Israeli Crackdown on Settlers in Hebron

December 4, 2008

Jeremy Ben-Ami, Executive Director of J Street, issued the following statement on December 4, 2008, in response to the Israeli Crackdown on Settlers in Hebron:

“The evacuation of the “House of Contention” today in Hebron is a welcome and long-overdue assertion of authority by the Israeli government over a situation that has been allowed to spiral out of control.  With today’s action by Israeli security forces and the statements of both Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Barak, the state of Israel is now hopefully committed to ending a sad chapter of its history in which settler extremists rather than the rule of law set the agenda for Israel on the West Bank.

“It is essential that the message of today’s action by the Israeli government be heard loudly and clearly by the American Jewish community. Too much of the funding for extremist settlers in the West Bank comes from the United States under the guise of respectable sounding institutions with mainstream names.  Groups like the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund are actively working to undermine the possibility of a peaceful two-state solution to the conflict by continuing to financially underwrite the right-wing settler presence in Hebron.  Elegant fundraisers in posh hotels in reality fuel the fires that the Israeli government must now extinguish before they consume the state of Israel itself.

“The actions of settler extremists represent a grave threat to Israel’s democracy and its security.  Americans who truly care about Israel and seek to secure its future as a democratic home for the Jewish people have for too long turned a blind eye to the damage being done with funds and support raised here that propel the settlers and their destructive agenda.

“As the Prime Minister and government of Israel made clear today, there is little else that is as pro-Israel than acting against this extremism before it is too late.”