WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is addressing one of the largest Jewish congregations in Washington to highlight efforts to combat anti-Semitism, a problem he says has created an intimidating environment worldwide for Jewish families.
Obama was to speak to Congregation Adas Israel on Friday in observance of Jewish American Heritage Month. The appearance coincides with Solidarity Shabbat, devoted to showing unity by political leaders in Europe and North America against anti-Semitism.
Obama is expected to use the opportunity to try to calm the waters over the impending nuclear deal with Iran and his administration’s frosty relationship with the Netanyahu government.
In an interview with The Atlantic magazine this week, Obama said extremism in the Middle East and the emergence of overt anti-Semitism in Europe have made Jews fearful just one generation removed from the Holocaust.
But he also criticized politicians who denounce anyone who questions Israeli government policies as being anti-Jewish. He said: “I completely reject that.”