The Washington-based left-wing group J Street will launch a new media campaign
in late June aimed at encouraging the American administration to take greater
initiative in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“Community of Yes,” the campaign aims to “say ‘enough!’ to the ‘chorus of no,’”
according to J Street’s vice president of communications, Isaac Luria.
comes as a response to what the organization views as the politicization
support for Israel by some on the American Right.
“There are people
trying to turn support for Israel into a political football,” said
“people like [radio personality Rush] Limbaugh, Sarah Palin or
Congressman] Eric Cantor. This is in part a fight against the
of the pro-Israel position.”
According to Luria, “support for Israel is
broad and deep in America.
There is a mainstream that supports both
Israel and peace.”
It is especially urgent in the wake of the flotilla
crisis, Luria added.
The campaign will invite the participation of people
“of all stripes who know there’s a two-state solution” – including those
the Jewish community.
The organization is mum on specifics, because the
details of what the campaign will ask of the American government are
debated. But some of the general principles behind the campaign are
taking shape. It may call on the government to turn the next summit of
Mideast Quartet, slated to take place in Moscow sometime in the coming
into a more formal and comprehensive peace summit.
“Whatever it is, it’s
got to be done in a way that works. We want [the White House] to start
clearer about the stakes, to meet the needs of the moment. America
the effort [for peacemaking],” Luria said.
J Street was founded in 2008
as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization seeking to unite and
left-wing American Jewish camp. It has grown to 43 staff members and an
budget estimated at over $5 million. It has faced criticism in the
American Jewish community for views seen by some as being overly
Israel, but it has asserted that its criticism of Israeli policies stems
its concern for Israel’s long-term welfare.
The organization will have
delegates at the 36th Zionist Congress which opened this week in