J Street

Arab Unrest Alters Power Balance in As Yet Unseen Ways

03/02/2011
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- They were the devils they knew.

Though Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood, surrounded by countries whose leaders or people wish its destruction, over the years it had adjusted to the status quo, more or less figuring out how to get by while keeping an eye on gradual change.

But the sudden upheaval in the region that in a matter of weeks has toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and threatens autocrats in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere, is forcing Israel to grapple with how to recalibrate for dramatic change.

Civility In Houston

03/01/2011
Staff Writer

(Houston) Lee Wunsch, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, recently told a friend at a Shabbat kiddush that he had attended a meeting where a representative of J Street, the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization, spoke. Wunsch’s friend, who “nearly had a heart attack,” attacked J Street’s policies.

Lee Wunsch, shocked by growing lack of civility in Houston’s Jewish community, has started informal dialogue campaign.

J Street Copes With Its Left Flank At Conference

Second annual confab draws nearly 2,500.

03/01/2011
JTA

Washington — 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.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s executive director, speaks at the organization’s gala dinner this week. Courtesy of J Street

J Street lobbies Congress for Israel and Palestinian aid

 J Street, wrapping up its second national conference today, will fan out over Capitol Hill for a round of lobbying meetings that will deliver a message that could – at least in part -- could warm AIPAC's heart: don't cut aid to Israel.

That, along with a call to continue aid to the Palestinian Authority in the interests of a two-state solution, is the sole “ask” in about 250 Hill meetings – mostly local J Streeters going to their own representatives offices, taking another page out of AIPAC's play book.

Ross to J Street: More Time Needed for Bridging Peace Proposals

02/28/2011

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.

“That process hasn't played out yet,” Ross said. “We'll make a judgment on where the process is, where the two sides are and what we think the most appropriate steps are on where we'll have the most impact.

Blogging J Street, just a little

I can't spend a lot of time at J Street's second national conference, going on now at Washington's cavernous Convention Center, but I was there yesterday as a panelist in a session on the Jewish vote and spent a little time shmoozing, and I've been watching the sessions streamed on the J Street Web site.

Assessing J Street

Since last week's story on J Street, several readers have asked about my assessment of how the group is doing after almost three tumultuous years.

What the U.S. veto at the U.N. means

Does it matter much that the Obama administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolution labeling Israel's settlement activity illegal? Naturally, it depends on who you ask, but my answer is: probably not.

Mostly, it strikes me as an action by an administration that has concluded – rightly or wrongly – that the current status quo is the best it can hope for in the Middle East.

J Street Vows To Calibrate Tone Amid Criticism

On eve of national conference and third anniversary, lobby group says it will moderate message in Congress.

02/16/2011
Washington Correspondent

When J Street, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace process” group that has become a lightning rod for volcanic differences in American Jewish life, distributed the schedule for its upcoming national conference, nervous members of Congress were quick to note one session: a panel on the boycotts, sanctions and divestment movement that will include a leading Jewish supporter of BDS.

That, in a nutshell, points to what could be the biggest problem facing the political action committee and lobby as it nears its third anniversary.

Capitol steps, and missteps: Eight J Street-backed congressional candidates in 2008. Courtesy of J Street

J Street apologizes to Ackerman, doesn't back off from UN resolution position

 J Street's spat with Rep. Gary Ackerman took another turn today when it apologized for its strong reaction to the New York Democrat's statement last repudiating the pro-peace process group.

But J Street isn't backing away from the statement that touched off the fracas in the first place – its request that the Obama administration consider not vetoing a pending UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity.

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