By Natalka Karaman, Managing Editor
J Street, a political group for “pro-Israeli and pro-peace Americans,” delivered about a thousand signed postcards this week to Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey as part of their effort to lobby elected officials to support a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Carrying signs that read “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace,” and “Two States Now,” about 40 activists met in Philadelphia and 40 in Pittsburgh. They were part of a national J Street effort in favor of President Obama’s proposal for a two-state solution based on a return to pre-1967 borders with mutually agreed-upon land swaps.
The day of action is the finale to J Street’s Two-State Summer Campaign. The campaign’s launch followed a series of talks at the annual conference of AIPAC in May 2011. Both Casey and Toomey spoke at the conference in response to President Obama’s speech which called for peace negotiations to begin based on the 1967 borders.
However, both senators were critical of the President’s remarks and reiterated strong support for Israel with border solutions different from Obama’s proposal. Toomey said that returning to the 1967 borders would actually undermine the peace process.
Casey told AIPAC, “As long as I am in the Senate, you will have a friend that will fight for these resources that are so vital to Israel’s security.”
J Street’s actions come during a tense time in the Israeli-Palestinian region, with both diplomatic and military actions being used to undermine the other. J Street maintains that “resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a negotiated two-state solution is key to ensuring stability, security and prosperity for Israel”.
The group is seen by many as the liberal counterpart to more hawkish pro-Israel groups such as American Israeli Public Affairs Committee and Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel. In 2010, then-Congressman Joe Sestak took lumps for signing on to the organization’s letter encouraging Israel to ease a blockade on the Gaza strip.
Here’s video of the Philly event: