Biden to keynote J Street Conference

Vice President Joe Biden has been chosen to deliver the keynote address at this year’s J Street conference in Washington, the liberal-leaning pro-Israel group announced Tuesday.

Biden will speak on its third day, Sept. 30, before meeting with President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. 

Press Secretary Jay Carney also announced Tuesday that the two leaders will meet that day to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the recent situation in Syria. 

“Secretary of State John Kerry has called on the American Jewish community to rally ‘a great constituency for peace,’” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “The Obama Administration has made the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top foreign policy priority. In convening this conference, we have a real opportunity and, in fact, an obligation to demonstrate the tremendous support that exists behind those efforts.”

Kerry reinvigorated direct peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians in July. They predict an agreement will be hashed out by May 2014. 

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The Obama administration has emphasized its commitment to the two-state solution, which J Street has focused its lobbying efforts on as a way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Biden will deliver his address sometime between 1:00 and 3:15 p.m. at the conference. He is the most senior official to address the group to date after it was founded in 2008. 

Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and U.S. Special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Martin Indyk, are also slated to speak. 

At previous J Street conferences, Obama has sent lower-level officials to speak including Middle East adviser Dennis Ross, former national security adviser James Jones and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. 

President Obama has previously spoken at events organized by The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most influential pro-Israel lobbying group, and at the Union for Reform Judaism’s biennial conference.