J Street chief Jeremy Ben-Ami.
(photo credit: COURTESY J STREET)
Founder and president of the controversial organization J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami has been an outspoken advocate of a two-state solution, which he considers essential to the future of the State of Israel.
As the American Jewish community was divided over support for or rejection of the Iran nuclear deal, J Street drew some harsh criticism from within its ranks for supporting the agreement. The organization has even been recently called “un-Jewish” by a top Israeli diplomat.
But Ben-Ami has continued over the years to press for Israeli-Palestinian peace and engage in vigorous debates over Israeli policies and solutions to the conflict. Ben-Ami and J Street have vocally rejected the “us versus them” narrative of the conflict and stressed that Israel’s long-term security depends on fulfilling the aspirations of the Palestinian people as well.
Born in 1962, Ben-Ami grew up and studied in New York, receiving a law degree from New York University. President Bill Clinton named him as his deputy domestic policy adviser and he later became policy director for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. After working as communications director for the New Israel Fund and establishing the Israeli firm, Ben-Or Communications, while living in Israel in the late 1990s, he most recently served as senior vice president at Fenton Communications.
He is also the executive director of JStreetPac, which endorses and raises money for federal candidates in US elections. With J Street, Ben-Ami has transformed the political conversation about Israel in the American-Jewish community.
“For J Street, success means ensuring that American Jews can advocate for a secure, Jewish and democratic future for Israel while standing up for our core values,” he told The Jerusalem Post
. “We’re making clear that there is more than one way to be pro-Israel in the 21st century, and providing a strong political voice for an American-Jewish majority that had gone unheard for too long,” he added..