A, American Jewish Life, American Jewish Life and Politics, Israel and Palestine, Israel/Zionism, Jewish History, Jewish Identity
This past week the Israeli daily Haaretz reported about a closed-door meeting in Tel Aviv in which Major General Herzl Halevi was quoted as warning that Iran’s technology war with the state of Israel is rapidly “narrowing the quality gap.” http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.683442
This was the first time, Haaretz noted, that a senior official of the Israeli Defense Forces has ever made such an assessment. Major General Halevi was quoted as saying, “Our engineers are fighting Iranian engineers, today, and it’s becoming increasing significant….They use the most cutting-edge technology. It’s not carrier pigeons; it’s the most advanced communication systems, with the best encryption on top of that. It changes every couple of days.”
Upon my return from Israel a week ago where I was a delegate of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) at World Zionist Congress (WZC) in Jerusalem, I met with Israeli members of my community to discuss the WZC, my experience in Israel and their concerns and anxieties about their Israeli families and friends.
Knowing of my position as the national co-chair of the J Street Rabbinic Cabinet (composed of 850 rabbis from all of American Jewry’s religious streams), some took the occasion to share their skepticism about J Street’s support of the Iran Agreement and Israel’s overall security interests. One insisted that J Street supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. This is false and has always been false (see J Street’s policy position against BDS – http://jstreet.org/blog/post/the-boycott-divestment-and-sanctions-bds-movement_1.)
J Street is a pro-Israel pro-peace organization based in Washington, D.C. that advocates before the American government a two-state for two-peoples diplomatic resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the only way that Israel can continue to be a Jewish and democratic state and assure its security and future.
I emphasized that J Street’s goal has always been to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb and that Israel must maintain its technological and military superiority over all nations in the Middle East as a matter of both Israel’s and America’s security interests. As the Iran Deal was being closed, J Street sent its policy platform to Capitol Hill (see https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.jstreet.org/images/next-steps-on-iran.pdf), and called upon our government “to implement the nuclear agreement while advancing policies that complement that effort and advance priorities that strengthen the security interests of the United States, our ally Israel, and our partners in the region.”
J Street advocated upon the close of the Nuclear Agreement
“…acting quickly and in unison with the Administration this year to renew the Memorandum of Understanding with Israel on American military aid – set to expire just as the next administration takes office — and lengthening the duration of a new M.O.U. would underscore that the United States Government, across the board, is solidly committed to ensuring Israel’s military capacity and kinetic advantages for the long haul, no matter which party controls the government in either Washington, D.C. or Jerusalem.” (https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.jstreet.org/images/next-steps-on-iran.pdf)
J Street also issued recently a statement supporting Senator Ben Cardin’s new Iran Policy Oversight Bill:
“The bill’s provisions closely track the policy prescriptions J Street put forward immediately after last month’s key votes on the accord in Congress. Comprehensive reporting on Iran’s activities, enhancement of the President’s existing non-nuclear sanctions powers and further strengthening already unprecedented US security and intelligence cooperation with Israel are steps that will bolster the agreement and its critical objective of ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon.” (http://jstreet.org/blog/post/j-street-welcomes-iran-policy-oversight-bill_1)
J Street is uncompromising in its support of Israel:
“American assistance to Israel, including maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, is an important anchor for a peace process based on providing Israel with the confidence and assurance to move forward on a solution based on land for peace. J Street consistently advocates for robust US foreign aid to Israel, and J Street also strongly supports continued aid to the Palestinian Authority which is essential to Israeli security.” (http://jstreet.org/policy/pages/usisrael-special-relationship–aid)