J Street snags Gen. Jones for its national conference

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Is this a signal, or what?


Today J Street, the pro-peace process political action committee and lobby that major Jewish leaders love to hate, announced that National Security Adviser James Jones will keynote their first national conference, scheduled to begin here in Washington on October 25.


One reason so many leaders of established pro-Israel groups are apoplectic about J Street is that they fear the dovish group, which isn’t exactly in sync with the current government in Jerusalem, has good access to the Obama White House.


I’ve seen no evidence President Obama is actually listening to J Street; if he was, we’d be seeing much more active U.S. efforts to push both Israel and the Palestinians back to the peace table.


Still, Jones’ appearance is a pretty clear signal that J Street has a place at this administration’s table, and that this White House isn’t buying the line that the 18-month-old group is somehow bad for Israel and bad for U.S. interests.


No doubt today’s announcement will take some of the sting out of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s decision not to be part of the conference’s ceremonial host commitee. 

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.