New lobby launches tougher love for Israel campaign
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New lobby launches tougher love for Israel campaign

BERLIN (JTA) — The new European Jewish lobby JCall launched a campaign calling for tougher love for Israel.

The European Jewish Congress sharply criticized the campaign, called "European Call for Reason," saying it represents a minority view.

In releasing a petition with nearly 4,000 signatures, JCall founders urged Zionists around the world to press for a two-state solution. The organization repeated its call at a news conference Monday at the European Parliament, pushing for critical support for Israel along the lines of the U.S.-based J Street "pro-peace, pro-Israel" lobby.

Several prominent Israelis lent their support during the news conference, including historian and peace activist Ze’ev Sternhell; Avi Primor, former Israeli ambassador to Germany; and Elie Barnavi, former Israeli ambassador to France.

Moshe Kantor, head of the European Jewish Congress, said in a statement issued Monday that it was "clear that this petition represent[s] a small minority opinion of European Jewry, while the great majority, as represented by the democratically-elected body representing European Jewry, the EJC, strongly believes that now is the time to place pressure on the Palestinian side to negotiate directly with Israel in a meaningful way, and to combat the existential threats in the Middle East."

JCall supporters told JTA that they thought many more interested Jews would make themselves known.

"We voice what many think and feel privately," Rabbi Tuvia Ben-Chorin of Berlin told JTA.

Following the news conference, JCall offered workshops in which its supporters discussed concrete plans for future activities in Europe, according to founding member Michele Szwarcburt of Brussels.