I went to dinner with a group of friends this past evening, among them two Israelis who expressed reservations about President Obama with regard to their nation. They fear that his zeal to improve relations with the Arab world will be interpreted by Israel's enemies as a sign of declining U.S. support for Israel.
But even while we were enjoying our meal, the president was sending a message to Congress that he is extending sanctions the United States imposed on Syria in 2004.
The president believes that the Syrian government remains a supporter of terrorist groups and is attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
The quest for peace in the Middle East is a complex issue. One should not jump to conclusions about how this will all play out during the Obama administration. I told my friends at dinner that they should withhold judgment - at least until the president meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After which both governments will better understand the evolving relationship between their nations.
In the meantime, Obama's desire to continue sanctions on Syria should be comforting news to my anxious Israeli friends.