Livni Urges J Street Conference To Support Two States

Vice President Joe Biden To Speak Later in Conference

getty images

By JTA

Published September 29, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Tzipi Livni, the top Israeli peace negotiator, made an impassioned case for peace with the Palestinians and for supporting Israel’s army in remarks to J Street’s national policy conference.

The opening Saturday night of the conference, which runs through Tuesday, saw speeches from Livni, who is also the justice minister, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Dror Moreh, who directed “Gatekeepers,” the Oscar-nominated film about top Israeli security officials and their advocacy for engaging with the Palestinians.

Livni, who heads the Israeli negotiation team in current peace talks, spent much of her speech defending the necessity of a two-state solution.

“It’s not a favor to the Palestinians, to the Arab world, to President Obama,” she said. “It’s in our interest.”

Speaking of breaking from the ideology of her parents, who were staunch right-wing supporters of greater Israel, Livni said it was in Israel’s self-interest to give up land in exchange for peace. “I believe what we’re doing is not for the sake of our parents, but for the sake of our children,” Livni said.

While Livni received a rousing welcome and warm support from the crowd for her comments defending the two-state solution, the reception was more ambivalent when Livni switched gears to defending the Israel Defense Forces.

“Delegitimization of Israel focuses on our soldiers,” Livni said. “Believe me, what they are doing is defending the State of Israel and trying to avoid civilian casualties.”

J Street describes itself as “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” and is widely seen as a more left-wing alternative to the more established American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the organization, announced a new campaign aiming to gather thousands of signatures to a petition calling for concrete steps the Israelis and Palestinians must take toward creating a two-state solution.

It was announced that J Street is pledging $1 million toward the so-called 2 Campaign, which is also to include town hall meetings around the country and lobbying Congress.

Ben-Ami slammed the one-state solution offered as a resolution to the conflict by those further left on the political spectrum than J Street.

“There is no evidence that nationalism is receding or that the world is moving toward universalism,” Ben-Ami declared. “The two-state solution isn’t a favor to anyone, it is in the self-interest of the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

Organizers announced that over 2800 supporters registered for the conference, including 900 college students from 125 campuses in North America, the United Kingdom and Israel.

Lewis, during a wide-ranging, impassioned speech that traced his history as peace and civil rights activist and recounted his childhood raising chickens, offered strong support for J Street.

“As leaders of J Street you must lead, you must stand up and speak out and never give up or give out or give in,” Lewis told the crowd. “You have the power to be the headlights.”

Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich are scheduled to speak later in the conference.


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!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • 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.