J Street 2013 National Conference Day 2

September 30, 2013
Yachimovich to Netanyahu: “Move Ahead”

On day two of J Street’s national conference, Israeli opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich sent a simple message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Move ahead” to make peace with the Palestinians. The Labor party leader addressed Netanyahu directly on the eve of his meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday.

MK Shelley Yachimovich“It won’t be easy – but for the sake of Israel’s future, move ahead,” Yachimovich said. “We will support you, the people of Israel will support you and the world will support Israel.”

Stating that she felt inspired by the conference, Yachimovich also addressed her program of creating a more just society in Israel, where income inequality was among the highest of all developed economies. She said poverty and social gaps created ignorance and racism both among Israelis and Palestinians.

“Making peace is in our strategic interest, our economic interest and our moral interest,” she concluded.

Knesset Roundtable Shows Depth of Two-State Support

MK Tzachi HanegbiFive Knesset members from five parties and one inescapable conclusion – Israel needs a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinians and it needs it now.

Moderated by Israel Channel 2’s Udi Segal, MKs Tzachi Hanegbi of Likud, Meir Sheetrit of HaT’nuah, Ruth Calderon of Yesh Atid, Yitzhak Vaknin of Shas and Merav Michaeli of Labor held a unique round table discussion on day two of the J Street National Conference. Read  more ↗

Cohen Finds Partners for Peace on Both Sides

In a rousing afternoon plenary, columnist Roger Cohen interviewed new voices for peace in Israeli and Palestinian civil society. While some of the panelists expressed skepticism that their own leaders were serious in their intentions to reach a peace deal, they were unanimous in their belief that the two-state solution remains necessary and possible.

MK Stav ShaffirLabor MK Stav Shaffir, who helped to organize the 2011 protests for social justice, said that if hundreds of thousands of Israelis could assemble in the streets for that issue, then the younger generation could also help to push for peace. “We want this to end in an agreement, a real agreement, for the long term,” she said. “It’s the role of our generation to do that.”

Director of Policy and Communications for Molad Mikhael Manekin urged the audience to become more involved in the push for two states. “A precondition for hope,” he said, “is an understanding that you can lead the way, not just follow the other side. Read  more ↗

What to Look Forward to Today…

1:00 MK Zehava Gal-On
Senator Tim Kaine
Vice President Joe Biden

7:30 Gala Dinner with keynote speaker Envoy for Negotiations Martin Indyk

Live on YouTube

9:00 a.m. – The Changing Face of Politics in Israel
1:00 p.m. – Zehava Galon, Tim Kaine, Joe Biden
3:30 – America’s Limited Options in a Changing Middle East

Tweets from #JSt2013

@AaronVoldman up L8 in #Jerusalem #Israel watchin @jstreetdotorg conf. online. Energy in hall is electric, feel it in the HolyLand pic.twitter.com/eIihuWkQ4b

@ron_garber Likud MK @Tzachi_Hanegbi: @jstreetdotorg doesn’t need legitimacy from Likud. It gets legitimacy from its love for Israel #jst2013

Meet J Street…

Yael, Wesleyan University
“I’m here because I care about the two-state solution, and I do believe it’s our time to lead. What I found most inspiring was John Lewis’s speech because he was still so impassioned and so certain that change could happen. It just inspired me to believe that something is going to change soon.”

Ora, Massachusetts
“Overall, what’s really exciting is that given everything that’s going on right now with the potential for a new peace agreement J Street is in a place that feels especially relevant, and so because things are hopeful again it feels like a very hopeful conference.”