This evening in Washington DC, many Jewish leaders and their followers will gather for the two day NJDC Conference.
The NJDC is a liaison between the organized Jewish community and the Democratic political party… sort of like the appointed voice for Jewish Democrats.
Among the panelists are Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fl); Representative Robert Wexler (Fl), who is about to step down from Congress to work in Mideast peace; Marla Gilson of Hadassah; Rabbi Steve Gutow; Rabbi Craig Miller of the NJDC’s Rabbi’s for Health Insurance Reform; Dan Shapiro of the National Security Council; and more.
And among the keynote speakers are Shiraz-born
Valerie Jarrett, Esq., one of only three Senior Advisors and a close confidante to U.S. President Obama; DNC Chairman Governor Tim Kaine (Va); House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md); newly elected Senator Al Franken (Mn); CNN pundit and political strategist Paul Begala; and the NJ-born, Ambassador of Israel to the United States, His Excellency Michael B. Oren
Ambassador Michael Oren? He’ll be there at the NJDC event, but whether he will be at the J Street Conference is another story. The Embassy has already declined the invite from the organizers of J Street’s national conference, which will occur next week in DC. It is said to have already registered 1,200 participants. Is the Israeli ambassador picking one Jewish group over another and playing favorites? One can’t blame him, of course, even though he said he would reach out to overlooked organizations, even progressives ones. This is diplomacy, baby, and his appearance at a J Street conference can give it legitimacy and cause a firestorm of outrage, given that J Street is accused of not being in step with the political desires of the current Israeli Prime Minister.
Peace making is tricky business. The Ambassador isn’t the only one who is avoiding the taint of the 18 month old J Street. Over ten members of the U.S. Congress asked to have their names removed from the list of the conference’s host committee.
What’s a pro-Israel Jew to do? I think there is only one way to find out the truth behind J Street. I will go to the conference myself (1200 strong? I hope there is a empty couch still available in DC) and report back to you on what I find.