Program

A Voice for Today, a Vision for Tomorrow
April 14-17, 2018

Program

SATURDAY, APRIL 14

8:30pm | Opening Night

At a time when those in seats of power both here and in Israel share a worldview and a set of values that threaten so much of what we in the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement hold dear, we draw inspiration from Israeli, Palestinian and American leaders, activists and entrepreneurs whose pivotal work challenges the status quo, breaks down barriers, fosters optimism and demands change. Their commitment to creating new possibilities in the face of adversity and pessimism drives us to find our voice, proudly articulate our vision and fight for our values.  

SUNDAY, APRIL 15

8:30am | Breakout Sessions

To what Effect?: Countering BDS on Campus and in Communities

In recent years, the Jewish community and Israel have invested significant resources in countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS). There has been little effort expended to measure the effectiveness of their strategy or to assess the broader impact on campuses and communities. This session will explore these questions. We’ll also consider what is the best way for J Street, on campus and beyond, to integrate our work against BDS into a broader effort to constructively engage with the Jewish community and to promote a genuine dialogue about Israel.

Training: Bringing Resistance Techniques to J Street's Work

So you want to be an activist and to make a difference, but feel you lack organizing skills? This workshop is for you. This training will teach program and action-planning skills drawn from fundamental community organizing principles that have propelled justice movements for decades. You will learn how to ensure that every event, action and relationship advances the organization’s larger strategy.  These frameworks will help leaders be more strategic at every step of planning.

Activists Under Siege: The Challenges Facing Israeli Human Rights Leaders 

Meet the leaders of the Israeli human rights community. Their work is crucial to shaping our understanding of the occupation and to galvanizing public opinion around the need to end it. Yet they are subject to intense hostility from an Israeli government that labels them as disloyal and even as traitors, and makes their work as difficult as possible. Hear how they fight for change, undaunted in the face of a political era dominated by politics of fear, practices of separation and waning liberalism.

Setting Settlements in Stone: Formalizing Annexation

Over the past quarter-century, while peace initiatives have either languished or failed, we have seen an explosive growth in Israeli settlements in the West Bank on land designated for a future Palestinian state. With every land grab, the dream of a Jewish, democratic Israel living peacefully alongside a Palestinian state becomes more tenuous. To make matters worse, we are witnessing a paradigm shift: the Israeli government is supporting legislation to formally annex parts of the West Bank to Israel. Americans for Peace Now presents an update and analysis of the Israeli settlement enterprise. What is the current status of Knesset legislation on settlements? How do recent Israeli High Court rulings affect proposals for Israeli annexation of key parts of Jerusalem and the West Bank? What kinds of actions are settlers taking on the ground? What are the consequences of this project for the Palestinians?

Palestinian Citizens of Israel: A Key Piece of the Puzzle

When Americans debate the national futures of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, we often forget that almost one-fifth of Israel’s citizens are Palestinian. While Palestinian citizens of Israel would be deeply affected by any future peace settlement, they have not been given a real voice in the peace process. This session seeks to explore the unique political challenges Palestinian citizens of Israel face, and the ways in which they are uniquely positioned to play a role in future peace efforts.

Advocacy Day Training -- State Captains

All Advocacy Day State Captains and Team Leaders must attend this session one of the two times this training is offered. The same session will also be offered on Sunday, April 15 from 11:45-1:00 PM.

10am | Plenary

Polarized or Galvanized? Progressives in Israel and America Tackle the Rise of Illiberal Democracy

In the Trump era, ultranationalism and right-wing populism is on the rise in democracies around the world, from the US to Europe and Israel. The leaders of this movement target immigrants, minorities, civil society, diplomacy and the free media. Their foreign policies promote confrontation and conflict.

Few world leaders have cheered the rise of Donald Trump more than Benjamin Netanyahu -- and the two have at times shown a striking similarity in their language and tactics. What are the common aims and traits of this partnership? How can American and Israeli progressives effectively confront the challenge of illiberal democracy, and work together towards a future grounded in shared goals and values? A panel of elected officials, advocates and experts will discuss.

11:45am | Supplementary Sessions

Laying the Foundations: The Impact of Grassroots People-to-People Projects 

Despite uncertain political prospects for peace, dedicated Israeli and Palestinian peace activists continue to work together to engage civil societies in both communities in dialogue in order to lay the foundation for peace in the future. Join us to learn about their projects, theories of change and daily struggles.

Contested Past, Uncertain Future: A Conversation with Author Ian Black

Ian Black, former Middle East editor at The Guardian, and Ori Nir of Americans for Peace Now examine the formative clashes, pivotal moments and evolving views that have defined the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past century. They will discuss Black’s latest book, Enemies and Neighbours; Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017- an even-handed telling of the story of the Israel-Palestine conflict that examines the very different narratives of both sides.

Breaking the Taboo: Talking About the Occupation in High School

Trying to figure out how to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the occupation in your high school? J Street U leaders will be sharing their experiences with productively pushing boundaries on campus and in their communities, discussing how to open up the conversation about Israel in high schools and offering an inside look at J Street U's “Stop Demolitions, Build Peace” campaign.

Israel’s Regional Cooperation: New Opportunities, Old Obstacles

Presented in cooperation with Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies

For many decades, Israelis saw themselves as surrounded by enemies. In recent years, however, new opportunities for Israel to integrate into the region have presented themselves. States like Egypt and Saudi Arabia now perceive Iran as their main adversary and Israel as a potential strategic partner. Many Arab states are eager to develop economic relations with Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to believe that this new strategic reality makes solving Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians less pressing --or, perhaps, even entirely unnecessary. Is he correct? Or will the new opportunities Israel may have with the Arab world be stymied by lack of progress on the Palestinian issue? This panel will explore Israel’s regional opportunities and what it will take to turn them into reality.

Zionism in Tension with Other Values: The Challenge of Coalition-Building - For Clergy ONLY

Jews engaged in progressive causes today often find themselves conflicted about their relationship to Israel and their other political commitments. Supporters of Israel are often critical of progressive causes for explicitly or implicitly excluding Zionists from their coalition. What does it mean to maintain a commitment to Zionism while working in coalition with others? Is this possible?

Advocacy Day Training -- State Captains

All Advocacy Day State Captains and Team Leaders must attend this session one of the two times this training is offered. The same session will also be offered onis session is also offered on Sunday, April 15 from 8:30-9:45 AM.

1:15pm | Breakout Sessions

Standing Together: The Power of Progressive Partnerships

Progressive political advocates around the world are facing the challenge of a united conservative government undoing years of hard-won progress. In the face of threats to democracy and civil rights, a new groundswell of activism has risen to push back on Trump’s dangerous policy moves - rallying around refugees and immigrants, fighting for racial justice and advocating for diplomacy-first foreign policy. Hear veteran organizers and leaders discuss how to build sustainable movements in difficult political moments.  How can advocacy organizations contribute to the overall movement for change by building power and movement around a specific cause?

Who Will Speak Up? Understanding Anti-Semitism in Today's America

This year, we watched with horror as neo-Nazis marched through Charlottesville, chanting "Jews will not replace us." Making matters even worse, the President of the United States praised some of them as “fine people.” Meanwhile, hate crimes against Jews and Jewish institutions have spiked, and Jewish leaders and journalists have found themselves the target of classic anti-Semitic propaganda. Significant concern, particularly within the Jewish community, has also been raised about  language from the far left that crosses the line from criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism. Join two progressive leaders to learn how to understand and address today’s manifestations of Anti-Semitism.

The Path to Power: Strategies for Political Change in Israel

For much of the last 40 years, the right wing has dominated Israeli politics. How can this be changed? What will it take for progressives to regain power? How can the opposition tell a story that will capture the confidence of an electorate that seems increasingly hardline and intolerant? Will appealing to the center strengthen the peace camp? What public interests and needs should progressives aim to appeal to? This session will look at how progressive Israeli organizations and political actors are strategizing to win, as well as the the challenges and opportunities presented by these strategies.

Minding the Gap: The Broken Relationship Between Israel and the Diaspora 

A Text Study with the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America

The demise of the agreement on egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, the growing tension between Israeli government officials and American Jewish leaders, and deepening disagreement among American Jews about Israel's political present and future represent the new nadir of the relationship between American and Israeli Jews, whose closeness characterized much of the 20th century. How did we get here, and how can we build a more productive relationship moving forward?

America First or America Alone? The Erosion of Diplomacy Under the Trump Administration

The State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson saw a shocking reduction in the strength of the Foreign Service and resources available for US diplomacy. Major programs have been cut and scores of key vacancies are unfilled. Senior diplomats, including prominent ambassadors, have resigned rather than continue to serve under the Trump administration. Trump's recent selection of ultra-hawks Mike Pompeo and John Bolton to serve as his new Secretary of State and National Security Advisor signal further hostility to a diplomacy-first foreign policy. How severe is the damage? Does the United States under Trump still believe in diplomacy -- or have we entered a new era of policymaking through insult and threat?

What will be the long-term damage to America's standing in the world and to our alliances? How do diplomats continue to do their daily work, despite the mounting challenges? Our panel of experts will discuss the challenges of a scaled-down State Department and whether it can continue to successfully advance our national interests and needs.

2:45pm | Plenary

The American Jewish Relationship with Israel: Crisis Point or Opportunity?

In the past 70 years, the American Jewish relationship with Israel has evolved. Though many still believe American Jews should offer uncritical support for everything the Israeli government does, a growing number have rejected this approach. Many believe that only a relationship grounded in love but informed by deep concern and honest dialogue can preserve the relationship over time and retain the support of the next generation.

This panel will explore the evolving relationship from both the Israeli and American Jewish perspective, and will discuss what is at stake. Is this a crisis point in the relationship or an opportunity for growth? What is the role of our shared values in bringing us together? What does the future of the Israeli-American relationship look like?

4:30pm | Breakout Sessions

Iran and the Nuclear Agreement: Can Diplomacy Still Prevail?

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which removed the threat of Iran becoming a nuclear power for the next generation and beyond, was one of President Obama’s greatest diplomatic achievements. While it did not tackle other dangerous Iranian activity, such as its increasing role in Syria, arming of terrorist groups like Hezbollah and development of ballistic missiles, it did remove nuclear weapons from the equation.

Rather than building on the deal, President Trump has threatened repeatedly, from the campaign trail through to the present, to rip it up. he president has also selected two of the harshest opponents of the agreement as his new Secretary of State and National Security Advisor. With the nuclear pact hanging in the balance and the region sliding toward ever-greater volatility, non-proliferation and regional security experts will examine the challenges ahead for the JCPOA and US-Iranian dynamics - as well as the risk and implications of an open military conflict.

Codependence to Cooperation: The Challenges and Opportunities of Israeli-Palestinian Partnerships 

Palestinians and Israelis from the public and private spheres are investing in the construction of infrastructure for the future state of Palestine. These efforts have not slackened, even as a final status agreement may seem ever more distant. How can this cooperation pave the way for growth, security and political stability for both Israel and a future Palestine? What are the current challenges threatening this cooperation? Can Israeli-Palestinian partnerships withstand the growing lack of trust between the two societies?

American Jews in Progressive Coalitions: Finding Common Ground

From airport protests to the creation of sanctuary synagogues, Jewish Americans have responded in numbers to the challenge to our core communal values posed by the Trump administration. The Torah’s teaching to welcome the stranger amongst us because we were once strangers in a strange land runs through our community’s history of struggle for justice and equality. And recognizing that our own liberation is tied to others’ is no less pertinent today as neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, targeting Black Americans while chanting anti-Semitic slogans.

While Jewish activists have been welcomed into progressive coalitions, there have also been public moments of tension as movements address Israel and anti-Semitism.

In this session, Jewish activists engaged in intersectional coalitions discuss their experiences fighting for social justice. How can they build communities to work towards common goals? How do they form relationships that help them navigate these tensions when they arise?

New Israel Fund presents: The New Grassroots: How New Organizations, Movements and Initiatives are Bringing Power to the Israeli People

Faced with a government whose leader is mired in corruption scandals and which has exhibited alarming anti-democratic tendencies, progressive Israelis are seeking new ways to organize and to build broader coalitions. For many years, progressive organizations tended to each pursue a single issue. Now, the times demand a more encompassing approach to meet the challenge posed by the current government.

How are new Israeli grassroots movements and initiatives reshaping the way Israelis see and engage in creating social change? How is the progressive movement organized now and where is it headed? What will it mean for the issues we care most about?

Shaping the Palestinian Future: Voices of the Next Generation

J Street supporters are often confronted with the argument that “there is no Palestinian partner” for peace with Israel. This criticism often focuses on the aging policymakers who have been the face of the Palestinian nation for decades. It ignores an emerging new generation of energetic advocates. We don’t often see the young Palestinian peace activists, entrepreneurs and other optimists working to shape their national political future. Panelists will discuss the issues that most concern young Palestinians today. How are Palestinian organizations engaging the next generation through messages of nonviolence and hope for a two-state solution? How can their activism be amplified?

Who Are We: J Street U

Interested in learning more about J Street U as a national movement and our theory of change? In this session, student leaders will explain J Street U's goals and delve into the experiences that bring students to our issue. This training will give students insight into why our personal stories matter and how they can build power for our movement.

8pm | Film Screenings

Not attending the conference? You can purchase tickets to the screenings here.

Heather Booth: Changing the World: Film Screening and Talkback

Heather Booth: Changing the World is an urgent response to the recent election of Trump and all that has since ensued. At a time when many are wondering how to make their voices heard, when civil and women's rights are under attack, this empowering documentary is an inspiring look at how social change happens. Through Booth’s life and work, this inspiring film explores many of the most pivotal moments in progressive movements that altered our history over the last 50 years: from her involvement with Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project to her founding of the JANE Underground in 1964 and her collaborations with respected leaders such as Julian Bond and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Anyone who has been confused or disheartened by these challenging political times needs to see this film. Film will be followed by a Q&A conversation with Heather Booth.

Wrestling Jerusalem: Film Screening and Talkback

Co-sponsored by Mosaic Theater Company

Writer-Actor Aaron Davidman embodies seventeen different characters in and around the sacred city of Jerusalem as he takes us on an eye-opening journey into the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian story. Exploring universal questions of identity and human connection, this film dares the audience to leave the theater with their pre-existing ideas about its subject matter intact. The film will be followed by a lively discussion.

Moderator:

Ari Roth, Founding Artistic Director, Mosaic Theater Company

Talkback Panelists:

  • Aaron Davidman, Writer and Actor, Wrestling Jerusalem
  • Libby Lenkinski, Vice President for Public Engagement, New Israel Fund
  • Nisreen Shehada, Outreach Coordinator, Standing Together

MONDAY, APRIL 16

8:30am | Advocacy Day Training

Important training for everyone participating in Advocacy Day on Tuesday.

10am | Breakout Sessions

The Politics of Demolitions and Creeping Annexation: How Can We Push Back?

In the Fall of 2017, J Street U launched a campaign to tackle the issue of home demolitions and forced evacuation of Palestinian villages in Area C of the West Bank. This panel will delve into the politics of annexation and examine why stopping demolitions is key to protecting a two-state solution. Why  are these small Palestinian communities so crucial to the chances of a two-state solution? What challenges are the residents facing? What are the political and legal forces driving Israeli policy, and how can they be changed? How can Americans can contribute to the anti-demolition activism of Palestinians and Israelis and preserve possibilities for peace?

Tough Neighborhood: Israel's Security Challenges in a Tumultuous Middle East

In Cooperation with Commanders for Israel's Security

Israelis are used to living in an unstable part of the world but, in recent years, the turmoil and unpredictability of the region has only grown. As a result of the Syrian civil war, Iran and Russia have expanded their influence while the US has stepped back. As the Syrian conflict nears its endgame, new threats to Israel are emerging.

These developments cause some to argue that Israel cannot make progress toward a peace deal with the Palestinians right now. Commanders for Israel's Security (CIS), a group of more than 280 former Israeli senior security officials, disagrees. CIS representatives will share their analysis of Israel's national security interests and ways to advance them. What are the prospects of reaching a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What are the potential benefits of a regional security structure? What is the role of the international community in building security in the Middle East?

Behind the Trump Agenda: What Are the Forces Shaping the Administration’s Policies in the Middle East?

The Trump administration’s foreign policy during its first year in office has often been reckless and incoherent - especially when it comes to the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From refusing to back the two-state solution to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cutting funding to UNRWA, the president’s actions have frequently broken with longstanding US policy. The president has a reputation for ignoring expert analysis and just abruptly replaced reasonable security advisers with extremist uber-hawks, which begs the question: who are the people and what are the forces - political, communal and intellectual - that are actually shaping White House policy in the region, and what could that mean for the future American leadership and the US-Israel relationship?

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor: Meditations on Zionism and Reconciliation with Yossi Klein Halevi

Just before the second intifada, Israeli author Yossi Klein Halevi went on a year-long journey into Palestinian Islam and Christianity. That journey was chronicled in his 2001 book, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden. The purpose of that pilgrimage was to listen to Palestinians and learn about their lives, their narratives and their religious experiences. Now, nearly twenty years later, Halevi has written a kind of sequel: Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor offers his understanding of the Jewish identity and the Israeli story. Huda Abuarquob and Halevi will discuss his new book.

US Foreign Policy and the 2018 Election

Since taking office, President Trump has pursued a foreign policy agenda that sharply contrasts with that of his predecessors - of both parties. By engaging in bellicose rhetoric, removing the United States from important multilateral agreements and pacts, alienating friends and allies, while failing to confront Russia and selecting ultra-hawks like Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and John Bolton as National Security Advisor, the president is isolating our nation and depriving the world of crucial US leadership.

The 2018 midterm elections will likely be fought mostly on domestic issues, but will have an important foreign policy component as well. We are seeing a groundswell of candidates running for Congress with significant experience in national security, foreign service and the military. This session will explore how these candidates are shaping the foreign policy conversation on the campaign trail and how they may serve as a check on the president’s foreign policy agenda after the election.

11:30am | Supplementary Sessions

The Power of Reconciliation: The Geneva Initiative’s Reconciliation Project Ambassador Ballroom

Fifteen years ago, the Geneva Initiative introduced a first-of-its-kind model for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. It became an essential tool in formal negotiations and a reference point for the local and international peace-seeking communities. In the intervening years, Geneva Initiative NGOs conducted field work in Israel and the Palestinian territory. They identified a process of reconciliation as a “missing piece” of the work to resolve the conflict that is vital to paving the road to a sustainable peace.This session will present a new holistic approach to peacemaking that highlights the way we deal with our past, acknowledge the other’s narrative and prepare the ground for reconciliation. The panel will introduce new concepts and concrete steps that can contribute to current efforts to reignite the peace process.

“Stop Demolitions, Build Peace” on Campus Hampton Ballroom

This session is for student leaders and students interested in learning more about what the “Stop Demolitions, Build Peace campaign looks like on campus. We'll talk about what different chapters have done so far and what we're trying to accomplish in this campaign.

The Role of Israeli Americans in Jewish Progressive Politics

This panel and conversation will be in Hebrew

In this session, we will explore what can be done to strengthen Israeli-American participation in progressive Jewish politics in Washington and the Jewish American community. We’ll examine how we can better serve as bridge builders for a stronger progressive-American-Israeli alliance for peace and social justice. This panel will look at the shared struggle across borders of this community, and discuss best practices for organizing within this sector.

J Street @ 10: How J Street Has Helped Transform the Israel Conversation on Capitol Hill

Since its founding, J Street has worked to transform the conversation within Washington's corridors of power and within the American Jewish community regarding Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and US  policy in the Middle East. This session will explore the impact of J Street’s political and advocacy work during our first decade and how these efforts have provided lawmakers and candidates the space to advocate for a two-state solution and champion a diplomacy-first approach to foreign policy. The discussion will illustrate how the political and legislative environment have shifted since 2008 and what to expect in the next Congress and beyond.

Fight Like a Mensch: Engaging in Constructive Dialogue in Your Community

Israel advocacy can be a bruising endeavor. No issue on the Jewish communal agenda sparks such strong emotions on all points along the political spectrum, and no issue takes as much commitment and optimism in the face of despair. The fierce personal attacks, anger and disappointment that are part of pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy can lead to exhaustion and burnout. How can we channel our passion and anger about injustice in healthy, nurturing ways and not be distracted or derailed by  attacks? How can we build resilience and renew our enthusiasm for pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy when peace seems so far away? This session will explore Jewish spiritual resources for mobilizing inner-qualities that help us stay connected to our own deep wisdom and to each other, while staying committed to the good fight for years to come.

1pm | Plenary

The Dangers of US Foreign Policy Under Trump: A Conversation with Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice

Lawmakers Keynotes:

  • The Honorable Ben Cardin, Senator from Maryland
  • The Honorable Brian Schatz, Senator from Hawaii
  • The Honorable Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont

Remarks: Ambassador Dr. Husam Zomlot, Chief Representative of the Palestinian Delegation to the United States

3:30pm | Breakout Sessions

Palestinian Path to Peace? The Future of Palestinian Leadership

This year opened with the PLO Central Council recommending that the organization suspend recognition of Israel until the Israeli government recognizes the state of Palestine. This came in response to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, which placed President Abbas in a very difficult position. The Palestinians have declared that they will no longer cooperate with US-led peace efforts and boycotted Vice President Pence’s during a visit to the region and the White House’s recent conference on Gaza. Yet, in a speech to the UN Security Council, Abbas also reiterated his commitment to the two-state solution. This panel will gather Palestinian experts to examine possible strategies available for Palestinian leadership to advance Palestinian interests.

Training: Opening Up the Israel Conversation in Your Synagogue

This session will explore recent case studies of synagogue engagement within our communities as a means of teasing out best practices for opening up the Israel conversation in congregations and Jewish communities. No two synagogues are the same, so this session will provide participants the chance to determine which approach is best suited for their community. Clergy, synagogue leaders and program facilitators will discuss a range of efforts to engage congregants in pro-Israel advocacy.

Hospitality or Hostility: How Israel Approaches African Asylum Seekers

Israel is home to nearly 40,000 Eritrean and Sudanese people who fled violence and genocide in some of the world's most oppressive regimes. Many live in deplorable conditions in rundown neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu is determined to deport most or all of them back to Africa and has arranged to pay Rwanda to take them. Those who refuse to leave face jail in Israel. But he is facing a surge of popular opposition from Israelis who recoil at treating refugees in this way. As a nation founded by refugees, what is Israel's moral mandate to provide safety? Hear from some of the leading voices of that opposition as they discuss Israel's legal obligations, the policy options that are available, and actions that we can all take to stand up for African asylum seekers in Israel.

The Debate Over Free Speech, Hate Speech and "No Platforming" on College Campuses

College campuses are at the center of a contentious national debate surrounding free speech. Of particular concern is the issue of “no platforming,” where public figures are denied speaking opportunities because of their political views.  While the First Amendment and freedom of expression have long been cornerstones of American public life and the progressive agenda, there have been numerous attempts by progressives on campus over the past few years to block certain speakers on the basis that they incite violence and their views hurt the most marginalized among us. Join our panel about how this growing trend is impacting the our movement. How should we, as activists, engage with no platforming calls? How do we balance our commitment to free expression with our concern about the rise of hateful and extreme rhetoric?

Jerusalem: Present Home and Future Capital of Two Peoples

Jerusalem is, in many ways, at the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The city has been central to Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious identities, as well as to the Israeli and Palestinian national identities. Five months ago, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying he’s “taken the issue off the table.” The announcement did little to resolve the daily challenges faced by the city’s 870,000 Israeli and Palestinian residents. At the same time, the Knesset continues to weigh legislation to redraw the city’s boundaries that would incorporate more Jewish neighborhoods into the municipality, while cutting out several large, predominantly Arab neighborhoods. Panelists will analyze the complex past, present and future of this divided city.

The Choices Ahead: A Look at the Issues That Dominate the Israeli Public Debate

Despite the seemingly nonstop scandals and controversies rocking Israeli politics, this current governing coalition may be the rare exception to serve through its entire term.  One way or another, Israel is headed to elections before the end of 2019, and this panel will examine the forces likely to shape the coming campaign. How much of a role will public anger over a culture of corruption play in the election? Will there be any focus on the conflict with the Palestinians, on the increasing power of the religious sector over civil life or on challenges to the health of Israeli democracy? What effect will new parties or new party leaders in the Zionist Union and Meretz have?  What do average Israelis care about, and how will the various parties identify and appeal to the limited number of swing voters in the electorate? Israeli, public affairs specialists and advocates discuss the exciting political possibilities.

Afternoon events

Reform Movement Meet-up | 4:30-6:30pm @ the Religion Action Center 

Join the Reform movement for a reception for lay, professional, rabbinic and cantorial leaders at the Religious Action Center. Shmooze with other Reform movement Israel activists, hear from movement leaders and enjoy some snacks and drinks! Register here. 

7:30pm | National Gala Dinner

Keynote Address:

The Honorable Dick Durbin, Senator from Illinois

Keynote Conversation:

The Honorable George Mitchell, Former US Senate Majority Leader

Susan Glasser, Chief International Affairs Columnist, POLITICO

TUESDAY, APRIL 17

Join us for our Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

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