WASHINGTON (JTA) — Alan Elsner, a veteran journalist whose last job was helping to helm The Israel Project, joined J Street as its top spokesman.
Elsner was executive director of The Israel Project until September, when Josh Block, the former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was named TIP president.
Elsner, a longtime Reuters journalist and a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, is J Street’s latest hire from a centrist pro-Israel group, and probably the highest profile.
The statement announcing Elsner’s hire on Monday said there was no contradiction between his strong pro-Israel credentials and the group, which advocates a more assertive U.S. role in bringing about Israeli-Arab peace and an Israeli retreat from settlement building.
"J Street is committed to a two-state solution and wants to encourage a discussion in the American Jewish community about the settlements and the occupation and what is crucial to preserve Israel’s democracy,” Elsner said in the statement. “There should be room in the discussion for those who want to pursue a real peace process and who value dialogue above settlements.”
Since its founding in 2008, J Street has come under fire from the Israeli government and from some pro-Israel figures in Washington — not least among them Block — for some of its postures critical of Israel.