Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is scheduled to give the keynote address at the annual JStreet conference, expected to convene from March 24-27.
Olmert has been confirmed to speak to the dovish group on March 26, according to an invitation sent Thursday morning to members of the U.S. Congress. A copy of the invitation was obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTS) and its authenticity was then confirmed by an organization official.
Although JStreet describes itself as being “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace,” many Jews believe that the organization actually undermines the interests of the State of Israel and Jewish people. Several American Jewish leaders have objected to JStreet’s positions and publicly disassociated themselves from the organization.
Olmert joined former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Kadima party in 2005, led negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas and has announced his willingness to make far-reaching 'concessions' to the 'Palestinian' Authority. Olmert has been the subject of ongoing criminal investigations and was replaced by Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose government does not maintain a positive relationship with JStreet, in 2009.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference is scheduled to convene on March 4-6, just about two weeks prior to the JStreet conference and is anticipated to be a particular noteworthy occasions. U.S. President Barak Obama, Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, Republican presidential nominees, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, as well as U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Penatta are all scheduled to speak to the pro-Israel lobby. President Obama’s speech comes one day before his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, which is not expected to be expected to be an entirely pleasant one.