We will rise to this challenge.

Jeremy Ben-Ami Image
Jeremy Ben-Ami
on November 9, 2016

Today is, for many of us, an incredibly sad and difficult day.

For tens of millions of Americans who share a core belief in tolerance, decency and social justice, the election results are a severe shock.

We woke up yesterday with high hopes, only to go to bed feeling grief, anger and despair.

These emotions are real, and they are raw.

In this challenging moment, we turn to one another for comfort and community. With time, we will regain the strength for the fights and challenges ahead.

During this election, J Street made unequivocally clear our conviction that Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States.

Within the American Jewish community, not enough organizations denounced the bigotry and intolerance of his campaign, the fear-mongering and naked appeals to the worst of human nature that should have been disqualifying.

In this respect, nothing has changed. We remain convinced that Donald Trump is beyond a doubt the wrong choice for president.

And Jewish voters overwhelmingly agreed with that assessment.

Exit polling commissioned yesterday by J Street confirms that the vast majority of the Jewish community voted to reject Trump and to stand up against his agenda.

Nonetheless, we respect American democracy and the choice the people have made.

Our task now is to stand up again — this time in defense of our values and our country.

As the political home for American Jews and other pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans, J Street intends to give voice in the days and months ahead to the values of that majority.

We pledge to you that we will be a central address for resisting and working to defeat attempts to undermine the security, democracy and basic decency of our country.

Day one of the Trump administration will bring serious challenges to core elements of J Street’s agenda. Many Republicans have urged, for instance, that the Iran nuclear agreement, which has made the US and Israel safer and helped avoid a potential war, be voided on day one.

Our nation’s 50-year commitment to the two-state solution will likely be called into question early on, with advocates of Israeli annexation of the West Bank given a seat at the national security table.

Beyond our core agenda, we intend to play an expanded role in fighting efforts to fundamentally alter US law and policy touching on our core values and beliefs.

We will fight any policy grounded in bigotry and discrimination against Muslims, refugees and other vulnerable populations.

We will stand up for immigrants, with whom our community feels such deep solidarity.

We will speak out against extreme foreign policy prescriptions and attempts to use military force to address conflicts when there are diplomatic options available.

This may well expand the role J Street envisioned when we were founded eight years ago — but these challenging times demand a meaningful response.

Over the last eight years, J Street has grown in size and support, and so has our influence and capabilities.

It is our responsibility to put that influence to work to defend our core values and principles.

Amidst the distress last night, we still can note encouraging signs of our growing strength.

99 Members of the incoming Congress (over half the Democratic Caucus) and 19 Senators are J Street-endorsed — a record.

We supported 124 candidates with a record $3.6 million, raising more through our PAC than nearly all other pro-Israel PACs combined.

Not one Member of Congress who we endorsed and who supported the Iran deal lost their seat to a deal opponent.

Instead, two of the most persistent opponents of the successful diplomacy that defanged Iran’s nuclear program were defeated. In Illinois, Rep. Tammy Duckworth unseated Senator Mark Kirk. And in New Hampshire, Governor Maggie Hassan took down Senator Kelly Ayotte.

In light of the presidential outcome, these victories offer small comfort — but they are important and we will build on them in the weeks ahead.

A candidate who unleashed hate, fear and recklessness temporarily gained the upper hand last night in this nation’s core political fight.

We learned again that elections matter, and have far-reaching implications for this country, for Israel and for the world.

But those of us who believe in a better future are not without tools, resources and strength.

The pendulum of history has swung in the wrong direction, as it has many times before. Working together, we can and will swing it back.

Toward the principles that have shaped and guided us as a people and as individuals.

Toward justice and peace.

So today, let’s take the needed time to heal our wounds, comfort each other and let out our frustrations.

And, tomorrow, let’s get back to work. The stakes are too high to give up.

As always, we welcome your thoughts. Even if you just need to vent, we’re here. I can’t promise I’ll be able to respond, but I’ll promise we’ll read and take to heart what you have to share.

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J Street's 2016 Election HQ