160 Members of Congress to Host J Street Gala

September 30, 2009

Senator Chuck Hagel to keynote, J Street co-founder Victor Kovner to be honored at capstone event of national conference

WASHINGTON – One hundred and sixty members of Congress will serve on the honorary host committee for J Street’s first annual Gala Dinner this October in Washington, DC.

The host committee’s roster represents 44 states and includes:

-eight members of Congressional leadership -roughly a third of the members of the Senate Foreign Affairs and House Foreign Relations Committees -29 appropriators -many members of the Black and Hispanic Caucuses -18 Jewish members

Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel will keynote the pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy lobby’s first Gala Dinner on Tuesday, October 27th at the Grand Hyatt in Washington.  Hagel, who represented Nebraska for two terms in the U.S. Senate, was a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and currently serves as Chairman of the Atlantic Council.  Prominent attorney Victor A. Kovner will also be honored when he is presented with the inaugural Tzedek v’Shalom (Justice and Peace) Award, in recognition of his founding role in J Street, as well as his commitment to public service and extensive civic involvement in New York and across the country.

“The depth and breadth of our host committee demonstrates the growing support in Congress and nationally for strong US leadership in pursuit of a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s Executive Director. “Such widespread, bipartisan support is critical to once and for all bringing true peace and security to Israel and its neighbors through a two-state solution and comprehensive regional peace. We are thrilled to honor Victor at our first Gala and so pleased that so many members of Congress will join us in doing so.”

The Gala dinner caps off J Street’s first national conference, “Driving Change, Securing Peace” (October 25- 28), which will bring together policy makers and academics, netroots and grassroots activists, and Israeli and Arab thinkers and leaders committed to peace and security for Israel and the Middle East.  Conference speakers include Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry (invited), former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, Union of Reform Judaism President Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon, and many other leaders from the United States and the Middle East.  There will also be a special track for college students.