Meeting season for Jewish groups starts

Friday, April 17th, 2009

The cherry blossoms have come and gone, which means it must be spring meeting season for Jewish groups.

Next week it’s the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which has a star-studded program for its annual “Consultation on Conscience.” As usual, the focus will be on domestic and social social justice issues, with a strong focus this year on the impact of the global economic downturn and its economic implications.

The schedule includes Josh DuBois, the new director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and Lawrence Summers , director of the White House’s National Economic Council.

There will be some traditional RAC favorites, of course, including Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, and some newcomers like Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark and a rising Democratic star.

And from the White House will be Obama political guru David Axelrod.

Lest you think it’s all Democrats appearing at the liberal group gathering, Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele will jump into the lion’s den at a Tuesday congressional reception.

Also next week: leaders of the Anti-Defamation League, here for their national leadership conference. In addition to Israeli officials and journalists, participants will hear from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Hot topics for the ADLers: civil liberties, anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and government faith based initiatives.

Coming in early may: the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; the buzz is over whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the group. AIPAC hasn’t said a peep about it and the Israeli press is reporting that he won’t. Also expected: the usual swarms of House and Senate members who aren’t much interested in the views of Walt and Mearsheimer.

On May 5 the American Jewish Committee hits town with its usual international cast of characters; keynoters include the president of Mexico and the foreign minister of Italy.

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.