President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

American Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein says the “obsession” with the presidential election is extremely dangerous, taking focus from what the current US administration under Obama could still do.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, cautioned American Jews against obsessing about the 2016 presidential race rather than taking note of what the current president could do before the end of his term.

“The obsession, I have to say, with the presidential election is, to me, one of the most dangerous things that is happening,” Hoenlein remarked during a forum hosted by JP Updates and moderated by New York City Councilman David Greenfield in Brooklyn, the Jewish Journal reported. “We have nine months still to go where these issues are going to be in play. People are not talking about it. They’re not thinking about it. All they are thinking about is watching the circus of the political realm.”

Over the next nine months, Barack Obama might work hard to improve relations with Cuba and create a basis for the creation of a Palestinian state, Hoenlein warned, saying the US president “has made clear that he has a legacy agenda that he wants to implement.”

‘Government in Washington is Not Stopping’

“I’m telling you, we’re going to all look back in a few months and say, ‘How did all of these things happen?’ The government in Washington is not stopping. They’re going ahead, and on critical issues to our future,” he told the crowd of about 40. “These issues are not going to be decisions for years. They’re going to be things that will affect your grandchildren and their grandchildren. These are decisions of generations.”

Malcolm Hoenlein

Malcolm Hoenlein, president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

As for the Iran nuclear deal, Hoenlein expressed some optimism. “The image is created that somehow we lost on the Iran deal. It’s a lie. We won,” he said. “In the Senate, 58 voted against it. What was the vote in the House? Overwhelmingly against it. Because the president was able to pull a parliamentary maneuver, it wasn’t because he won. A majority of Americans still say this is a bad deal. So the educational efforts and all the work that people put in, one should not think that it was in vain. It accomplished something.”

According to Hoenlein, it will be up to the next president to push for tougher policies and sanctions while enforcing the nuclear deal, the Journal said.

By: United with Israel Staff
(With files from the Jewish Journal)