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J Street’s leader will debate two-state-solution with Munayyer and Lustick on Capitol Hill

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Great news. Jeremy Ben-Ami of the Zionist organization J Street is putting his ideas on the line, and debating Yousef Munayyer, Ian Lustick, and Ahmad Samih Khalidi on the two-state solution in two weeks at the Capitol, at the behest of the Middle East Policy Council.

We have often urged Ben-Ami not to just share a stage with Jeffrey Goldberg and Bill Kristol– rightwing Zionists who have nothing to tell Americans about the Palestinian experience, except that it isn’t all that bad — but to risk his ideas in a forum with Palestinians and American realists. Well, it’s happening October 9.

Lustick is author of that seminal piece in the New York Times 2 weeks back, saying that the outmoded two-state paradigm is piling fuel against an inevitable conflagration, and Munayyer is author of a fine piece in the New Yorker last week, Thinking outside the two-state box, explaining to readers that the creation of Israel dispossessed Palestinians and thereby sowed the seeds of the delegitimization of the “Zionist project.”

As for Ben-Ami, he is having a two-state hoe-down this weekend in Washington with Tzipi Livni and Joe Biden. I always called J Street liberal Zionist, but the Forward says the organization is now becoming  part of the lobby establishment. It’s applied for membership in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which is incapable of criticism of Israeli policy.

I see the discussion on October 9th is being live-streamed. From the Middle East Policy Council: Two States or One? The Future of Israelis and Palestinians

The Middle East Policy Council invites you and your colleagues to our 74th Capitol Hill Conference. Live streaming of this event will begin at approximately 9:30am EST on Wednesday, October 9th and conclude at noon. A questions and answers session will be held at the end of the proceedings. Refreshments will be served.

October 9, 2013. 9:30am – 12:00pm EDT
Rayburn House Office Building, Room B339
RSVP Acceptances only: (202) 296-6767 or [email protected]

Ian Lustick
Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

Yousef Munayyer
Executive Director, The Jerusalem Fund & The Palestine Center

Jeremy Ben-Ami
President, J Street

Ahmad Samih Khalidi
Senior Associate Member, St. Anthony’s College at the University of Oxford; Former Adviser to the PLO Delegation (’91-’93)

Omar M. Kader
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Middle East Policy Council

Thomas R. Mattair
Executive Director, Middle East Policy Council

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6 Responses

  1. ritzl
    September 27, 2013, 1:31 pm

    Positive. I would be interesting to have Yehouda Shenhav ( fold in the Israeli one-state (softened version) PoV as well.

  2. ritzl
    September 27, 2013, 3:12 pm

    The MEPC seems to be (not knowing before this article) an Arab-centric (re: oil/alienation economics?) group. This goes to hophmi’s assertion a while back that Arabs/Palestinians don’t invite Jewish/Israeli-centric speakers to debates on the I/P issue.

    While I think Ben-Ami’s input into this debate will be marginalized and therefore his experience will be less than positive (to the point of maybe never doing it again), it does show inclusiveness, and, to his credit, Ben-Ami’s courage in representing at least the “liberal” Israeli perspective.

    Some big names on MEPC’s leadership

    Board of Directors

    Dr. Omar Kader (Acting President of the Council)

    The Hon. William A. Rugh, Former President, AMIDEAST; Former Ambassador, U.A.E.

    • Mrs. Karen AbuZayd, Member, Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria; Former Under Secretary-General, United Nations.
    • Mr. Curtis Brand, Chairman (ret.), ExxonMobil, Saudi Arabia, Inc.
    • The Hon. Frances Cook, The Ballard Group, LLC.; Former Ambassador, Oman & Consul General, Alexandria, Egypt.
    • The Hon. Ford Fraker, Former Ambassador, Saudi Arabia; Senior Adviser, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
    • The Hon. Mark Hambley, International Managing Director, Apollo Security; Former Ambassador, Lebanon.
    • Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, USMC (ret.), Former Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command.
    • Mr. Brian Katulis, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress.
    • Dr. Martha Neff Kessler, Consultant, CIA (ret.).
    • Col. Michael V. Kostiw (USAR, ret.), Vice President, Asia-Africa Projects Group, LLC.
    •• Col. W. Patrick Lang, USA (ret.), Former Defense Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia.
    • Dr. Phebe Marr, Author, Mideast consultant; Former Senior Fellow, National Defense University.
    • Dr. Philip Mattar, President, Rittenhouse Investments.
    • Mr. Paul Oliver, Vice President of Middle East and Africa, Boeing.
    •• Dr. Fuad A. Rihani, Consultant, Research and Development, Saudi Binladin Group.
    • The Hon. Patrick Theros, President, US-Qatari Business Council; Former Ambassador, Qatar.

    Ex Officio
    • Ms. Anne Joyce (Secretary of the Corporation)
    • Dr. Thomas Mattair (Executive Director of the Corporation)

    President Emeritus
    •• The Hon. Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Chairman, Projects International; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense; Former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Former President, MEPC.

  3. kayq
    September 28, 2013, 1:00 am

    You’re absolutely right, Phil. I, too, think that J Street are becoming part of the lobby establishment.

    J Street had always declared themselves “Pro Israel, and Pro-Peace” which if you ask me, is an irony within itself. Ben-Ami has nothing on Lustick and Munayyery . The two-state solution has been dead for a long time, and the likes of J Street are trying to keep Israel alive more than they actually care about Palestinian rights.

    • W.Jones
      September 28, 2013, 12:54 pm

      One possibility you must consider is that it always was part of it, eg. set up as a front group with merely a “softer” and more critical expression of the same position. That is not to say that rank and file J Street people are all necessarily on board with the lobby.

    • jd65
      September 28, 2013, 2:14 pm

      hey kayq. i’d say phil is partially right: imo J Street isn’t “becoming” part of the lobby establishment. they always have been part of it. J Street is a trojan horse. here’s a small vid i made on them:

      there’s a longer vid on my channel that deals w/ J Street a bit more in relation to the film Gatekeepers…

      • kayq
        September 29, 2013, 1:08 am

        thanks jd, I will watch it when I can.

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