On February 7, Jeremy Ben-Ami sent the following letter to J Street supporters.
Today, we can safely say that the Menendez-Kirk Iran sanctions legislation will not be brought to a vote in the Senate at this time.
Late yesterday, both a lead sponsor of the bill and AIPAC, one of its strongest advocates, publicly agreed with our position that now is not the time to move additional sanctions legislation forward.
For now, the push for new sanctions is over, and the diplomats have a chance to resolve the conflict over Iran’s nuclear program through negotiations.
This is, narrowly speaking, a victory for the White House and for the coalition of groups, of which we were but one part. We worked together to promote a rational approach – centered on diplomacy and sanctions – for dealing with the important and volatile challenge posed by Iran’s nuclear program.
More importantly, this moment is a watershed in the politics that shape American policy-making in the Middle East. Elected officials and policy makers were able to stand up for diplomacy and know that there was a loud and credible constituency – including J Street – ready to back them.
The challenge ahead for the diplomats looking to resolve the nuclear issue is not easy. They begin meeting in 11 days in Vienna to try to hammer out a permanent deal with Iran by the summer.
And, of course, on J Street’s core issue – resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – this is crunch time as well: Secretary of State John Kerry will need a strong base of support in the months ahead for his efforts to achieve a two-state solution.
That’s what J Street’s 2 Campaign is all about.
As with Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian talks have powerful forces arrayed against them. But as with Iran, you can make a difference. That’s why we’re grateful for all you’ve done, and counting on your continued support.
– Jeremy Ben-Ami
P.S.- We have some great photos up from the first round of Town Halls, and RSVP links for the upcoming ones (including a Virtual Town Hall!) on 2campaign.org. I hope you’ll take a minute and take a look.