A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation
Chat with Jeremy Ben-Ami about his new book. Hosted by Phil Munger, otherwise known as FDL’s EdwardTeller.
Many Americans who care about Israel’s future are questioning whether the hard-line, uncritical stances adopted by many traditional pro-Israel advocates really serve the country’s best interests over the long-term. Moderate Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder of J Street, the new pro-Israel, pro-peace political movement, punctures many of the myths that have long guided our understanding of the politics of the American Jewish community and have been fundamental to how pro-Israel advocates have pursued their work. These myths include:
• that leaders of established Jewish organizations speak for all
Jewish Americans when it comes to Israel
• that being pro-Israel means you cannot support creation of
a Palestinian state
• that American Jews vote for candidates based largely on
their support of Israel
• that talking peace with your enemies demonstrates
• that allying with neoconservatives and evangelical
Christians is good for Israel and good for the Jewish community.
Ben-Ami, whose grandparents were first-generation Zionists and founders of Tel Aviv, tells the story of his own evolution toward a more moderate viewpoint. He sketches a new direction for both American policy and the conduct of the debate over Israel in the American Jewish community.
Jeremy Ben-Ami is the founder and president of J Street, an advocacy group and political action committee that is both pro-Israel and pro-peace. Ben-Ami has been profiled in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, CQ Weekly, and The New York Times. During his 25-year career in government, politics, and communications, Ben-Ami has served as President Bill Clinton’s deputy domestic policy adviser, and as national policy director on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, and has helped run numerous political campaigns, including one for mayor of New York City. He also started the Israeli firm Ben-Or Communications while living in Israel in the late 1990s. He lives in Washington, D.C. (Macmillan)