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Fresh voices. Capitol Hill (illustration)
Photo: AFP
New group offers alternative to AIPAC
Left-wing groups in US form J-Street as fresh political voice in American Jewish community, hoping to raise funds, awareness by coming November congressional elections

WASHINGTON - AIPAC (American Israeli Political Activity Committee) has some new competition: A new, organization, presenting itself as an alternative to AIPAC, will be operational in two weeks, the New York Magazine Jewish Week, reported recently.

 

"J-Street" intends to be a the political contra to AIPAC ; offering an left-wing agenda, as opposed to the right-wing one offered by what is undoubtedly the most veteran pro-Israeli organization in the US.

 

J-Street's agenda also includes endorsing congress hopefuls who will be willing to aggressively pursue the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

 

The budding group is aiming high and its founders are hoping to start raising funds and wheeling influence by the coming congressional elections, this coming November.

 

The majority of the American Jewish community shares moderate leftist views, stating that while Israel is very high on their priority list, they can still lobby for other issues as well. AIPAC supporters claim to have only Israel in mind.

 

J-Street is trying to show the reality of diverse political views among the Jewish community in the US as to the possible solution to the age-old conflict, claiming that for too long the Jewish voice in the US has been led by the radical right.

 

Heading the fundraiser will be Jeremy Ben-Ami, a former political advisor in the Clinton administration, and Daniel Levy, who was a parliamentary assistant to former Meretz-Yahad head MK Yossi Beilin.

Ben-Ami worked on several peace initiatives, including the Geneva Initiative. Levy heads a research center dedicated to pushing the peace process.

 

According to the report in Jewish Week, the J-Street board of directors includes leading figures such as former Deputy-Director of the Mossad and Director-General of the Foreign Minister David Kimche, Marcia Freedman, founder and former president of Brit Tzedek V'Shalom and Debra DeLee, CEO of Peace Now US.

 

"For too long, the loudest American voices in political and policy debates have been those on the far right — often Republican neoconservatives or extreme Christian Zionists,” said the invitation to the group's inaugural fundraiser.

 

"J-Street aims to change that. We are the first and only lobby and PAC (political action committee) dedicated to ensuring Israel’s security, changing the direction of American policy in the Middle East and opening up American political debate about Israel and the Middle East."

 

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