J Street Core Principles
Commitment to and support for the people and the state of Israel.
The future of Israel ultimately depends on achieving a two-state resolution to the conflict with the Palestinian people.
Israel’s supporters have not only the right but the obligation to speak out when we think the policies or actions of the Israeli government are hurting Israel’s and the Jewish people’s long-term interests.
Vibrant but respectful debate about Israel benefits the American Jewish community and Israel.
Our work is grounded in the values on which we were raised.
We believe that the Jewish people have the right to a national home of their own, and 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, and 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.
The Palestinians too must have a national home of their own, living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security. It serves Israel’s and America’s interests, and it is right and just.
Israel must choose among three things: being a Jewish homeland, remaining democratic and maintaining control over all the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. It can only have two — it can only be 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.
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 which infringe on basic human rights.
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 conventional wisdom puts the future of the community at risk
There is a comparably dangerous effort to shut down debate and dissent taking place today in Israel.
These dynamics explain why our community’s younger generation is distancing itself not simply from Israel but from traditional institutions in the community. We’re bringing more pro-Israel, pro-peace activists into the community.
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.