Conference of Presidents Denies J Street Membership

NEW YORK -

The nation’s largest umbrella group of Jewish organizations rejected membership for J Street, a group which calls itself “pro-Israel and pro-peace” but actively lobbies against Israeli government actions vis-a-vis the Palestinians and Iran.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations released a terse statement late Wednesday afternoon saying that after a closed door ballot, “J Street did not receive the affirmative vote of two thirds of the fifty member organizations as required by Conference rules.”

The 51-member Conference, which is made up of groups ranging from the Zionist Organization of America on the right to American for Peace Now on the left, is frequently consulted with by U.S. officials, especially in regards to Middle East policy. Led by its longtime executive vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein, the 50-year-old group’s rotating chair is currently held by Robert G. Sugarman.

In their statement, Sugarman and Hoenlein said that J Street’s application, which came days after the group’s leader made a presentation, may be approved at some future date.

“A two-thirds affirmative vote of the member organizations is a significant threshold,” they said. “Some present member organizations did not initially achieve the necessary support but subsequently re-applied and are now members.”

J Street was founded in 2008 to counter the pro-Israel positions of the America Israel Political Action Committee. It supports talks with Iran to dismantle their nuclear program and was fiercely against Israel’s war on Gazan terror in 2009 and 2013.