Treasury secretary Jack Lew booed at Jerusalem Post conference

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The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Jacob “Jack” Lew to be Treasury secretary on Wednesday, February 13, 2013.

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WASHINGTON– The strained relationship between Israel and the U.S. was on display this weekend as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was reportedly booed at a Jerusalem Post conference in New York.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Lew was booed “loudly and consistently” by the largely Jewish-American crowd at the event, a reception Haaretz characterized as “one of the surliest reactions ever accorded to such a high-ranking administration official by a Jewish audience in the United States.”

“No administration has done more for Israel’s security than this one,” Lew said. The crowd reportedly shouted “nonsense” in response to Lew’s declaration that “We are not operating on an assumption that Iran will act in good faith.”

The Treasury secretary sought to reassure the crowd that the U.S. still held Israel’s security as a top priority as it negotiates a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Lew received applause for declaring, “we must never allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.”

But tensions between the two nations remain high, and skepticism of President Barack Obama’s commitment to Israel has grown within the Jewish community in the U.S. An April Gallup survey found that 54% of American Jews approve of Obama’s job performance, a decline from his 61% approval rating within the community in January.

Alexandra Jaffe

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