Israeli Embassy: J Street could ‘impair Israel’s interests’


The Israeli Embassy is not a big fan of J Street, according to Hilary Leila Krieger at the Jerusalem Post:

The Israeli Embassy informed J Street of its concern that the new lobbying group advocates policies that could "impair Israel’s interests," an embassy spokesman has told The Jerusalem Post.

The 18-month-old self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" organization has been reaching out to the embassy and invited Ambassador Michael Oren to speak at its first annual conference in late October. Despite early indications the embassy was looking to engage the group, Oren has yet to meet with executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami or agree to participate in the conference.

Instead, the embassy has "communicated to J Street its views on the peace process and on the best way to ensure Israel’s security," according to embassy spokesman Yoni Peled.

The message, Peled said, is that "while recognizing the need for a free and open debate on these issues, it is important to stress concern over certain policies that could impair Israel’s interests."

J Street — which has backed a full settlement freeze and does not support additional sanctions on Iran at the present time, both positions at odds with the Israeli government — says it is still hoping that Oren will appear at the group’s conference, which is Oct. 25-27:

"It’s not a surprise that we disagree with certain Israeli government policies," J Street spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said. "Our bottom line is that we always support the State of Israel and its future as a democracy."

"That’s why J Street exists – to have this open debate" on differing points of view, she explained, adding that the organization still hopes Oren will attend the conference to further that discussion. 

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