Bibi’s speech, Iran, and Lieberman’s visit

June 19, 2009

Lots to share with you this week as news from Israel and Iran pours in:

  • First up, Bibi Netanyahu’s speech. The Prime Minister made (for him) a huge concession in announcing support for the eventual creation of a Palestinian state.  The speech otherwise left much to be desired: No response to the President’s call for a settlement freeze; no mention of the Arab Peace Initiative; a raft of conditions and caveats.
  • Earlier this week, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated the Israeli government’s opposition to a full settlement freeze in a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton.  In response, we’re ramping up our “Freeze Means Freeze” campaign – and we’re getting close to 20,000 messages.
  • Read Harold Meyerson’s Washington Post op-ed –  in which he gives prominent mention and credit to J Street in talking about shifting public opinion and political winds – here.
  • Read the transcript of George Mitchell’s press availability here – in which he gives a strong sense that the Administration could outline a new peace effort in the coming month.
  • Of course, we’re all closely watching the moving images, video, and yes, Twitter feeds from Iran. No matter the outcome of the election drama and leadership struggle, Iran’s nuclear program and its support for terror against Israel will likely continue – and will need to be addressed by strong American engagement. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian-American Council and I co-wrote an op-ed on “How Diplomacy with Iran Can Succeed” here.
  • I fielded some tough questions from Haaretz readers in a lengthy Question and Answer session. Check it out here.
  • Finally, you may also enjoy David Makovsky’s piece Monday in the Wall Street Journal – in which he presses for immediate talks on defining Israel’s borders as a way to solve the settlements issue.

If the past month’s flurry of activity in Israel and Iran is any indication, J Street’s efforts to provide political support for resolving the conflicts in the Middle East will grow increasingly relevant as the debate over the President’s approach heats up.