair amount of back and forth,” the official, who requested anonymity to describe the events of the meeting, said. “There were some folks walking in who support and favor the deal and there were some who have deep, deep concerns about the deal. I don’t think anyone’s fundamental view was changed by the conversation.”
The White House did not release a list of the groups that attended the meeting and did not immediately respond to requests for a list of participants. Sources said the meeting was intended as an off-the-record event, and groups contacted by The Hill would only speak without attribution about it.
The closed-door meeting highlights Obama’s ramped-up sales pitch to Jewish leaders, who the White House and Democrats fear could side with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against the agreement.
More broadly, Democratic strategists have expressed concern that big Jewish donors could turn away from Democrats and toward Republicans over the deal, which would lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for concessions on Tehran’s nuclear program.
More than a dozen groups on both sides of the debate participated in Monday’s meeting, according to one source familiar with it.