Last week in a Times of Israel Blog, Rabbi Brian Strauss of Houston, Texas accused J Street (a pro-Israel, pro-peace, and pro-democracy political organization in Washington, D.C.) of being anti-Israel based on a selective misreading of J Street statements and actions. Here is his piece – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/j-street-is-honest-about-what-it-is-we-just-have-to-listen/
J Street’s President and CEO, Jeremy Ben Ami, responded, also in a Times of Israel Blog, and clarified J Street’s policy positions which, according to polls, represent the views of 70% of the American Jewish community vis a vis its support of Israel, its security (e.g. support for the Memo of Understanding granting $3.8 billion military support annually for ten years, support of the Iron Dome defense system, support for the JCPOA, and against BDS), prospects for peace and justice with the Palestinians (opposes Israel’s Occupation policies and the expanding settlement enterprise), and supports democracy in Israel and the United States. Here is his piece – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/j-street-and-what-it-really-means-to-be-pro-israel/
I urge those who are concerned about the historically close and important American-Israel relationship and what J Street actually advocates to read both articles carefully. Also, I suggest that they look at J Street’s website (www.jstreet.org) and read its policy positions, blogs, and press releases, and then come to an informed conclusion about J Street’s positions and advocacy work. They may disagree with positions J Street has taken, but it is important that civility amongst American Jews and a respect for each other’s pro-Israel bona fides be sustained and that name-calling and the questioning of motives vis a vis Israel be rejected.
A disclaimer: I have been a supporter of J Street from its beginnings in 2009. I believe in its mission and advocacy goals before the American Congress and Administration as well as its role as a safe space for pro-Israel liberal and progressive American Jews to express their liberal American Jewish values. I serve currently as a national co-chair (with three colleagues in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Tel Aviv) of the J Street Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet that has grown to 1100 members nationally.
Rabbi Anne Brener said: