Over at Al Jazeera, I report on J Street’s first national conference.
They came in droves. Over 1,500 people mobilised in Washington last week to support J Street – the nascent Jewish-American lobbying organisation that defines itself as “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace”.
J Street’s vision is for a secure and democratic Israel existing side-by-side in peace and security with a Palestinian state. As a lobbying organisation, it is recognised by many as an alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Unlike the more established and powerful AIPAC, which tends to tailor its support to Israel’s governmental point of view, J Street differentiates between support for Israel and support for the policies of the Israeli government.
The mood at the conference was buoyant and forward-looking. For three days, participants listened to speeches by notable politicians and intellectuals; gathered for panels headed by some of today’s top Middle East analysts; and networked in the hallways of the Hyatt hotel.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s executive director, “The numbers of participants far exceeded our expectations – 148 congressmen supported the event, 250 students, and reporters from 17 countries came. This is truly the birth of a movement.”
The enthusiasm of Ben-Ami was shared by many other attendees.
To read more, click here.