Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Amb. Michael Oren rejects J Street conference invite: "policies impair the interests of Israel"

(JPOST).Israel's Ambassador to the US Michael Oren has decided not to attend the J Street conference being held next week, the Israeli embassy said Tuesday.

Instead a lower-level member of the embassy staff will be sent to watch and report on the event.

"In response to the question about J Street's invitation to participate in its conference, the Embassy of Israel has been privately communicating its concerns over certain policies of the organization that may impair the interests of Israel," the embassy said in a statement.

"Accordingly, the embassy will send an observer to the conference and will follow its proceedings with interest."

The embassy's move stands in contrast to the White House, which will be sending one of its highest officials, National Security Advisor, Gen. James Jones, to deliver the keynote address on Tuesday.

"The White House always welcomes the opportunity to discuss the president's views and engage in a dialogue with interested parties," a White House spokesman told The Jerusalem Post, explaining the decision to send Jones as the Obama administration's representative at the conference, which runs from October 25 through October 28.

Oren's declining of his invitation follows the withdrawal of a handful of members of Congress from J Street's 160-member host committee list, in some cases because they said they were unaware of the nature of the organization.