Myths & Facts:
Our Policies

MYTH: J Street did not explicitly oppose the Palestinian bid at the United Nations.

FACT: In 2012, J Street chose not to support or oppose the United Nations resolution to make Palestine a non-member state observer. As an organization dedicated to securing Israel’s Jewish and democratic future through the achievement of a two-state solution, we chose to focus on where we could have a real impact. Given that it was near-certain that the General Assembly would support the resolution, it was the actions of Israeli, Palestinian and American leaders in the critical days after the vote that would determine whether the resolution’s passage would advance or set back the prospects for the two-state solution. Subsequently, we focused on building support for sustained diplomatic leadership from the US to help Israel and the Palestinians reach a peace agreement. We also worked to defeat actions that could have sabotaged peace efforts, particularly attempts to punish the Palestinians for their UN bid by cutting funding to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and closing their mission to the US.

Read our statement explaining our position.

MYTH: J Street has not opposed Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

J Street believes that Iran obtaining nuclear weapons would pose a very serious threat to American and Israeli interests and to peace and stability in the Middle East and around the world. The United States has a fundamental interest, along with Israel and the international community, in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

J Street has consistently supported proactive American leadership to address this threat. We have supported a comprehensive and multilateral approach, including tough sanctions and active diplomacy. To that end, J Street has lobbied for the passage of strong sanctions against the Iranian regime and the Iranian nuclear program. We have strongly supported diplomatic efforts to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat, and we have opposed legislative attempts to undermine or sabotage diplomacy.

This strategy of sanctions and diplomacy has proven incredibly successful, compelling Iran back to the negotiating table for talks with world powers and culminating in the JCPOA nuclear agreement between Iran and the nations of the P5+1, reached in July 2015. J Street proudly advocated in support of the agreement as a major achievement that made Americans and Israelis safer.

The agreement has blocked all Iranian pathways to a nuclear weapon and brought inspectors unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear facilities. Without firing a shot or putting American and Israeli lives in harm’s way, it has addressed a major strategic threat.

Of course, the Iranian remains a malignant regional actor in its hateful rhetoric toward Israel and the United States, in its numerous human rights violations, and in its sponsorship of international terror. All of these activities were beyond the scope of the nuclear agreement, which focused on the specific threat of the nuclear program. J Street supports active US efforts to address and counter this Iranian behavior, including via strong sanctions. At the same time, we will oppose any legislative efforts to undermine or roll back the terms and accomplishments of the JCPOA.

J Street favors the United States negotiating with Hamas.

J Street believes that Hamas’ consistent opposition to the peace process, its support for terror against Israeli civilians, its use of violence for political purposes and its repeated denial of the Holocaust are all reprehensible and abominable.

We also recognize that one makes peace with one’s enemies, not one’s friends. Hamas is a political movement that has an important and significant base of support within Palestinian society and politics. Ultimately, a political resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require Palestinian political reconciliation between the West Bank and Gazan polities.

While we oppose official contact with Hamas until it meets the Quartet’s conditions, we would not oppose a decision by the Israeli government, the US, or other countries to find unofficial, indirect ways to engage Hamas in order to advance US and Israeli interests. For instance, it is important to remember that this Israeli government and prior ones have engaged indirectly with Hamas over such issues as bringing home Gilad Shalit and achieving ceasefires that halt rocket attacks against Israel.

MYTH: In March 2012, J Street misstated the number of Palestinian civilians killed in clashes with the Israel Defense Forces.

J Street acknowledged that it had misstated the number of civilians killed by the Israel Defense Forces and issued a correction.

MYTH: J Street supported the United Nations Goldstone Report.

J Street is opposed to one-sided and biased action at the United Nations based on the Goldstone Report, and had the Security Council considered a resolution referring charges against Israel to the International Criminal Court, we would have urged the United States to exercise its veto.

The United Nations and other international bodies such as the Human Rights Council have a demonstrable history of bias against Israel and have focused disproportionate attention on Israel at the expense of numerous other serious human rights crises around the globe.

We urged Israel to launch its own credible, independent investigation as it has at several critical points in its history. In this, we echoed the position of many leading Israelis, notably including former Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, former Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak. Israel conducted its own investigation, the details of which can be read here.

We oppose efforts to personally demonize both Judge Goldstone and Israeli human rights advocates and their supporters. There is ample room in a vibrant democracy for disagreement over matters of principle without the need to resort to ad hominem attacks.

We urge fellow critics of the report to confine their attacks and critiques to the substance and methodology of the report and the appropriate measures that should and should not be taken going forward, and not the characters of those who created it or brought violations to light.

MYTH: J Street facilitated Capitol Hill meetings for Judge Goldstone and, as a result, Colette Avital is no longer involved with J Street.

The Washington Times falsely reported that J Street set up meetings for Judge Goldstone on Capitol Hill, a lie exposed by JTA. Former Israeli consul general Colette Avital remained actively involved with J Street and joined J Street for a speaking tour in October 2010. Ambassador Avital’s statement on the false Washington Times report is available here.

MYTH: J Street opposed congressional letters on the Gaza flotilla.

 J Street did not oppose the US House and Senate letters about the flotilla incident, but urged members of Congress to seek changes to the letters or write their own.

Though the sign-on letters expressed strong American support for Israel–a position we endorse– they failed to address the impact of the closure of Gaza on the civilian population, the deep American interest in resolving this conflict diplomatically, or the urgency of moving forward with diplomacy before it is too late. By ignoring these critical issues in favor of a simplistic statement that supports Israeli policy and actions, the letters served neither the best interests of the United States nor of Israel.

The letter J Street sent to members of Congress is available here.

J Street’s statement from the day of the flotilla incident is available here.

MYTH: J Street supported the 2011 UN resolution on settlements.

J Street urged the United States and Israel to prevent a UN Security Council vote on this resolution by clearly laying out a bold vision for peace or freezing Israeli settlement construction.

We do believe that Israel has been unfairly singled out at the UN and hope never to see Israel publicly taken to task in that forum. However, we argued that–if the resolution came to a vote–it would undermine America’s credibility and policy to veto a resolution that so closely tracked US policy across eight bipartisan administrations and called on both parties to take necessary steps for peace.

MYTH: J Street defended President Obama’s choice of Mary Robinson to receive a Medal of Freedom.

J Street never issued a single statement related to Mary Robinson.

Individuals associated with J Street’s public relations firm may have done some personal work on the issue–but that had nothing to do with J Street, just as that firm’s work for dozens of other clients is completely unrelated to J Street.

Other topics: