Mark O'Connor and Ruby Jane Smith: virtuosos of American fiddle
[JStreet] West Bank Settlements: Obstacles on the Road to Peace

On my way to JStreet

I posited a few days ago that I would likely be the only person going from Pop!Tech to JStreet. It turns out I was wrong about that. I met one person at my first conference who's going to be at my second one -- Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim, whose film Control Room knocked my socks off a few years ago.

Jehane pointed me to an article which I wanted to share with y'all: Nightmare on J Street by Rebecca Abou-Chedid. Abou-Chedid, who is Lebanese-American, made a donation to JStreet. Former AIPAC and Israeli embassy official Lenny Ben-David wrote something denouncing both JStreet and Abou-Chedid for her support of the organization. Here's a taste of Abou-Chedid's response:

It is possible to be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine, not out of some blanket support for either government, but out of a sincere belief that peace is in both people's best interests.

...The reason J Street causes such fury among certain detractors often has nothing to do with its policy positions. These people are angry because the political climate has shifted in a way that they no longer understand or control. The generation that elected President Obama is not interested in being divided based on religion or ethnic heritage. We are not interested in a zero-sum game. We believe our elected officials must play a leadership role in brokering a two-state solution to this conflict, and that Arab and Jewish Americans must work together to support them. How can anyone profess to believe in a two-state solution, in which Israelis and Palestinians will live side by side, if they view with suspicion Arab and Jewish Americans working together to get there?

Read her whole essay here.

I'm on a train to Washington, DC today (I set this up to auto-post while I'm en route) -- next time you hear from me I'll be at the conference. I won't be liveblogging as comprehensively as Ethan and I did from Pop!Tech, but I hope to get a few posts up over the next few days. Please bear with me if I'm not able to moderate  or respond to comments promptly; my online time is likely to be limited and while I'm at the conference I want to spend as much time as I can connecting with others who are there. If you're at the conference and you see a very pregnant woman in a rainbow kippah, that's me: come and say hi!