Mission & Principles

Mission

J Street is the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people.

Working in American politics and the Jewish community, we advocate for policies that advance shared US and Israeli interests as well as Jewish and democratic values, leading to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Let us all unite behind the pragmatic, humanistic and peace-loving ideas of J Street… J Street, I have been waiting for you my entire adult life.”
– Israeli author Amos Oz

Principles

1. We are committed to and support the people and the state of Israel.

We believe that the Jewish people have the right to a national home of their own. We celebrate its re-birth after thousands of years.

We value and share the democratic principles on which Israel was founded and that have guided the country for six decades — even as we acknowledge the real threats to that democracy.

We understand that Israel has real enemies. We defend its right to live in security and peace, within internationally recognized boundaries. We believe in and support Israel’s right to defend itself against its enemies.

2. The future of Israel depends on achieving a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinian people.

We believe the Palestinians too have the right to a national home of their own, living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security.

We support the creation of an independent, de-militarized state of Palestine with defined borders. We believe a two-state solution to the conflict serves Israel’s and America’s interests and fulfills the legitimate national aspirations of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.

Israel must choose among three things: being a Jewish homeland, remaining democratic and maintaining control over all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. It can only have two — it can only remain both Jewish and democratic by giving up the land on which a Palestinian state can be built in exchange for peace.

For too long, pro-Israel advocacy has defined this conflict in zero-sum terms, as “us versus them,” a conflict in which there can be only one winner. But being pro-Israel doesn’t require an “anti.” Israel’s long-term security actually depends on fulfilling the aspirations of the Palestinian people through a two-state solution.

3. Israel’s supporters have the right and the obligation to speak out when the policies or the actions of the Israeli government are hurting the long-term interests of Israel and the Jewish people.

We must distinguish between criticizing the policies of the government of Israel and questioning Israel’s fundamental right to exist as a Jewish homeland.

Criticism of Israeli policy does not threaten the health of the state of Israel —but certain Israeli policies (and the silence that too many in the American Jewish establishment choose when vigorous protest of those policies is necessary) do threaten Israel’s future.

As Americans, we also have a right to speak up and shape our own foreign policy. We cannot support Israeli policies that violate the values at the heart of both our Jewish and American heritage. We must oppose policies that make peace more difficult or infringe on basic human rights.

4. Vibrant but respectful debate about Israel benefits the American Jewish community and Israel.

Strong and vibrant debate has characterized the Jewish tradition for millennia. That’s why we believe it is necessary to engage with those with whom we disagree.

Those who believe there is only one acceptable view on Israel — theirs —should not be allowed to impose constraints on what constitutes acceptable speech in the Jewish community. Closing the doors of the Jewish community to those who question American or Israeli policy puts the intellectual integrity and future of our community at risk.

We believe vigorous debate about Israel and American policy will not  only engage younger American Jews across the political spectrum, but will increase participation in the broader Jewish community among all generations.

5. Our work is grounded in the Jewish and democratic values on which we were raised.

It is both possible and necessary to engage in a warm relationship with Israel and to remain true to the values we hold most dear as Jews and as Americans — and on which Israel was founded.

These values are central to who we are as a people: the principle that you don’t treat someone the way you wouldn’t want to be treated yourself, basic notions of justice and freedom, the pursuit of peace, and tikkun olam —seeking to make the world a better place.

We believe that we must work for an Israel and a Jewish community that lives up to the best of these values and traditions.

You might also be interested in

Learn more about who we are and what we do.