25 Nov, 2020
JERUSALEM WEATHER

Believing that former Vice President Joe Biden will replace Trump in January, the J Street lobby is expressing a renewed dose of optimism not seen since Obama left office.

J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said that he anticipates a return to a more “balanced” U.S approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as a reentry into the Iran nuclear deal that US President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018.

The Soros connection

For several years, J Street denied receiving any funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation until The Washington Times revealed the connection in 2010. J Street received roughly one-third of its revenue from billionaire Jewish left-wing financier George Soros as a three-year, $750,000 beginning in 2008. The revelation of the connection to notoriously anti-Israel Soros was considered damaging to JStreet, dispelling the myth that it was a pro-Israel organization.

Having conversations with people in positions of power

“It’s nice to be having conversations with a group of people to who are on their way to having positions of power,” J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami told The Times of Israel in a recent interview. “Instead of just schmoozing, these are conversations about how we can impact actual policy.”

J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami. (Photo: J Street Facebook Page)

Ben Ami said that he could now start “breathing a little easier” after Biden’s purported victory.

The “preeminent voice” inside the Democratic party

And unlike the start of Obama’s term, when J Street was just starting out and viewed by many as the extreme fringe on Washington’s longstanding policy towards Israel, Ben-Ami claims that his lobby group is currently the “preeminent voice” on issues inside the Democratic party, endorsing most of its Congressional caucus.

“We no longer have to introduce ourselves and ask for a seat at table, but are able to be helpful in shaping policy and get it the kind of support it needs from Congress or from the Jewish community,” he opined.

Repudiation of Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’

Ben-Ami also commits that his group would push for “a renewed American intent to oppose steps taken by Israel that make the two-state outcome less likely” — a reference to Jewish presence expansion in Judea and Samaria.

Additionally, J Street will advocate for an presidential repudiation of Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’. The proposal was welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but rejected by the PA, Ben-Ami said, suggesting that a Biden presidency should rather push for a return to the two-state proposals from the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

J Street was among the most outspoken lobbyists that backed Obama’s Iran nuclear deal  and Ben-Ami says that his group hopes to work closely with the Biden to ensure a swift reentry into the accord that Netanyahu famously opposed in Congress in 2015.

Compliance for compliance

“The goal is a nuclear-free Iran that is not a destabilizing power, but in order to begin the process of strengthening the accord, the US, which violated its commitments, must first come back into the agreement,” Ben-Ami claims.

“Compliance for compliance,” he said, mimicking the same motto used by the Biden campaign, which vowed to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Blaming Trump for Iran

But J Street’s president also said that the US needs to take the first step in the process. He believes that re-joining the Nuclear Deal shouldn’t be conditioned on Iran rolling back its recent uranium enrichment.

And even though Iran never even signed the accord, Ben-Ami blames Trump for Iran’s purported increased hostility towards America worrying that without rejoining the deal unconditionally, the accord will not work.

Making the case that the US can be trusted

“This is the sad result of the horrific Trump administration policy that empowered less moderate forces in Iran and legitimized the argument that the US shouldn’t be trusted,” he claims. “That’s why it’s so important for the new administration to try and do what it can to make the case that the US can be trusted and that it acts in accordance with the agreements it has signed.”