WBEZ: Local Reactions to President Obama's Foreign Policy

Religious leaders in Chicago are reacting to President Barack Obama’s foreign policy speech on Thursday. Islamic and Jewish organizations in Chicago praised the speech overall, but disagreed over Mr. Obama’s tone toward Palestine and Israel.

Ahmed Rehab is the Executive Director of CAIR Chicago: the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He said the President sugar-coats the US demands on Israel. “Would you please do this, pretty please do that? That’s not the message the United States should have. We need to be a lot more courageous and bold and demanding of the right thing,” he said after the president’s speech.

Dan Elbaum is the Regional Director of the American Jewish Committee. He said Mr. Obama’s speech reaffirmed that America’s bond with Israel is unshakable, but that every American president has said that.

In response to the charge that Obama’s tone is more stern towards Palestine he said, “I don’t think the President is unsympathetic to the Palestinian cause. I don’t think the Jewish community or the Israelis are unsympathetic.”

President Obama is set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday.