Website policy

We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.


BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine

JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



US Jewish lobby challenged by ‘pro-peace’ rival

jsteetThe most powerful Jewish lobby in America is facing an unprecedented threat from a rival pro-peace pressure group that is vying for the ear of President Barack Obama.

For the past 25 years, the influential and hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) has helped thwart every US presidential effort to deliver Middle East peace on terms it was unhappy with. The lobby’s legendary stranglehold over US foreign policy is now receding with the rise of J Street, which describes itself as the “political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement”.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s executive director, said: “We want to give a voice to the majority of the American Jewish community that is liberal and open and isn’t supportive of settlements, opposed the Iraq war and isn’t keen on a war with Iran.”

Related Articles

J Street recently released a YouTube video, complete with threatening sound effects, which condemned the “incendiary and racist” campaigning tactics of Israel’s new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman. Even activists were stunned by the boldness of the attack.

It argues that despite the liberal sympathies of most Jewish Americans, a narrow group of Right-wingers have skewed the debate over Israel in the US. While American Jews will reflexively support Israel if they feel the security of the state is threatened by an enemy like Iran, a majority is also in favour of a “two-state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians and favours diplomacy over military force. More than 78 per cent of American Jews supported Mr Obama in November’s US election.

In the past, however, many senators, congressmen and presidential candidates who favour an end to settlements and certain blueprints for a negotiated two-state solution have been afraid to incur the wrath of Aipac.

J Street’s rise to prominence comes as the Obma administration is preparing to lock horns with Israel’s new hardline government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, who is due to meet the US president in Washington next month.

The meeting may also prove to be the first time in decades that a US president engages in a serious discussion with an Israeli prime minister about the damage that the settlement activity – including land confiscation, bypass roads and housing demolitions – does to the peacemaking process.

Thanks to J Street’s video, the mood in the US towards Mr Lieberman is now so hostile that he may not even come to Washington.

J Street, which marked its first anniversary last week, was founded with the specific aim of ending Aipac’s influence over US foreign policy. J Street alleges that Aipac has needlessly prolonged the Middle East conflict and its activities are not in the best interests of either Israel or America. Aipac which rarely seeks publicity, declined to discuss J Street or its aims with the Sunday Telegraph.

Initially staffed by just three three people and run on a shoestring budget, J Street’s name is a reference to their Jewish roots and to Washington’s nearby K Street, the epicentre of America’s vast political lobbying industry and home of Aipac.

It started out modestly hoping to raise about $50,000 from pro-peace American Jews, which they intended to channel to a handful of congressional candidates who were willing to directly challenge Israel’s policies and withstand pressure from Aipac. Instead, they managed to raise about $600,000, securing victory for dozens of Democrats and a few Republicans in the 2008 elections. J Street claims that 33 of the 41 candidates it backed won their seats.

Alone among Jewish groups, J Street sharply criticised Israel’s recent military offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

“While there is nothing ‘right’ in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing ’right’ in punishing a million and a half already-suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them,” the organisation told its members.

In twelve months J Street has mushroomed, becoming Washington’s leading pro-Israel political action committee. Its success has surprised founding members like Joel Rubin, who expected Aipac to act more aggressively to try to snuff out the new organisation, perhaps by leaning on its major donors. “They missed an opportunity and it is too late now,” he said.

Using sophisticated online organising techniques, fundraising and YouTube attack videos – as Mr Obama did in his run for the White House – the peace lobby has managed to outmanoeuvre the better funded Aipac.

It attracted more than 100 co-sponsors in Congress for a resolution welcoming Mr Obama’s appointment of the former Northern Ireland peace negotiator George Mitchell as his Middle East envoy. Aipac has remained conspicuously silent about Mr Mitchell’s appointment.

“The notion that 100 members of Congress are willing to sign on is a real accomplishment,” said Mr Ben-Ami. “We’re not changing the world, but it’s a signal that things are shifting.”

J Street’s budget is expected to double to $3 million in its second year, and like the Obama election campaign it is now focused on recruiting on US college campuses.

Few expect J Street to rival Aipac’s $80 million purse and vast influence among US politicians and policymakers soon, however.

Jon Alterman, who runs the Middle East programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said: “Aipac has found a way over a half-century to tremendously energise people about their mission.

“Can J Street build a donor base who believe that it is something that is vital in the way that Aipac does? I don’t know if that’s possible.”

Not all American liberal Jewish leaders are enthusiastic about J Street. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, condemned its position on the Gaza invasion as “morally deficient”, “appallingly naive” and “out of touch” with mainstream Jewish opinion.

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.