Pro-Israel doves launching D.C. outfit


Pro-Israel doves are launching an initiative aimed at countering the influence of established Jewish organizations on Capitol Hill.

In a conference call Tuesday, organizers say they are launching “J Street,” a lobbying outfit and political action committee backed by some of the biggest names in the dovish pro-Israel community.

The new group’s executive director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, says the goal is to take on the pro-Israel giants, particularly the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, where they are the most powerful: in Congress.

Ben-Ami says the new lobby will work the halls on Capitol Hill, where he asserts the majority of lawmakers are sympathetic to the pro-Israel, pro-peace position and doing more to support Palestinian moderates, but are afraid of the political consequences of speaking out.

The group is ready to go with a projected annual budget of $1.5 million, about half of which is on hand, and a staff of four. That’s a fraction of the nearly $50 million AIPAC spends – and that doesn’t even include the totals from AIPAC’s recent legacy fund-raising program.

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