J Street opposes Israel’s right to defend itself with military force, as was illustrated by J Street’s opposition to Israeli military action against Hamas in Gaza.
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 also believe, however, that it is equally important to Israel’s long-term survival and security to achieve a negotiated, diplomatic two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to define internationally accepted borders for Israel, and to gain broader diplomatic acceptance of Israel in the Middle East.
We believed that Israel’s military action in Gaza was both understandable and justifiable. No country can be expected to absorb thousands of rockets without the right to respond militarily.
To us, the question was whether the specific military action actually advanced Israeli interests and security in the long-term and whether there weren’t alternative strategies for ending the violence from Gaza through negotiation.
When it comes to Operation Cast Lead, here is the actual statement that we put out (link):
While this morning’s air strikes by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza can be understood and even justified in the wake of recent rocket attacks, we believe that real friends of Israel recognize that escalating the conflict will prove counterproductive, igniting further anger in the region and damaging long-term prospects for peace and stability.
Respecting Israel’s right to defend itself, we urge leaders there to recognize that there is no military solution to what is fundamentally a political conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
We stand by that statement and believe that the ongoing blockade of Gaza and the consequent human suffering being experienced by the people of Gaza is not advancing Israel’s interests and is in fact sowing the seeds of further violence and devastation if there is no political resolution to the conflict in the near future.