I have attended many conferences in my life, and none is quite like the annual national conference of J Street in Washington, D.C. for thought-provoking, inspiring and informative sessions with a wide diversity of views on the issue for which J Street was created five years ago, resolving through American mediation the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all.
J Street’s principles are clear and simple, though the conflict is not: “We believe in the right of the Jewish people to a national homeland in Israel, in the Jewish and democratic values on which Israel was founded, and in the necessity of a two-state solution.”
The core of J Street’s argument is that a secure democratic Jewish state of Israel living side-by-side with an independent Palestinian state through a two-state solution is the only way Israel can remain both Jewish and democratic.
J Street represents 180,000 individuals in 50 community chapters and a college division (J Street U) that is active on more than 50 campuses.
J Street’s political action committee (JStreetPAC) is the largest pro-Israel PAC in Washington, D.C. and raised $1.8 million in the last election cycle (2012) to support 71 congressional and senatorial candidates, of which 70 won their elections.
J Street expects to bring to its conference between 2500 and 3000 participants, including 650 college students.
The Conference this year will include MK Shelly Yachimovich, leader of the opposition Labor party, and other Members of the Knesset from Labor, Meretz, Yesh Atid, Hat’nuah, Likud and Shas. The list of conference speakers also includes other Israeli and Palestinian leaders, American officials, journalists, and heads of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs.
Among the featured sessions are:
→ A View from the Hill: Is Congress Changing?
→ How Israel Emerged as a Partisan Wedge Issue in US Politics
→ Friends from Afar? The Impact of the Pro-Israel Establishment on Achieving Two States
→ The Future of State 194: Palestinian Politics Today
→ West Bank Settlements and the Two-State Solution: Not Too Late
→ How the Israel Conversation is Shut Down and Opened Up
→ Good Neighbors: Israel’s Role in a Transitioning Middle East
Whether you live in my city, Los Angeles, or anywhere else, J Street welcomes you to attend. See details on the conference here http://conference.jstreet.org/ and J Street’s website here www.jstreet.org.