Vice President Biden will address J Street’s annual gala next week, marking the second time he has spoken to a national gathering of the organization that bills itself as an alternative to traditional, mainstream Jewish American groups.
The gala dinner on Monday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. will bring together more than 900 supporters of J Street, which describes itself as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Biden spoke at the AIPAC conference on March 20 and angered some supporters of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by taking aim at Israel’s settlement policies. “To be frank, Israel's government's steady and systematic process of expanding settlements, legalizing outposts and seizing land is eroding, in my view, the prospect of a two-state solution,” Biden said.
At the AIPAC meeting, Biden also vigorously defended the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions.
The politics of Jewish advocacy groups in the United States reflect many of the broader tensions over how best to bolster the security of Israel. And President Obama and Netanyahu have had a tense relationship. In early 2015, Netanyahu circumvented the White House and worked with congressional Republicans to deliver a speech to Congress warning of the danger of making an Iran deal, which was then still being negotiated.
Many right wing Israelis also want to continue to expand settlements and abandon efforts for two states, Israel and a Palestinian state, to live side by side. Netanyahu says he is still committed to a two-state solution.
J Street, which will meet at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, will also honor Ambassadors Samuel L. Kaplan, Louis B. Susman and Alan D. Solomont. Stav Shaffir, a member of Israel’s parliament known as the Knesset, will also speak.