Third annual J Street conference will have an unusual participant when it kicks off Saturday night: a high-level representative from the Israeli embassy.
After only sending a low-level officer who merely attended the first conference as an observer and then totally boycotting last year’s event, the participation of the number two at the embassy, DCM Barukh Binah, is quite a change.
The Israeli Embassy put out a brief statement Tuesday afternoon simply stating that Binah would be participating and making remarks (he is offering words of welcome at Monday night’s gala). But an Israeli official pointed to a “positive trend” with J Street’s orientation in the last year when asked by the JPost about the shift.
Whereas last year the organization told President Obama not to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, a resolution viewed by Israel as not only hostile but irredeemably one-sided, this year has seen J Street criticize Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel and support efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program.