Jeremy Ben-Ami

In Congress, J Street, AIPAC fight over Gaza flotilla letters

Update: I had a call this afternoon from an AIPACer who took me to task for writing that the 79 Senators who signed the AIPAC-endorsed letter - now over 80 - was "not a slam dunk."

Point taken; getting 4/5 of the Senate to sign anything is no mean achievement.

"Are You Or Have You Ever Been A Zionist?"

Jeffrey Goldberg, the usually liberal Atlantic journalist and one-time IDF soldier, has increasingly been defending more conservative positions on Israel.  So when he opened last night's discussion with Jeremy Ben-Ami, the J Street founder and former Clinton aide, with the interrogation-like question -- "Are you or have you ever been a Zionist?" -- you might have expected the night to end in a brawl.  

First reactions to UN Iran vote - J Street and AIPAC, plus White House 'Fact Sheet'

As the United Nations Security Council took up a new, tougher Iran sanctions regime, I was wondering: which Jewish group would be the first out of the gate praising its passage?

Gaza Flotilla Crisis Fuels Blockade Controversy for Israel

Left slams ‘collective punishment,’ as right hits Israel’s critics.

06/02/2010

Tel Aviv — The botched Israeli interception of a Gaza-bound blockade-buster flotilla ignited the usual Monday-morning quarterbacking in Israel:

Had the military prepared itself sufficiently for violent resistance? 

Did Israel lose the media war in the first hours when official spokespeople were silent for hours despite reports of fatalities on the ships?

The day after the flotilla raid, pro-Israel (left) and pro-Palestinian protestors rallied here. Michael Datikash | Getty Images

Muted Optimism For Proximity Talks

Jewish leaders expect no breakthroughs from Mitchell’s shuttle diplomacy, but say they could bear modest fruit.

05/04/2010
Washington Correspondent

Rarely have peace negotiations started with such low expectations — but that doesn’t mean the indirect “proximity talks” between Israel and the Palestinians, due to begin as early as this week with new rounds of shuttle diplomacy by U.S. special envoy George Mitchell, are doomed to failure.

While suggesting that major breakthroughs are unlikely, many analysts say the talks could prove fruitful, but only if the Obama administration understands the limitations of what the parties themselves can reasonably be expected to do.

Mideast envoy George Mitchell, left, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month.

Oren, J Street Meet

04/16/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israel's U.S. ambassador formally met with the director of J Street.

"The conversation, which took place at the Israeli Embassy, lasted approximately one hour and covered a wide range of topics, including the peace process, the U.S.-Israel relationship and Iran," said a statement from the group describing the Thursday afternoon meeting between Ambassador Michael Oren and Jeremy Ben-Ami.

Fresh Rift Emerges Over War Response

01/07/2009
Washington Correspondent

Beneath the surge of Jewish unity, as a broad spectrum of pro-Israel groups back Israel’s Gaza military surge, are differences over tactics, growing uncertainty over exactly how to express support for the embattled Jewish state and some of the sharpest skirmishes yet between “mainstream” Jewish organizations and the peace camp.

Iran Sanctions, the Left Wing split and fears about nuclear containment

 I just finished writing another Iran story, and space issues forced me to leave out one interesting element: the emerging split between Jewish pro-peace process groups over Iran sanctions.

This week J Street, the lobby and political action committee that remains the target of choice of Jewish conservatives, announced it is now supporting the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, which  will impose sanctions on companies that help Iran obtain refined petroleum products.

Iran Sanctions, the Left Wing split and fears about nuclear containment

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 I just finished writing another Iran story, and space issues forced me to leave out one interesting element: the emerging split between Jewish pro-peace process groups over Iran sanctions.

Different actors, same script in latest Jerusalem building controversy

Haven't we seen this movie before?

The script goes like this: Washington objects to Israeli settlement  construction; there are some angry words on both sides, and then an apparent coming together around some vaguely defined, transparent face-saving compromise. Both sides insist there's no crisis in the relationship.

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