In First J Street Appearance, Schumer Pushes for Two-state Solution

Speeches by minority Senate leader, Pelosi at J Street conference are latest sign of the organization's growing influence within the Democratic Party

Nancy Pelosi, left, and Chuck Schumer, at the Capitol in Washington, September 9, 2019
J. Scott Applewhite,AP

WASHINGTON — Speaking before the national gathering of the left-wing U.S. Jewish group J Street, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer both argued for a return to traditional U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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This included a strong endorsement of the two-state solution from both leaders, with Pelosi stressing that both Israel and the Palestinian leadership needed to avoid steps that may harm the prospects of the model.

Speaking before Pelosi, and for the first time at a J Street event, Chuck Schumer also emphasized importance of maintaining United States' support for Israel a bipartisan goal. Schumer also denounced those in American politics who "use Israel for partisan gain."

The appearance of the two most senior Democrats at the conference is the latest sign of the growing influence J Street is gaining within the Democratic Party.

Pelosi and Schumer delivered prepared speeches at the J Street gala dinner, unlike five Democratic presidential candidates, who, earlier in the day and on Sunday, had each been interviewed and gave more in-depth policy perspectives.

The event was also attended by other members of Congress, all of them from the Democratic Party.

Schumer was one of the few Democrats who voted against of the Iran nuclear accord in 2015, a deal which J Street strongly supported at the time. He has also been much less critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government than most of his party.

Pelosi has previously appeared at J Street gatherings, with the organization endorsing her for House Speaker in 2018. Both leaders are considered to have a strong relationship with AIPAC, the major pro-Israel lobby.

At last year's AIPAC conference, Schumer said that Israel and the Palestinians haven't reached a peace agreement because the Palestinians do not believe in the Torah.

J Street, which was founded in 2007, has challenged AIPAC's political power by presenting itself as "the political home for pro-Israel and pro-peace Americans."