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Israeli ambassador won’t attend J Street confab

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Israeli ambassador to the United States will not attend J Street’s inaugural conference.

The Israeli Embassy in Washington released a statement Tuesday saying it would send an observer to the conference and will "follow its proceedings with interest."

J Street had invited Ambassador Michael Oren to speak at the Oct. 25-28 event.

The statement added that the embassy has been "privately communicating its concerns over certain policies of the organization that may impair the interests of Israel."

The embassy has not specified which J Street policies it believes "may impair the interests of Israel," but the left-wing, pro-Israel organization backed President Obama’s call for a full freeze of settlements in the West Bank and has not supported additional economic sanctions on Iran at this time.

J Street spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said the organization had heard about the embassy’s decision from the statement to the media and "still looks forward to receiving a direct response from Ambassador Oren to our invitation to speak at the conference."

"We believe the Government of Israel will be missing an opportunity should it choose not to engage with the over 1,200 pro-Israel activists who will be in attendance at the J Street conference next week," she said.

Among the speakers scheduled to appear at the conference are National Security Adviser James Jones.

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