JCall, the European Jewish group loosely associated with and inspired by the left-leaning US lobby group J Street, is
preparing for its first-ever conference to take place in Paris June 19, a senior
official said Friday.
In a telephone interview from the French capital,
JCall Secretary General David Chemla described the group’s planned itinerary for
“We’re celebrating our one-year anniversary,” he said. “We’re
going to have four main issues. The first will be a workshop on [the]
delegitimization of Israel and its cultural and academic boycott, which we of
course oppose. The second will deal with Israeli society. Third, we’ll
discuss the Arab uprisings and its effects on the regions with
journalists. And four, we’ll discuss the occupation, and how it affects
everyday life in Israel.”
Several European, Israeli and Arab-speakers
will participate in the debates, including Lebanese political expert Antoine
Basbous and former Israeli ambassador to France, Eli Barnavi.
invited to speak is the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, which recently called
the Law of Return, which allows Jews to immigrate freely to Israel, into
question in its manifesto.
“One can infer from our manifesto that changes
need to be made to the Law of Return, and that those changes need to be done
democratically and in the spirit of democratic values,” said Sheikh Jarrah
spokesman, Avner Inbar, last February.
Chemla, a French-born Jew who
speaks Hebrew and has lived in Israel in the past, said he was more interested
in the group’s protests in east Jerusalem, where it has opposed Jews moving into
the predominately- Arab neighborhood, than its position on aliya.
that is what they believe in, then there is a conflict, but what interests me is
for them to tell me what is doing on the ground,” he said. “Of course, I support
the rights of Jews to make aliya, but we have to have everyone at the table and
look at all the texts.”
Chemla said JCall’s goal was to help find a
peaceful solution for the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, warning against the
consequences if it persists.
“What matters – the most important thing –
is that 8,000 European Jews from France, Switzerland, Belgium and elsewhere, who
are staunchly pro-Israeli – and still, they oppose the occupation – are meeting
to find solutions,” he said.