Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, which describes itself as the pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby, will speak at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill at 7:30 Monday evening. The public is welcome.
Ben-Ami says the United States plays an important role as outside mediator in peace talks, and he’s urging President Barack Obama to move both parties directly to final status issues, with or without a moratorium on settlement building.
Ben-Ami says the general parameters necessary to a final agreement are well known, with Israel having to give up some settlements and Palestinians having to give up the right to land and property they left sixty years ago in return for compensation by Israel.
Most likely, says Ben-Ami, Israel will swap 3- to 4% of land they’ve annexed for land to be given to the Palestinians, which would keep 70- to 75% of settlers within the state of Israel. The other 75- to 100,000 settlers would have to relocate, which he says will be very difficult.
Ben-Ami says J Street is a new voice representing the majority of American Jews and friends of Israel with moderate views, in contrast to the hawkish groups that have dominated dialogue in the past.
J Street believes the choice for Israel is between a two-state solution or a decline in Jewish character, democratic values, and international standing. It claims 160,000 supporters in 35 U.S. cities.
Lynn Cullen will moderate a discussion and direct questions after Mr. Ben-Ami’s talk.