J Street Comes to Eugene

By Ellen Rifkin and Joshua Shulriff

J Street, the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement, is setting up shop in Eugene. Its official opening will be celebrated Thursday, February 4th at 7 p.m. at Temple Beth Israel, 1175 E. 29th Ave. (TBI is not an official sponsor of the event.)

The celebration will coincide with dozens of similar events in other cities, as local chapters across the country simultaneously launch J Street’s national field program. The kick-off events, including the one in Eugene, will feature televised simulcast remarks by J Street’s Executive Director, Jeremy Ben-Ami. The public is welcome.

J Street has already won recognition for its work advancing U.S. commitment to an Israeli and Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security. For example, the organization was named by The Nation magazine as the most valuable national advocacy group of 2009.

As other communities are doing as well, J Street Eugene will build on and incorporate the city’s Brit Tzedek ‘Shalom chapter, and also aims to draw new supporters from J Street’s substantial netroots base in the area.

J Street, billed in a feature story last fall by the New York Times Magazine as “The New Israel Lobby,” was founded in April 2008 to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. As a lobby, J Street has already proved its political muscle by successfully backing numerous congressional candidates who support the establishment of two states along the 1967 border, with certain territorial “swaps.” Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley was among the first candidates to benefit from J Street’s financial resources and the political vision of its staffers, who seek to demonstrate that large numbers of Americans believe a new American policy direction will advance U.S. interests in the Middle East and promote real peace and security for Israel and the region.

The J Street Eugene website is here.  Φ

Ellen Rifkin and Joshua Shulriff are on the Planning Committee for J Street Eugene.

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