Daily Archives: October 25, 2009

A Bibi-Obama Split: Jones Speaks But Oren a J Street No-Show

Jeremy Ben Ami, J Street director, made it quite clear that J Street is Israeli-focused when he spoke to the conference:

Substantively, of course, we’re here because we care so deeply about changing the course of events in the Middle East. Because we know the path we are on – of endless conflict, failure to compromise, terror and bloodshed – leads only to hopelessness and despair.

We rally tonight around this simple premise: that the security and very future of the Jewish, democratic homeland in Israel is at risk without an end to the conflict and to the occupation of the Palestinian people.

The work begun in the generations before ours to build a nation in the image of our people to be the home of our people will only be complete when Israel has defined borders, a Palestinian state has been established next door and the rest of the region and the world recognizes Israel and accepts its existence.

Our presence here in such numbers and with such energy demonstrates the powerful base of political support ready to back active pursuit and achievement of comprehensive, regional peace in the Middle East – as an urgent priority not a distant, almost meaningless, aspiration.

We do not want the United States to simply be a passive facilitator of fruitless negotiation. No – as President Obama has said, we have had enough talking about talking.

We want action and we want resolution. We want the United States and the international community actively at the table – and we want this conflict to end.

As I hope has been clear in the early stages of the conversation tonight – while this movement is welcoming to all who seek peace, justice and an end to the conflict – it is rooted in a love of Israel and concern for its future.

Special Update on Bloggers Panel Monday afternoon

This just in from Helen Cobban:

Our decidedly “off-Broadway” blogger’s panel took place at noon today, tucked into something slightly larger than a broom closet in the bowels of J Street’s conference hotel. There were about ten of us on the panel and three additional panelists participating remotely, via the craziest kind of phone/Skype connections.

Audience people (who also included some really cool people like Australian-Jewish blogger Antony Lowenstein) were literally pasted to the walls and would have hung from rafters had there been rafters.

At one point J Street head Jeremy Ben-Ami put in a small cameo appearance at the back of the audience. I believe he was not there when blogging superstars like Phil Weiss and Max Blumenthal were deciding whether to give J Street one thumb’s-up, one and a half, or two…

Anyway, bottom line, the panel was an independent activity. J Street did not endorse the views expressed there, and we weren’t obliged to line up like clockwork behind all of J Street’s positions, either. But all in all, huge kudos to J Street for embracing the idea of a free-speech forum like this.

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Posted in Middle East Politics, Politics and Elections | 7 Comments