J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement upon news that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down:
J Street welcomes the announcement that Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as President of Egypt. We applaud the bravery of the Egyptian people who have inspired the world through their nonviolent movement to secure an Egypt that guarantees representative government, opportunity and dignity. The cries of the Egyptian people for freedom and democracy have echoed across the globe with people of all races, religions and backgrounds who have known oppression and tyranny. We have all been inspired by the courage of those who, against all odds, took to the streets and changed the world – in particular, the younger generation which has led the way, seeking not only greater freedom but a better future for themselves and their families. We hope that the military council which has taken control of Egypt will fulfill its commitment to hold elections and manage a smooth and rapid transition toward democracy and civilian rule, in keeping with the nonviolent spirit of the people on prominent display before the world these past few weeks. Today, a new chapter opens in the history not just of Egypt, but of the Middle East. We pray it is a chapter rooted in freedom, dignity and respect for others. As Americans, Jews, and friends of Israel, we hope as well it is a chapter rooted in peace, and that the treaty between Israel and Egypt remains, as it has been, a bedrock of stability in a volatile region. The epic changes underway in the broader Arab world have important implications for Israel, beyond simply its bilateral relationship with Egypt, as well as for the United States. It is now even more imperative to seriously pursue a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert provided the following advice this week to his successor Benjamin Netanyahu in light of events in Egypt: "Don’t wait. Move, lead and make history. This is the time. There will not be a better one." The tides of history are with those seeking their freedom, and it is imperative for the United States and Israel to work proactively to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict. Today’s news from Egypt only increases the urgency, making clear once again that in these historic tides, an unsustainable status quo will not hold.