Jewish Brief May 1, 2014: The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Overwhelmingly Rejects J Street

JEWISH BRIEF

JEWISH BRIEF: JEWISH NEWS

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Overwhelmingly Rejects J Street

Respected umbrella group of 50 major US Jewish organizations rejects far left group in secret ballot….READ MORE
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Israel Advocacy News July 26, 2012: Emergency Committee for Israel Raps Obama, J Street Hits Romney in Ads

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Emergency Committee for Israel raps Obama, J Street hits Romney in ads

Source: JTA, 7-26-12
Liberal and conservative pro-Israel advocacy groups released ads targeting the presidential candidates….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief April 11, 2012: US Congress Democrats urge President Obama to advance 2-state solution supported at J-Street Conference

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

House members urge Obama to advance 2-state solution

Source: JTA, 4-11-12

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 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, all Democrats, signed on to what was the key agenda item during J Street’s advocacy day on March 27, which coincided with its annual conference.

“In our view, support for a two-state resolution is inseparable from such support for Israel, its special relationship with the United States, and its very survival as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people,” the letter said.

Seven Jewish members signed on to the letter, including two of the letter’s chief sponsors, Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.). Other notable Jewish members to sign the letter were Reps. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

Another signatory was Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member of the budget committee.

In a press release announcing the letter’s signers, J Street’s director of government affairs, Dylan Williams, noted that the lawmakers “are making clear that to be pro-Israel is to support active U.S. engagement in achieving a two-state solution.”

“If the U.S. Congress does not make a viable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a cornerstone of foreign policy in the region, then we are not truly helping Israel to face one its most critical challenges,” Williams said in the press release.

Israel Brief: Alan Dershowitz strikes back: ‘J Street has harmed Israel’

ISRAEL BRIEF

“It’s a myth that criticism of Israel is silenced. I have spoken at AIPAC many times, criticizing Israeli policy,” lawyer says in response to Ben-Ami.

Source: Jerusalem Post, 8-6-11
Prominent Israel advocate Prof. Alan Dershowitz hit back at a book by the founder of J Street charging that he and others have silenced criticism of the Jewish state, in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post.

Alan Dershowitz speaks to the 'Post.'

Photo by: Ariel Jerozolimski

J Street President Jeremy Ben- Ami’s recently released book, A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation, singles out Dershowitz, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and other members of the US Jewish establishment.

“It’s a myth that criticism of Israel is silenced,” Dershowitz said in a phone interview with the Post on Thursday. I have spoken at AIPAC many times and have criticized Israeli policy. AIPAC has never silenced me, because AIPAC knows I’m pro-Israel.”

In the book, Ben-Ami argues that the major Jewish organizations and pro-Israel advocates in America have “created a situation where one can’t question or criticize Israeli policy or actions without being branded an outcast.”

Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, vehemently expressed disagreement with that assertion.

“Ben-Ami was in diapers when I opposed the occupation and was in favor of the two-state solution,” Dershowitz said on Thursday.

“See, I’m [J Street’s] worst nightmare. I oppose the occupation. But I’m really pro-Israel, unlike them.”

Dershowitz also argued that J Street’s actions have had a deleterious effect on the next generation’s ability to effectively advocate for Israel.

“I think J Street has done more damage to Israel than any [other] American organization,” he said.

“It has made a generation of Jews ashamed to be pro-Israel, and has made it politically correct among young people to single out Israel to a double standard and for fault.”…READ MORE

Netanyahu won’t meet with visiting congressional delegation

Source: JTA, 6-6-11

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.

“I just don’t really understand what would be in Israel’s interest to refuse to meet with members of Congress who are year in and year out supporters,” Ben-Ami said. “Why would one not welcome them when the greatest threat to Israel’s safety is growing international isolation?”

Ynet reported that the Foreign Ministry said the delegation did not submit a formal request and that there were scheduling conflicts.

Multiple calls from JTA to the Israeli embassy in Washington were not returned.

The group may yet meet with a Miki Eitan, a second-tier minister, and has scheduled meetings with opposition figures and top Palestinian Authority officials. The Egypt leg of the tour will include visits with top officials of that country.

A J Street congressional delegation was similarly snubbed last year.

This year’s delegation is comprised of  Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ken.). Cohen and Yarmith are Jewish.

“As members of Congress who care deeply about the survival of a strong and vibrant Israel, we have been very pleased to meet with a broad array of Israeli leaders,” Cohen told Ynet. “Unfortunately, the Israeli prime minister and other senior ministers were not among them, which would have been appropriate and proper.”

J Street has had a contentious relationship with Netanyahu’s government and its envoy in Washington, Michael Oren.

The Israeli government wanted little to do with the group as long as its support of Iran sanctions and its opposition to a U.N. investigation charging Israel with war crimes was not ironclad. Once J Street had clarified its positions on those issues, in early 2010, the relationship improved.

However, the relationship deteriorated again after J Street urged the Obama administration earlier this year not to veto a U.N. Security Resolution blasting Israel for its settlement building.

The congressional visit comes on the heels of Netanyahu’s trip to the U.S. last month, when he spoke at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington and was enthusiastically received at a speech to both houses of Congress.

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