Congresswomen, Philanthropists Travel to Israel, West Bank to Advance Women’s Leadership in Resolving Conflict

February 24, 2012

WASHINGTON—This week, six Congresswomen joined 14 leading women philanthropists on a six-day mission (February 18-24) to Israel and the West Bank in order to enrich their understanding of the many factors that shape the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its prospects for resolution, and to hear firsthand about Israel and the region’s security concerns related to Iran. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) co-chaired the delegation, which also included Representatives Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Donna Edwards(D-MD), Eddie Bernice Johnson(D-TX), and Gwen Moore(D-WI). The mission was co-sponsored by the J Street Education Fund (JSEF) and the Women Donors Network (WDN). This is JSEF’s third mission to the region with Members of Congress, and its first all-women delegation. It is the second mission to the region for WDN. The aim of the mission was to enrich American political discourse by increasing the number of political and philanthropic women leaders empowered to advance bold US leadership in the region. The delegation met with top-ranking members of the Israeli government and Knesset members from several parties, Palestinian government officials, and civil society leaders on both sides to get an in-depth, on-the-ground look at the state of the conflict, and to explore the American role in helping to facilitate a regional, comprehensive peace. The delegates traveled widely in Israel and the Palestinian Territory, examining the situation on the ground through the eyes of policymakers, political activists and the people living there. In meetings with leading Israeli and Palestinian women in the governmental and non-governmental spheres, the delegation explored the possibility of building working alliances to advance the role of women in both countries in advocating for a two-state solution and security for Israel. The J Street Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to inform policymaking and public discussion about the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to raise the visibility of mainstream pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy voices within the American Jewish community, and to promote open, dynamic, and spirited conversation about how to best advance the interests and future of a Jewish, democratic Israel. The Women Donors Network is also a 501(c)(3), an organization where progressive women philanthropists multiply their energy, their strategic savvy and their philanthropic dollars to build a more just and fair world.