WASHINGTON — Several prominent American Jews have formed a new pro-Israel lobby as an alternative to traditional organizations that, they assert, often impede progress in the Middle East because of their generally reflexive support of Israel.
Officials of the new group, called J Street, say they believe the best way to bring security and peace to Israel is to help political candidates who support that country but will occasionally question some of its policies like maintaining or expanding settlements in disputed territories.
The executive director of the new venture, Jeremy Ben-Ami, said in an interview that “a large number of American Jews and their friends have dropped out of the discussion about how to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors because they don’t have a home politically.” He argued that there was a need for an alternative to the traditional groups who say, “to oppose any Israeli policy is to be anti-Israel.”
He said they would choose candidates in June who are willing, for example, to express forcefully their support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine issue and for aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Yes, thank you, thank you. Good God, we’ve been needing this forever. Now, at long last, we can sit down and have a real discussion, like adults, about Israel. Plus, we can now get away from stereotypes that say that Jews are all of one political stripe. I never thought I’d say this, but this sounds like one awesome lobby.