Myths & Facts:
Our support for Israel

MYTH: J Street is not truly supportive of Israel.

We are committed to Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic homeland living within secure and internationally recognized borders. The question is: How do we get there? We believe that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the single best chance we have to secure this future.

We believe in the Zionist ideal on which Israel was founded—that of a Jewish homeland where Jews can always go to be secure. We hope that Israel will live up to and represent the core Jewish values of justice, equality and democracy.

We do not believe that agreeing with everything the current Israeli government does should be the litmus test for what it means to be pro-Israel.

MYTH: J Street Never Praises Israel or Israeli Actions

See below for a list of J Street statements welcoming Israeli actions and accomplishments:

  • J Street Welcomes Announcement of Western Wall Compromise, February 1st, 2016
  • J Street applauds President Rivlin’s efforts to promote tolerance in Israeli society, October 29th, 2014
  • J Street Welcomes Israeli Initiative Against Racism, August 14th, 2014
  • J Street Congratulates President Peres on Congressional Gold Medal, June 26th, 2014
  • J Street Welcomes MK Rivlin as Tenth Israeli President, June 10th, 2014
  • At AIPAC, PM Netanyahu Promotes Benefits of Peace, March 4, 2014
  • J Street hopes progress made in White House meeting, March 3, 2014
  • Kerry Announces Resumption of Peace Talks, July 19, 2013
  • J Street Welcomes Dermer as New Israeli Ambassador, July 9, 2013
  • Israeli-Palestinian Agreement on UNESCO Encouraging, April 24, 2013
  • To Israel at 65: May You Go from Strength to Strength, April 15, 2013
  • J Street statement on Israeli-Turkish reconciliation, March 23, 2013
  • J Street Response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 27, 2012
  • J Street Statement on the Evacuation of Migron, September 3, 2012
  • J Street Welcomes Peaceful Evacuation of 5 Buildings in Ulpana, June 27, 2012
  • J Street Congratulates Israeli President Peres on Receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom, June 13, 2012
  • Israel hands over remains of 91 Palestinian militants in effort to renew peace talks, June 2, 2012
  • J Street statement on Hebron, East Jerusalem settlements, April 4, 2012
  • J Street Responds to Israeli, Palestinian Meeting in Amman, January 3, 2012
  • J Street Applauds Deal to Release Gilad Shalit, October 11, 2011
  • J Street Welcomes Israeli Peace Initiative, April 5, 2011
  • J Street Applauds Israeli Cabinet Approval of Ghajar Withdrawal Plan, November 18, 2010
  • Statement on Announcement of Direct Talks, August 20, 2010
  • Statement on Israeli Cabinet Decision Regarding Gaza Blockade, June 17, 2010
  • Israel Accepted into OECD, May 11, 2010
  • J Street Welcomes Launch of Proximity Talks, May 3, 2010
  • Israeli-Palestinian Proximity Talks Announced, March 10, 2010
  • Statement on Announcement of Proximity Talks, March 8, 2010
  • Statement on Ada Yonath receiving the Nobel Prize, October 7, 2009
  • Statement on US-Israeli-Palestinian trilateral meeting, September 22, 2010
  • J Street statement on PM Netanyahu’s address at Bar-Ilan University,” June 15, 2009

MYTH: J Street never criticizes the Palestinians and never condemns acts of violence and hate against Israel.

J Street has been very clear that it believes that all sides–including Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states–will have to take steps and make compromises if the Arab-Israeli conflict is to be settled peacefully.

J Street has been unequivocal in making clear that acts of violence and terror against Israelis are outrageous and unacceptable. We have called on the Palestinians to live up to their commitments to end incitement and violence, and on Arab nations to take steps toward normalization of relations with Israel.

J Street has also been critical of Holocaust denial by Hamas and Iran, the use of the Durban II conference to promote anti-Semitism, and support for violence and incitement against Israel in the Arab world and elsewhere in the international community.

See below for a list of J Street statements on the subject:

  • J Street Condemns Fatah Boast of Murdering Israelis, August 8, 2016
  • J Street Condemns Latest Terror Attacks, July 1, 2016
  • J Street Outraged by Horrific Murder of Israeli Teenager, June 30, 2016
  • J Street Supports Resolutions Urging EU to Designate Entirety of Hezbollah as Terrorist Organization, June 24, 2016
  • J Street Appalled By Tel Aviv Shooting, Mourns Victims, June 8, 2016
  • J Street Saddened by Explosion in Jerusalem, Monitoring Situation, April 18, 2016
  • J Street Calls on President Abbas to Condemn Acts of Terror, March 9, 2016
  • J Street Strongly Condemns New Spate of Terror Attacks Throughout Israel
  • March 8, 2016
  • J Street Condemns Latest Attacks on Israelis, February 3, 2016
  • J Street Condemns Horrific West Bank Stabbing Attacks, January 18, 2016
  • J Street condemns Tel Aviv shooting attack, concerned by ongoing threat to civilians, January 4, 2016
  • J Street Horrified by Terror Attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank, November 19, 2015
  • J Street Strongly Condemns Arson Attack on Joseph’s Tomb, October 16, 2015
  • J Street Responds to President Abbas’ Speech, October 15, 2015
  • J Street mourns Israeli couple killed in West Bank, October 1, 2015
  • J Street mourns Israeli victim of terror, June 30, 2015
  • J Street condemns incitement on Palestinian children’s program, June 2, 2015
  • J Street condemns attack in Jerusalem, March 6, 2015
  • J Street mourns Israeli soldiers killed on Lebanon border, January 26, 2015
  • J Street Condemns Tel Aviv Bus Stabbings, January 21, 2015
  • J Street Statement on EU Court’s Hamas Ruling, December 17, 2014
  • J Street Condemns Stabbing in Jerusalem, November 25, 2014
  • J Street Condemns Jerusalem Synagogue Attack as Abhorrent Act of Terrorism, November 18, 2014
  • J Street condemns offensive Palestinian images inciting violence in Jerusalem, November 7, 2014
  • J Street Condemns Latest Jerusalem Attack, November 5, 2014
  • J Street Condemns Terror Attack in Jerusalem, October 22, 2014
  • J Street Expresses Solidarity with Israelis under Rocket Fire, July 8, 2014
  • J Street Condemns Kidnapping of Teens as Act of Terrorism, June 16, 2014
  • J Street Condemns Rocket Bombardment from Gaza, March 12, 2014
  • J Street Condemns Killing of Israeli Soldiers,  September 23, 2013
  • J Street Condemns Fatal Stabbing of Israeli in West Bank, Concerned by Upsurge in Violence, April 30, 2013.
  • “J Street Condemns Fatal Stabbing of Israeli in West Bank, Concerned by Upsurge in Violence,” December 10, 2012.
  • J Street Condemns Hateful Speech by Hamas Leader,  December 10, 2012.
  • Tel Aviv Bus Bombing Unconscionable Act of Terror, Ceasefire Urgently Needed, November 21, 2012
  • J Street Response to Gaza Rocket Attacks, October 24, 2012
  • J Street Condemns President Ahmadinejad’s Anti-Israel Remarks,  September 24, 2012
  • J Street Statement on Today’s Attack on the Israel-Egypt Border, September 21, 2012
  • J Street Statement on Iranian Leaders’ Anti-Israel Remarks,  August 20, 2012
  • J Street Outraged by Terror Attacks on Israelis in Bulgaria, July 18, 2012
  • J Street Statement on Iranian First Vice President’s Anti-Semitic Remarks,  June 27, 2012
  • J Street Statement on Rocket Fire from Gaza, June 20, 2012
  • J Street Statement on Eilat Rocket Attack, April 6, 2012
  • J Street Responds to Ongoing Rocket Fire on Southern Israel, March 12, 2012
  • J Street Seriously Concerned about Lebanese Rocket Attack, November 29, 2011
  • J Street Condemns Tragic Terrorist Attack in Southern Israel,  August 18, 2011
  • J Street Condemns Rocketing of Beersheva,  August 16, 2011
  • Statement on Jerusalem Bus Bombing, March 23, 2011
  • Statement on Itamar Massacre,  March 12, 2011
  • J Street Condemns Jordanian Minister Mjali’s Call to Release Murderer,  February 17, 2011
  • J Street Condemns PA Official’s Denial of Jewish Connection to Western Wall,  November 27, 2010
  • J Street Condemns Iranian President Ahmadinejad,  September 23, 2010
  • J Street Urges All Sides to Refrain from Unilateral Action, Renounce Incitement as Direct Talks Begin, August 31, 2010
  • J Street Condemns West Bank Terror Attack, August 31, 2010
  • J Street Strongly Condemns Palestinian Incitement,  April 9, 2010
  • J Street Condemns PA’s Honoring of Terrorist,  March 12, 2010
  • Statement on Israeli Interception of Arms Ship in Mediterranean,  November 5, 2009
  • J Street Denounces Iranian President,  September 23, 2010
  • Statement on Hamas’ Holocaust Denial,  September 1, 2009
  • J Street statement on Bat Ayin terrorist attack,  April 2, 2009
  • J Street statement on terrorist attack in Jerusalem,  March 5, 2009

MYTH: J Street opposes Israel’s right to defend itself with military force

We support Israel’s right to defend itself militarily and believe that maintaining Israel’s qualitative military advantage in the region is one essential element of a strategy to keep Israel secure for the long term.

We believe that it is equally important to Israel’s long-term survival and security to achieve a two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to define internationally accepted borders for Israel and to gain broader diplomatic acceptance of Israel within the Middle East.

We believe that Israel’s military actions in Gaza have been both understandable and justifiable. No country can be expected to absorb thousands of rockets without the right to respond militarily.

For us, the key question with regard to any specific military action chosen is and has been whether it advances Israeli interests and security in the long-term and whether there aren’t alternative strategies for ending the violence through diplomatic action.

See below for a list of J Street’s statements on this subject:

  • J Street Expresses Solidarity with Israelis under Rocket Fire, July 8th, 2014
  • J Street Condemns Rocket Bombardment from Gaza, March 12, 2014
  • J Street Statement on Rocket Fire from Gaza, June 20, 2012
  • J Street Statement on Eilat Rocket Attack, April 6, 2012
  • Street Responds to Ongoing Rocket Fire on Southern Israel, March 12, 2012
  • J Street Condemns Rocketing of Beersheva,  August 16, 2011
  • Statement by Jeremy Ben-Ami, Executive Director, on Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza, December 27, 2008

MYTH: J Street U decided not to refer to itself as pro-Israel.

J Street U chapters prominently advertise themselves as pro-Israel, and have never decided to drop the term.

J Street U’s pro-Israel doesn’t have an anti. The students are very cognizant that support for a Palestinian state is a pro-Israel position, making the group both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian.

When these erroneous press reports first came out, J Street U issued a number of statements reaffirming its pledge to being pro-Israel. It stressed that the single most pro-Israel position one can take is to be firmly committed to the achievement of a two-state solution.

MYTH: J Street paid respects to Yasser Arafat’s tomb.

J Street missions to Israel and the West Bank seek to offer a comprehensive view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with insight into many different perspectives. They include meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and activists, Israeli security experts and even members of Israeli settlement communities. In one instance, a J Street tour stopped at Yasser Arafat’s tomb while waiting for another appointment, not to “pay respects,” but to learn about an important piece of the history of the conflict. It is impossible to understand the Palestinian narrative without understanding Arafat’s historical significance. We believe that by understanding the history, narratives and emotions of the past, we will be better equipped to help end the conflict and build a more peaceful future.

MYTH: J Street doesn’t stand with the pro-Israel community when Israel is under attack, as evidenced by its decision to pull out of a rally in Boston on July 17, 2014.

FACT: J Street supporters are deeply attached to Israel and feel just as much pain, fear and sorrow as the rest of the Jewish community when Israel is threatened. In these times of crisis, we want to be able to stand up in our community and express our solidarity with the people of Israel.

Our public record throughout the current military confrontation in Gaza has been unambiguous: we support Israel’s right to defend its citizens.

We have condemned Hamas’ violent tactics and expressed solidarity with the Israeli people who are enduring the unspeakable terror of rocket fire. We have also made clear our anguish over the deaths of Israeli soldiers, Palestinian civilians and our firm belief that the only way to truly end this conflict is through a political solution. We have backed both Egyptian and US efforts to broker a ceasefire agreement, and condemned Hamas for rejecting a truce proposal. We have also raised questions about what we, as a community, can and must do help prevent another violent escalation in the future. These sentiments express what our movement believes being pro-Israel requires of us in times of crisis.

In solidarity with Israel during this difficult time, we have co-sponsored pro-Israel community-wide rallies in Philadelphia and San Diego. While we chose not to co-sponsor one rally in Boston, we sent representatives and mobilized support for the event, just as we have for events in many other communities nationwide.

Our reasons for withdrawing our co-sponsorship from the Boston event are explained by Northeast Regional Director Shaina Wasserman in this letter to Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council.

We decide whether to officially sponsor solidarity rallies based in part on whether the organizers provide an inclusive space for J Street supporters. This does not require the presence of J Street signs or speakers, or even that our views be voiced from the podium, though we would welcome all three. We acknowledge that there are times when the community simply aims to gather the largest possible number to express its depth of solidarity with Israel, requiring a broad and maximally inclusive message. To be clear: we want to be able to be a part of these efforts. What we ask is that we be given the same consideration and access as all other members of the pro-Israel community in shaping that message.

We remain committed to working within the community to build large and inclusive events that voice the breadth and depth of the support that exists for Israel in these times of crisis, and for ensuring its long-term peace and security.

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