Daily Israel Report

'J Street' Middle East Junket for 5 Congress Members

“J Street” is sponsoring a tour for five members of Congress this week in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 2/16/2010, 12:52 PM / Last Update: 2/16/2010, 1:06 PM

Israel news photo

The U.S.-based leftist “J Street” political lobby is sponsoring a tour for five members of Congress this week in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.

This is the first time the pro-PA lobby has put together a Congressional mission. Five U.S. Representatives, all of whom are members of the Democratic party, will meet with “key regional leaders, including Jordanian King Abdullah II and [Palestinian Authority] Prime Minister Salam Fayyad,” the J Street statement proclaimed.

U.S. Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA), Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) and Donald Payne (D-NJ) will also meet with Israeli government and opposition leaders, the organization said.

J Street promotes itself as the “political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement” although it openly supported the United Nations' Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of committing war crimes during its counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The delegation will “travel widely” in Israel and throughout the PA areas, according to the statement, “taking a close look at the situation on the ground through the eyes of policy makers and civil society leaders.”

The statement does not specify which policy makers and “civil society leaders” will be guiding the delegation and helping them form their opinions in the State of Israel.

The J Street Education Fund, a tax-exempt division of the group, will pay for the trip. The lobby organization itself is actually comprised of three legally separate entities:  

  • J Street – a nonprofit lobby to advocate for leftist goals in Israel on Capitol Hill and with the White House

  • JStreetPAC – a political action committee to endorse and raise money for candidates for federal office. Last year the group raised nearly $600,000 for its 42 endorsed U.S. Congressional candidates, 34 of whom won their races, according to the J Street website.

  • J Street Education Fund – aimed at persuading targeted communities there is a need for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This group includes J Street Local, J Street National Field Program and J Street U (the campus movement).