Press Registration for J Street’s 2017 National Conference Opens
CONTACT: JESSICA ROSENBLUM, [email protected]
WASHINGTON—Over 3000 delegates are expected to attend this year’s J Street 2017 National Conference in Washington, DC, from February 25-28, making it the largest gathering of American Jews since President Trump took office.
With many members of the US Congress and the Israeli Knesset from five political parties attending, the conference will sound a powerful note of support for a viable peace between Israel and the Palestinians and a pledge to resist efforts both here and in Israel to weaken prospects for a two-state solution.
This will be the sixth and largest conference organized by J Street since it was established in 2008. There will be a heavy representation of the next generation of American Jewish leaders, including around 1200 students.
Press coverage is welcome. Journalists can register online. Opening night of the conference on Saturday, February 25, will be held at DAR Constitution Hall (1776 D St., NW). The rest of the conference proceedings, through the gala dinner Monday evening, February 27, will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mt Vernon Pl., NW).
Since taking office, President Trump and his senior national security team have sent conflicting signals about their stance on the two-state solution, which has been a pillar of bipartisan US foreign policy for decades. Unlike its predecessor, the new administration has been silent about recent announcements by the Israeli government of plans to greatly expand settlements. The president made his support for moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem a hallmark of his rhetoric during the transition period, but has since backed away from taking any concrete steps in the near term. His nomination of David Friedman, a supporter of the far-right Israeli settlement movement, to serve as ambassador to Israel has ignited strong opposition among American Jews, who overwhelmingly support a two-state solution, according to recent polls.
J Street was founded in 2008 to give a political voice to pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans and to defend their values. That role has never been more important than now. This will be the first J Street conference to convene without President Obama in the White House, marking a transition for the organization into a fighting and principled opposition standing up for Jewish and democratic values.
Since the 2016 election, the organization has broadened the scope of its activities and is vigorously participating in coalitions to oppose Trump’s ban on refugees entering the country and punitive measures against immigrants.
Leading the roster of congressional speakers are Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Tim Kaine (D-VA). A powerful array of former senior national security officials and experts will be headlined by former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. They will be joined by Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat and former US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk.
Breakout sessions will explore a range of topics, including the state of the American Jewish community and the US-Israel relationship, opportunities to work with allies across religious and racial lines, and ways to defend the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement against efforts to sabotage it, as well as efforts on the ground to nurture and advance Israeli-Palestinian peace and reconciliation.
On the final day–the same day as President Trump plans to make his first address to a joint session of Congress–hundreds of delegates will fan out across Capitol Hill to lobby their representatives in the US Senate and House of Representatives. They will urge their elected leaders to stand up for democratic values, protect the Iran nuclear agreement and continue to defend a two-state solution.