Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Lobby Seeks to Redefine 'Pro-Israel'

Jim Lobe | Antiwar, April 16, 2008 (Inter Press Service)

A new group of prominent U.S. Jews who believe that the so-called "Israel Lobby" has been dominated for too long by neoconservatives and other Likud-oriented hawks has launched a new organization to help fund political candidates who favor a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a stronger U.S. role in achieving it.

Almost two years in the making, the J Street project plans to spend some $1.5 million – about half of which has been pledged to date – in its first year of operation, a portion of which will go to supporting half a dozen congressional campaigns for candidates who share its pro-peace and pro-Israel views.

"For too long, the loudest American voices on Israel have come from the far Right," noted Jeremy Ben-Ami, a founder and director of both J Street and its political-action affiliate, JStreetPac.

"Those voices have claimed that the only way to be pro-Israel is to support military responses to political problems, to refuse to engage one's adversaries in dialogue and to put off the day of reckoning when hard compromises will be required to achieve a peaceful and secure future for Israel and the entire Middle East," he told reporters via teleconference Tuesday.

"These are not the kind of smart, tough views that serve the long-term interests of the state of Israel, of the United States – or frankly, the American Jewish community," he added.

Continued . . .

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