J Street urges American Jews to heed Secretary of State John Kerry’s powerful call to get behind peace efforts and work urgently to secure Israel’s future and democracy through a two-state solution.
In a speech to the American Jewish Committee, Kerry laid out a compelling case for why his efforts to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to peace talks are so vital for both sides, the region and the world.
He said a two-state solution, with the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, was the only viable path that ensured Israel’s future as a democracy and a Jewish homeland and that promised a future of peace and security. The alternative was conflict without end, he said.
“Secretary Kerry’s speech encapsulated everything that J Street believes in and has been working for,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “He laid out a challenge to American Jews to vocalize our support for the two-state solution and in so doing, help secure Israel’s future. It is up to our community, our leaders, activists and members to respond to this charge and fulfill our historic responsibility by joining Kerry’s ‘great constituency for peace’.”
Kerry said this might be the last opportunity for a two-state solution. “We’re running out of time,” he said. “We may not get another chance.”
Kerry said that the United States is committed to Israel’s security and also recognizes Palestinian aspirations to have their own state. He noted that the Palestinian Authority was committed to non-violence and asked his listeners to imagine what might happen if it were to collapse and warned that the status quo was not sustainable.
Kerry also refuted comparisons with Israel’s unilateral withdrawals from south Lebanon and Gaza. A withdrawal from the West Bank, he said, would be part of a negotiated peace treaty backed by the weight of the international community.
Kerry pronounced his belief that both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas are partners for peace. While calling on American Jewry to elevate their voice in support of two-states, he affirmed that we would not be alone, referencing the breadth of support that exists in the Arab world for a regional, comprehensive agreement. He challenged American Jews to get behind him. “No one has a stronger voice in this than the American Jewish community… Send the message that you are behind this hopeful vision.”