J Street Features Beinart, Rejects His Boycott Call

Young Activists Dominate Dovish Lobby's Conference

By Nathan Guttman

Published March 26, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Rabbi Hartman, while making the case for self-defense as a moral obligation of the Jewish people, called for a “nuanced conversation” on the use of power and the need to make room for other voices in the pro-Israel field. “If we’re going to learn to love Israel together we’re going to have to contract,” he said, “to contract our certainty, to contract our language.”

It was a more cautious formulation of a message delivered a day earlier by Israeli author and Amos Oz, who said in a speech opening the J Street conference, that “no one can claim Zionism for themselves.” Oz, however, did not leave any room for doubt regarding the views thinks American Jews should adopt when supporting Israel. “Let us all be united,” he said, “but why unite under the militant, hawkish, extremist banner of AIPAC?” he asked, referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The J Street conference, which is taking place at the Washington Convention Center, is populated by many young activists. College students make up nearly a quarter of the participants. While at the lobby’s first and second annual conferences, much was made of the presence of activists from the far left, this criticism seems to have subsided as J Street gradually inched closer to the center and more radical activists found their way out of the organization.

An outcome of this moderation is growing cooperation between the lobby and Israel’s embassy in Washington. When J Street was founded, nearly four years ago, it was shunned by the embassy and by other officials from the Israeli government. This year, Israel’s second-in-rank diplomat in Washington will address the gathering.

“They have said some positive things,” said an Israeli official, who noted the group’s opposition to all types of boycott, including the limited measures offered by Beinart, and its opposition to last year’s Palestinian bid for statehood, as positive steps.

Landing a high-level speaker from the Obama administration, however, proved to be a difficult task. The White House, will send Tony Blinkin, who is the national security adviser to vice president Biden, and Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama.

Earlier this month, when AIPAC held its annual conference, the administration was represented by President Obama himself as well as by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.