J Street Conference 2013: Our Time to Lead

at Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Washington, DC
More Info / Registration

Jay will present From Afar: The Role of the American Jewish Community in Israeli Decision-Making

As long as pro-Israel groups have existed, there has been debate over the most appropriate role of American Jews in securing Israel’s future. Some groups, J Street among them, argue that American Jews should advocate for policy goals that are in the best interest of Israel and the US—even if those positions are not supported by the Israeli administration. Many establishment pro-Israel groups argue that the American Jewish role is to advocate on behalf of the elected government of Israel.

Therefore, these groups refrain from criticizing Israeli policy as a matter of general principle, although they have, in the past, publicly clashed with the Israeli government over policy issues relating to religious pluralism and Jewish status. When is it necessary (or dangerous) for American Jews to voice criticism of the Israeli government? Should the American Jewish community distinguish between “domestic” and security-related issues in Israel? What is the most appropriate role for Israeli and American Jewish communities in the decision-making of the other?