Despite the government's decision to shun the pro-Israel convention organized by the leftist organization J-Street, the president has chosen to praise its organizers.
In a letter sent to J-Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami, Shimon Peres thanked him for the invitation and congratulated the initiative "to form a pro-Israel-Palestinian and pro-Israeli-Arab peace organization and the support you have garnered on behalf of this mission in the American political and Jewish communities arena."
Peres mentioned the wide support the organization receives among American decision makers, and apologized for his absence: "While I am aware of the importance of your first national conference, regrettably my commitments prevent me from attending."
Peres expressed hope that the convention would prove successful and fruitful.
The three day convention will feature key note speakers such as National Security Advisor James Jones and some 100 other speakers from the United States and the Middle East, among them congress members, former senator Chuck Heigel, former Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and former Minister Haim Ramon.
Israeli Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren decided last week to decline his invitation, claiming the organization supports policies that might "hurt Israeli interests".
The organization, which states it "supports Israel – supports peace", calls for the freezing of construction in settlements and supports a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis with Iran.
Some 1,000 activists, public figures and rabbis are expected to take part in the convention, which will also receive the endorsement of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, a Jewish organization which has some 50,000 activists in over 40 US branches.