Israel Policy Forum

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The Israel Policy Forum (IPF) is a New York, NY based American Jewish organization that works for a negotiated two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict though advocacy, education and policy research.[1][2] The organization lobbies American policymakers in support of this goal and writes opinion pieces that have appeared in many Jewish and non-Jewish newspapers.[3] It was founded in 1993.[4]

The organization's Chairman is Peter Joseph and its Executive Director is David Halperin.[5]


The stated mission of Israel Policy Forum (IPF) is to champion involved and continuous American diplomacy efforts, which it believes are imperative for reaching an overarching settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[6] Israel Policy Forum believes that a two-state solution to the conflict will "safeguard Israel’s security and future as a Jewish and democratic state."[1]

IPF was originally created as an offshoot of the Israel Labor Party. It was co-founded in 1993 by Michael W. Sonnenfeldt, who served as chairman from 1997 to 2001. In 1997, it absorbed Project Nishma, a Washington-based organization that specialized in mobilizing Israeli military authorities who argued that the peace process was in Israel’s security interests.[7]


  • Israel Policy Forum (IPF) provides news analyses and recommendations for constructive American approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and related issues. IPF works with domestic and international policy makers to help form the public conversation on Middle East issues[8]
  • IPF Friday by M.J. Rosenberg distributed nationally and in the Middle East. It is regularly reprinted online and in major publications, such as the Jerusalem Post.[9]
  • IPF’s US and Israel Advisory Councils include Israeli and American analysts and former government officials. The Councils regularly discuss policy, write position papers and communicate for IPF in the media and in various communities across the nation.[10]


IPF’s team of advocates and leaders—which includes members of Jewish, philanthropic, academic and political organizations—imparts policy messages to American and international leaders. IPF also regularly holds conference calls and educational training in major U.S. cities.[11]

IPF trains advocates to promote a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through educational programs. IPF holds an annual Leadership Event to support key figures who promote peacemaking efforts. Previous speakers at the Leadership Event include President Bill Clinton,[12] Vice President Al Gore,[13] Senator Joseph Biden,[14] Prime Minister Ehud Barak,[15] then-Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert[16] and Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon.[17]

IPF works to enhance communication and diplomatic efforts between Israeli, Arab and American leaders. IPF arranges bi-annual delegations to the Middle East in which American leaders meet with heads-of-state, diplomats, scholars and analysts throughout the region. IPF also conducts media outreach by contributing background information and op-eds[18] to major U.S. and Israeli publications.[19]

Dispute over Freeman nomination[edit]

Leaders of the Israel Policy Forum disagreed in early 2009 over the appointment of Charles Freeman to a senior US intelligence post. IPF Washington Director M.J. Rosenberg[20] strongly supported Freeman on the grounds that Freeman's harsh criticisms of Israeli policy would make him an ideal candidate to prepare US intelligence estimates. However, the Jerusalem Post reported that the previous President of the IPF, Seymour D. Reich, stepped down from the forum's policy-making [Executive] committee because he believed the appointee was "clearly biased against Israel" and stating "I don't see how he could have given any objective intelligence assessment on the Middle East with that baggage hanging out so openly."[21]

Support for Hagel nomination[edit]

In early January 2013 United States President Barack Obama nominated former United States Senator Chuck Hagel for United States Secretary of Defense. In a 2006 interview with Aaron David Miller Hagel had commented that "[t]he Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people [on Capitol Hill]",[22] and "I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator."[23] Several Jewish groups initially expressed hesitation.[24] On January 23 the Israel Policy Forum published an ad in The Hill saying that the former Nebraska senator would “ably continue security cooperation between the United States and the State of Israel, which has reached unprecedented levels during President Obama’s time in office.” Among the 45 signatories were former ambassadors to Israel, former Congress members Mel Levine, Gary Ackerman and Robert Wexler, former White House official Stuart Eizenstat, Rabbi Sharon Brous, philanthropist Charles Bronfman and Thomas Dine, former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.[25]


The IPF has been criticized by Isi Leibler, who called them "Jews against Zion", for promoting that Israel make "unilateral concessions to the Palestinians."[26] Members of the IPF responded that Mr. Leibler's attack was "offensive and deplorable".[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b About Israel Policy Forum at Israel Policy Forum website.
  2. ^ "Full text: Israel Policy Forum letter urges Palestinian president to push for peace in UN speech". Haaretz. September 25, 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Israel Policy Forum". Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  4. ^ Schemo, Diana J. "Barak, Addressing American Jews, Stresses Israel's Yearning for Peace ". The New York Times. Accessed September 20, 2008.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Idea raised of 2 capitals in Jerusalem". USA Today. October 4, 2007. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  7. ^ Israel Policy Forum to merge with progressive group? 10/13/2009, James Besser
  8. ^ "Whither the Left? - Israel". Jewish Journal. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Pelletreau, Robert; Walker, Edward S. (September 2, 2008). "A US role in Syrian-Israeli peace". The Boston Globe. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Gore critical of failures to implement Wye accords". 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Barak, Addressing American Jews, Stresses Israel's Yearning for Peace". The New York Times. November 21, 1999. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Lewis, Geoffrey H.; Reich, Seymour D. (April 9, 2008). "Finding a way to bring Hamas in". The Boston Globe. 
  19. ^ "Helping Israel Help Itself". The New York Times. May 26, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  20. ^ M. J. Rosenberg biography on Israel Policy Forum website.
  21. ^ "Freeman imbroglio splits liberal US Jewish NGOs". Jerusalem Post. March 18, 2009. 
  22. ^ Jon Swaine (6 January 2013), Chuck Hagel 'to face questions' over Israel views ahead of defence secretary nomination The Daily Telegraph
  23. ^ Yitzhak Benhorin, US: Hagel nomination irks pro-Israel conservatives, Ynetnews, December 18, 2012.
  24. ^ Ali Gharib, How The Pro-Israel Right Lost On Hagel, The Daily Beast, February 5, 2013.
  25. ^ Pro-Israel Groups Jump on Chuck Hagel Bandwagon, Sign on to Ad Endorsing Ex-Senator as Pentagon Chief, The Jewish Daily Forward, January 23, 2013.
  26. ^ "Sending our youth the wrong signals". The Jerusalem Post. Accessed September 20, 2008.
  27. ^ Seymour D. Reich, Marvin Lender. 'Who are you calling 'Jews against Zion'?". The Jerusalem Post. Accessed September 20, 2008.

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