WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama told Jewish donors to his reelection campaign that Israel and the United States must assess the new Middle East with "fresh eyes."
"Both the United States and Israel are going to have to look at this new landscape with fresh eyes," Obama said Monday night at an event in Washington that charged a minimum $25,000 a couple. "It’s not going to be sufficient for us just to keep on doing the same things we’ve been doing and expect somehow that things are going to work themselves out. We’re going to have to be creative and we’re going to have to be engaged."
Obama said Israel is the United States’ "closest ally" and that he was committed to Israel facing the challenges "from a position of strength," noting the closeness between the two countries’ defense establishments and his increase in defense assistance to Israel.
Obama, who has clashed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over settlement building and parameters for peace talks with the Palestinians, said that in the coming months "there may be tactical disagreements in terms of how we approach these difficult problems."
Organizers of the event, entitled "Obama Victory Fund 2012 Dinner with the President in support of a strong US-Israel relationship" ushered the White House pool reporters out of the room at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel after Obama’s short talk so he could talk frankly with the donors.
Organizers aimed to raise $1 million in the evening. Obama’s Jewish supporters have been pushing back against reports that he is losing support in the community because of tensions with Netanyahu.