Opponents of J Street consistently argue that our positions are somehow radical, strange and way out of the Israeli or American-Jewish mainstream.
On Monday evening, March 11, I had a public discussion with Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder and president of J Street, at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles. The topics included how American Jews should approach pro-Israel advocacy, whether peace is currently attainable between Israel and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, and what American Jews can do to help the two sides reach an agreement.
The expected nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel as the next defense secretary has sparked an outcry from segments of the pro-Israel community.
More than 400 American Jewish clergy asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to go ahead with new construction in a corridor connecting eastern Jerusalem to the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Adumim.
Incoming and outgoing leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee are circulating a letter calling on President Obama to close the Washington office of the PLO.
A U.S. Senate amendment that would have penalized Palestinians for seeking non-member state status at the United Nations was not attached to its intended law.
Alan Elsner, a veteran journalist whose last job was helping to helm The Israel Project, joined J Street as its top spokesman.
A physicist said he would probably donate part of the $3 million he won in a surprise award to J Street, the liberal pro-Israel group.
Liberal and conservative pro-Israel advocacy groups released ads targeting the presidential candidates.
As a long-time advocate for peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I am pained that frustration over failure to achieve a just and lasting peace has led allies in the struggle to end up at odds over tactics like boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS).
When President Bill Clinton chose in January 2001 to unveil his Clinton Parameters for Arab-Israel peacemaking, he chose an Israel Policy Forum gala to do it. Four years later, then-Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sought the same audience to announce then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s willingness to negotiate with the Palestinians.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein accepted the endorsement of J Street's political action committee.
A J Street-backed letter from 74 Congressional lawmakers urged President Obama to reaffirm support for a two-state solution in the Middle East.
“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a pure tragedy of Greek proportions…because it is a clash between right and right…between two nations who have never known another homeland.”
After spending three days at the J Street conference in Washington, D.C., and hearing one speaker after another talk about the importance of a two-state solution, I’ve come to the conclusion that Jews are blessed with two attributes...
The first Israeli government official ever to appear before J Street received a rousing, whistling, foot-stomping reception. And that was it, as far as the welcome went.
J Street is backing a congressional letter urging President Obama to actively pursue Israeli-Palestinian peace and a bill that would direct him to appoint a special Iran envoy.
Tony Blinken, Vice President Joe Biden's national security adviser, will address this year's J Street conference. Blinken will address a session on the U.S. role in resolving the Arab-Israel conflict and join a panel afterward discussing his remarks.
In January 2009, flushed with the success of Barack Obama’s election to the presidency, many on the left assumed that the new left-wing lobby J Street would soon be a major force in Washington. They thought that even if it did not replace AIPAC as the voice of American Jewry on Israel, it would, at the very least, be a potent rival that would help the new administration’s policy of pressure on the Jewish state survive criticism from the right.
Dennis Prager’s latest jeremiad (“Our Golden Calf,” March 9) reaches new depths of absurdism. His tired and ludicrous mantra that “leftism” is the cause of humanity’s ills can’t be taken seriously. In one fell swoop, Prager places Stalinism, The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman and Reform Judaism’s Rabbi Eric Yoffie in the same basket.
As founders and leaders of J Street U college and university chapters, we expected the hardest part of our work to be confronting issues on campus like divestment at UC Berkeley, an unwillingness to engage with Israel at Occidental, or a polarized conversation at UCLA that had grown toxic after years of enmity.
Hillel leaders at the University of California, Berkeley, are urging the Jewish Student Union on campus to reconsider its rejection of J Street’s campus affiliate.
“Israel’s existence is in fact threatened by a progressive, terminal illness,” Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder of J Street, writes in “A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation” (Palgrave Macmillan: $26). According to his diagnosis, the illness is a kind of willful blindness that prevents both Israeli and American leaders from seeing a way out of the dire predicament that the Jewish state now faces.
The liberal Jewish group J Street opposes Palestinian efforts to achieve statehood recognition through the United Nations, as well as plans to penalize the Palestinians for making the bid.
Supporters, critics and relatively neutral observers all have conspired -- with plenty of prodding from J Street’s own aggressive communications operation -- to shine an intense media spotlight on the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization. The result has been waves of positive attention and tough scrutiny, often out of proportion with any actual accomplishment or misdeed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not meet with a visiting congressional delegation visiting under J Street auspices. Jeremy Ben-Ami, who directs the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" group, confirmed Monday that the prime minister and other senior government officials refused to meet with the five-member delegation.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston voted to retain the membership of J Street, despite a challenge on technical grounds.
The nomination of Rabbi Richard Jacobs to head the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is the latest coup for J Street. Less than three years after its founding, a member of J Street's Rabbinic Cabinet is being appointed to head the largest branch of American Judaism. With the nominee to head the Reform movement proudly declaring, " I support the goals and visions of J Street," it will be impossible for mainstream American Jewry to continue to marginalize J Street and its profoundly anti-Israel positions. The appointment of Rabbi Jacobs threatens to drive the remaining Zionist Jews out of the Reform movement and to create an unbridgeable schism with the rest of American Jewry.
When you get a moment, go online and read the account by our reporter Jonah Lowenfeld of the April 11 J Street debate at Temple Israel of Hollywood. Jewish Journal columnist David Suissa squared off against Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder and president of the self-annointed “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobbying group J Street. About 600 people filed in.
Two J Street staff members who have been with the organization since its inception three years ago have resigned their positions for new opportunities, the organization announced. Issac Luria, the vice president of new media and communications, and press secretary Amy Spitalnick are leaving the the liberal pro-Israel lobby, the organization's president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, announced Wednesday.
Is turnabout fair play when Israel examines the critics who would examine its actions? Groups on the Jewish left expressed outrage last week after the Knesset subcommittee on public diplomacy voted to convene hearings on J Street, the Washington-based lobby that calls itself “pro-Israel, pro-peace.”
An Israeli Knesset committee will hold a hearing on the activities of J Street. The Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Public Diplomacy Committee said Wednesday that the hearing on J Street, which calls itself a "pro-Israel, pro-peace" organization, will be held as soon as next week.
A number of Jewish groups have expressed concern at congressional hearings on terrorism that focus on Islam. "Homegrown Muslim extremists pose a real threat to the United States, but the issue is one that may be difficult to explore seriously in a hearing that has engendered an unfortunate atmosphere of blame and suspicion of the broader American Muslim community," the Anti-Defamation League said in its statement on the hearings opening Thursday under the auspices of the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). "We need to be careful not to single out an entire community for special scrutiny or suspicion."
Traffic Going in Both Directions on J Street. I would like to add my congratulations, to the many he has already received, to David Suissa for again having written an excellent, incisive and rational article, “J Street Needs Another Lane” (March 4) to complement his “Israel Never Looked So Good,” which generated a significant response.
I joined more than 2,400 pro-Israel, pro-peace activists — students and American and Israeli leaders, including five members of the Knesset, dozens of members of Congress and 100 rabbis, last week in Washington, D.C., at J Street’s second national conference. Although I am the rabbi of a congregation, I went as an individual representing no one but myself. I did so as a committed Zionist who loves Israel, who worries about her security and who wishes her to remain a strong, Jewish, pluralistic and democratic state.
It’s March, which means the days get longer and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict heats up on campuses across North America with the annual staging of Israel Apartheid Week. Last year, pro-Israel activists countered Apartheid Week events ranging from anti-Israel speeches to the staging of mock Israeli army checkpoints with pro-Israel events on 28 campuses highlighting Israel’s diversity and progressive character. This year, more campuses are expected to join in.
I am writing from Washington DC, where I’m attending the second annual conference of J Street, together with more than 2,000 American Jews from all walks of life, four MKs from Kadima and one from Labor.
I was watching the J Street convention on its Web site, and it reminded me a little of those underground meetings among religious settlers in the West Bank. That is, a constant flow of red meat served to the fervent and the like-minded. In the case of J Street, this red meat can be boiled down to this: It is really, really, really, really important that Israel reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
The detractors of J Street, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobbying organization, like to portray the organization's leader, Jeremy Ben-Ami, as so far to the left of mainstream American Jewish opinion as to be out of bounds. If they think Ben-Ami is too much of a lefty on Israel, just wait till they meet J Street's rank and file.
More time is needed to bridge gaps between Israelis and Palestinians before direct peace talks can resume, Dennis Ross said. In a speech Monday to the J Street conference in Washington, the senior White House adviser on Middle East peace issues said the current process of the United States working with both sides on bridging proposals needs more time.
J Street is organizing its own Israel trip for Jewish college students after Birthright Israel declined to partner with it. In a letter to J Street supporters, the organization announced that its campus arm, J Street U, would organize a trip to Israel and the West Bank for 10-15 student leaders this summer.
Dennis Ross, the senior adviser to President Obama on Middle East issues, is addressing this year's J Street conference, the group said. Ross, seen as an administration hard-liner on Iran and as arguing for greater consideration of Israel's needs in peace negotiations, would be a coup for the group, which has consistently come under fire from the right and from some Democrats for not being sufficiently pro-Israel.
Birthright Israel has rejected a proposed partnership trip with J Street, saying it no longer works with organizations with Israel-related political leanings. J Street had begun promoting the trip last week being organized by its campus arm, J Street U, in cooperation with Israel Experience, one of several tour providers used by Birthright. But Birthright said it nixed the idea for a J Street trip focusing on progressivism and social action when it was first presented months ago.
U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman severed ties with J Street over its call on the Obama administration not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution on settlements. "After learning of J Street’s current public call for the Obama Administration to not veto a prospective U.N. Security Council resolution that, under the rubric of concern about settlement activity, would effectively and unjustly place the whole responsibility for the current impasse in the peace process on Israel, and -- critically -- would give fresh and powerful impetus to the effort to internationally isolate and delegitimize Israel, I’ve come to the conclusion that J Street is not an organization with which I wish to be associated," Ackerman (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Tuesday.