It's official: Oren won't attend J StreetIsraeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has officially announced that he will not attend J Street's conference in Washington next week.
"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."Representative Howard Coble (R-NC) announced that he won't be attending either.
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.
J Street expressed disappointment with the embassy's statement, with spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick saying in a statement that, "We believe the Government of Israel will be missing an opportunity should it choose not to engage with the over 1,200 pro-Israel activists who will be in attendance at the J Street conference next week."
The full list of members who've pulled their support from J Street:And there are still a few more days to go.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE)
Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR)
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA)
Rep. John Salazar (D-CO)
Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY)
Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC)
And this just in: John Kerry (D-Mass) and Jane Harman (D-Cal) aren't attending either although Harman says she still backs the group.
FP's Cable reports Jane Harman (D-Calif.) isn't attending, but still backs the group.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry’s name is still is listed on J Street’s web site as one of four keynote speakers at the group’s gala, albeit with an asterisk signifying he was invited but not confirmed.
But he turned down the invitation “weeks ago” due to a prior commitment in Pittsburgh, according to Kerry spokeswoman Whitney Smith.
Kerry is not disassociating himself from J Street and shares the group's "commitment to a lasting solution in the Middle East and looks forward to continuing a strong relationship with them moving forward,” according to his office.
Late Tuesday, after we posted on Kerry's non-appearance, a J Street spokeswoman said they were still hoping to snag the former presidential candidate for one of the week's events.
“As happens in putting together events like this, the list of hosts changed constantly over several months. Names were added and deleted, and decisions on participation changed regularly,” J Street’s Director of Strategy & Policy Hadar Susskind told POLITICO.
“We made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the list.”