- J Street
Non-profit_name = J Street
Non-profit_type = 501(c)(4)
founder = Jeremy Ben Ami
location = flagicon|USA
key_people = Jeremy Ben Ami (
Franklin Fisher (Advisor)
Daniel Levy (Advisor)
Debra DeLee(Advisor) Marcia Freedman(Advisor) Shlomo Ben-Ami(Advisor) Samuel W. Lewis(Advisor) Lincoln Chafee(Advisor)
area_served = flag|Israel / flag|USA
Arab-Israeli conflict Israeli-Palestinian conflict
homepage = [http://www.jstreet.org/ www.jstreet.org]
J Street is a
Jewish nonprofit advocacygroup based in the United Statesthat promotes meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israel conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. J Street supports a new direction for American policy in the Middle East - diplomatic solutions over military ones, including in Iran; multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution; and dialogue over confrontation with a wide range of countries and actors. J Street Political Action Committee (J Street PAC) is the first and only federal Political Action Committeewhose goal is to demonstrate that there is meaningful political and financial support to candidates for federal office from large numbers of Americans who believe a new direction in American policy will advance U.S. interests in the Middle East and promote real peace and security for Israel and the region. cite news
title= About "J Street"
According to the J Street website, the organization seeks "to change the direction of American policy in the Middle East" and to become "the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement."
J Street supports Israel and its desire for security as the Jewish homeland, as well as the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign state of their own. According to J Street's organizers and supporters, they represent the "consensus" positions of Jewish Americans better than the current, "establishment", pro-Israel umbrella groups like
American Israel Public Affairs Committee(AIPAC) which hold much more hawkish positions than most American Jews. cite news
title= New PAC To Offer Pols A Dovish Mideast View
The Jewish Week
accessdate=2008-04-29] cite news
url = http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/14/AR2008041402647.html
title= Jewish Liberals to Launch A Counterpoint to AIPAC
The Washington Post
accessdate=2008-04-29] Explaining the need for a new advocacy and lobbying group, Executive Director
Jeremy Ben Amistated: :"Over the course of a quarter century of doing American politics, I've seen the way in which the Israel issue plays out. And it greatly disturbs me and it greatly disturbs a very large number of progressive American Jews, who believe very strongly in Israel but feel that the way in which the American Jewish community's voice has been expressed on these issues doesn't reflect our values or opinions. Only the voices of the far right have been heard. They've really hijacked the debate when it comes to Israel."cite news
url = http://www.salon.com/opinion/kamiya/2008/04/29/j_street/
title= Taking Back the Debate Over Israel
Alan Solomont, one of the founders of J Street and a former national finance chair of the
Democratic National Committee(DNC) and currently a Democratic Party fundraiser, described the need for J Street in the following way: :"We have heard the voices of neocons, and right-of-center Jewish leaders and Christian evangelicals, and the mainstream views of the American Jewish community have not been heard."
Several prominent Israeli political, military and civic leaders have signed a letter in support of J Street. Signatories include
Yossi Alpher, former Director of " Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies", former Speaker of the Knesset Avraham Burg, former Knessettmember Naomi Chazan, former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry David Kimche, former Labor Party head Amram Mitzna, and former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Uri Savir.cite news
first = Richard
last = Silverstein
url = http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/richard_silverstein/2008/04/new_kid_on_the_block.html
title= New Kid on the Block
Meaning of name
J Street's rationale is reflected in its unusual name. "K Street," a street in the heart of downtown
Washington, D.C.and a historical landmark because of the famous powerhouse lobbying firms located on it, has become synonymous for Washington’s formidable lobbying establishment. "J Street," logically the next, parallel street to "K street", does not exist in reality. For historical reasons, it is absent from Washington's downtown street grid. cite news
url = http://www.snopes.com/history/american/jstreet.asp
title= No 'J' Street in Washington, DC
accessdate=2008-04-30] Thus, the choice of the name reflects the desire of J Street's founders and donors to bring a voice to Washington D.C. that they believe, much like the missing "J Street" of the downtown grid, has been absent until now.
J Street and J Street PAC, founded in April 2008, exist as separate legal entities with different political functions:
* J Street - a
nonprofit advocacy groupregistered as a 501(c)(4) charitable group. J Street aims to encourage "support strong American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflicts peacefully and diplomatically." Because of J Street's charitable status, it is precluded by campaign finance regulations from financially supporting political campaigns of candidates seeking federal office.
* The J Street PAC - a
political action committeecapable of making direct political campaign donations. Thus, the J Street PAC will provide political and financial support to candidates who are seeking election or reelection and agree with "J Street"'s goals.cite news
url = http://www.jstreetpac.org/pac/about_the_pac
title= About the "J Street PAC"
J Street Political Action Committee
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7349371.stm
title= Jewish lobby gains new voice
J Street's advisory council includes former public officials, policy experts, and community and academic leaders. These include, among others, Daniel Levy, a former high-ranking Israeli official who was the lead drafter of the groundbreaking
Geneva Initiative, Franklin Fisher and Debra DeLeeof Americans for Peace Now, Marcia Freedmanof Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, Democratic Middle East foreign policy expert Robert Malley, former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Samuel W. Lewisand former US Senator Lincoln Chafee.cite news
url = http://www.jstreet.org/supporters/advisory_council
title= The "J Street" Advisory Council
J Street plans activities in two realms:
Political fund raising
First, the J Street PAC will act as a a traditional
political action committeeraising funds to support a limited number of candidates for Senate and Congressional races.
In the current election cycle, the "J Street PAC" hopes to raise around $300,000 to funnel into three to five races in which it can make a significant impact in swing districts. It will devote efforts to choosing races in which there is a weak incumbent with an anti-peace agenda running against a candidate who is open to J Street's political agenda.cite news
url = http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2008/04/17/j-street-new-israel-peace-lobby-launches/
title= J Street, New Israel Peace Lobby, Launches
Norm Coleman, a Republican Senator from Minnesota, will be high on J Street's list since he is such a weak incumbent and is opposed by Al Franken, who is sympathetic to a pro-peace agenda regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Capitol Hill lobbying
Second, J Street will lobby for and against Israel-related bills and legislation.
J Street's first-year budget for fiscal 2009 is $1.5 million. This may seem a low figure compared to AIPAC's endowment of more than $100 million, writes according to Gary Kamiya, but the Internet revolution in politics has changed the rules of the game. J Street founders hope to raise significant money online, following in the successful footsteps of
MoveOnand the Barack Obamacampaign.
Israeli-American writer and analyst
Gershom Gorenbergwrote in the " American Prospect" that J Street "might change not only the political map in Washington but the actual map in the middle east."cite news
authorlink= Gershom Gorenberg
url = http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=j_street_on_the_map
title= J Street on the Map
accessdate=2008-04-30] On the negative side,
Noah Pollakat " Commentary Magazine" predicted that the effort would fall flat and show there are no "great battalions of American Jewish doves languishing in voicelessness."cite news
url = http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/pollak/3364
title= Taking It to the (J) Street
Ken Wald, a political scientist at
University of Florida, predicted the group would be attacked by the " Jewish right." According to BBC News, Wald warned that J Street "will get hammered and accused of being anti-Israel. A lot will have to do with the way they actually frame their arguments." James Kirchick, writing in the The New Republic, called J Street's labeling of AIPAC as "right wing" "ridiculous"; Kirchik says that AIPAC's former president told him that AIPAC was the first American Jewish organization to support Oslo and supports a two-state solution. Kirchick further asserts that some of J Street's positions, such as advocating negotiations with Hamas, are not popular with most American Jews [ [http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=175293ef-7f70-408b-a68a-ffffdb56d7bf Street Cred? Who does the new Israel lobby really represent?] ] (although according to Haaretz-Dialog poll the majority of Israelis, as of March 2008, do support direct talks with Hamas [ [http://www.newsweek.com/id/119881 Israelis Want to Talk to Hamas | Newsweek International Edition | Newsweek.com ] ] .) Jeremy Ben-Ami responded to Kirchick's charges during a May 26 2008 interview published in Haaretz Magazine. [cite news
url = http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/rosnerGuest.jhtml?itemNo=987196
title= Rosner's Guest: Jeremy Ben-Ami
* Ephron, Dan. [http://www.newsweek.com/id/138784 A Firmer Hand: Washington's new Jewish lobby presses Israel] . "
Newsweek". May 27, 2008.
* Ben-Ami, Jeremy. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/08/AR2008050801521.html 5 Myths on Who's Really 'Pro-Israel'] . "
Washington Post". May 8, 2008.
* Lichfield, Gideon. [http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=10172 Hurdles on J Street] . "Prospect" (UK). April 30, 2008
* Tobin, Jonathan. [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1208870497218&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull "View From America: Making sense of the 'J Street' jive"] . "
The Jerusalem Post". April 27, 2008.
* Rozen, Laura. [http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2008/04/7968_new_liberal_pro.html "J Street Hopes to Prod Washington MidEast Policy Towards Center"] . "
Mother Jones". April 15, 2008.
* Kampeas, Ron. [http://jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/news/article/20080415jeremybenami20080415.html "Doves launch effort to take on pro-Israel establishment in D.C."] . "
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency". April 15, 2008.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
Israel lobby in the United States
Diaspora politics in the United States
Independent Jewish Voices
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
Americans for Peace Now
Jewish Voice for Peace
Israel Policy Forum
* [http://www.jstreet.org/ J Street - official website]
* [http://www.jstreetpac.org/ "J Street Political Action Committee" ("J Street PAC") - official website]
* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/987196.html Jeremy Ben-Ami, Executive Director of the new pro-Israel dovish lobby, J Street, will answer questions.] By Shmuel Rosner. Haaretz, May 29, 2008
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