“Yes, we can love Israel and at the same time fight for peace,” Israeli Justice Minister and chief peace negotiator Tzipi Livni declared to thousands of J Street supporters on opening night. “Those who love Israel must search for peace.”
In her keynote address, Livni said the only way to secure Israel as a Jewish and democratic state was to adopt the idea of two states for two peoples. But any peace treaty had to provide Israelis with security because “nobody should choose between peace and security.” At the same time, she said Israel was ready to take “calculated risks” in the framework of a treaty with the Palestinians. Supporting a two-state solution was not being pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel, Livni said. “It’s being pro-Israel. We need your help with this.”
Dror Moreh, director of the prizewinning documentary “The Gatekeepers,” said he was more comfortable behind a camera than on a podium – but had come to the conference because it was so important to fight hopelessness and cynicism within Israeli society.
“We all know what a permanent agreement between Israelis and Palestinians should look like, on all its details and nuances. The question is how much time and how many victims will it take to finally get there?” Moreh said.
Civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis closed the evening with a resounding call for peace and reconciliation. “I feel more than lucky, I feel blessed to be here,” he said.
“As leaders of J Street, you must lead and never give up or give in.”