A delegation of members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations visited Saudi Arabia this week, a first for the umbrella body for U.S. Jews. It’s believed to be the first official visit to the kingdom by an American Jewish organization since 1993, The Jerusalem Post informs.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has learned that the visit from Monday to Thursday included meetings with senior Saudi officials, as well as with Mohammed al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League who recently led a delegation organized by the American Jewish Committee to Auschwitz. Al-Issa is seen as close to Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince.
The focus of the talks between the Presidents Conference constituents and Saudi officials was on countering terrorism and those fomenting instability in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Israel share a mutual concern about Iran’s activity in the region and fears that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program.
The Presidents Conference, an umbrella body for major U.S. Jewish organizations, was created in the 1950s to present a unified Jewish voice on issues of foreign policy. It has been riven in recent years over differences on criticizing Israel’s settlement policy and how closely to work with the Trump administration, the Post adds.
It’s not known which component organizations were represented in Riyadh, but the group’s professional leadership — Executive Vice President Malcolm Hoenlein and CEO William Daroff — are known to have been present, as well as current lay chairman Arthur Stark.