J Street’s Ongoing Response to the Israel-Hamas War and Israeli-Palestinian Crisis

In a moment of crisis and war for Israelis and Palestinians, and with events on the ground and in Washington moving fast, it is extremely important for J Street to be clear about where we stand, what we are advocating for, and what we are encouraging the Biden Administration and Members of Congress to do.

Time for Diplomacy

It is time for a negotiated stop to the fighting to bring freedom to the hostages and relief to the people of Gaza.

Read our statement, posted on January 22, 2024


Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, J Street laid out a range of policies and legislation to advance our core principles and priorities in this moment:

  1. We condemn Hamas unequivocally and support Israel’s goal of removing the organization from operational control of Gaza, within the bounds of international law. Hamas is a despicable, inhumane terrorist organization. It has committed clear crimes against humanity. The organization’s leadership must be held accountable and cannot remain in operational control of Gaza post-conflict. Israel’s response to Hamas must differentiate between Hamas and the civilian population of Gaza. Defeating Hamas will require a sustained, multilateral effort involving military engagement, as well coordinated diplomatic and political engagement to cut the supply of finance and weapons, degrade social and political support and isolate the group from its international benefactors.
  2. We support making every possible effort to secure the immediate release of the remaining hostages. Following the recent seven-day cessation of hostilities – which included the release of over 100 hostages from captivity – over 130 hostages remain in Gaza. Military efforts thus far have secured the release of one hostage, and tragically resulted in the deaths of at least three hostages. All efforts, including diplomatic negotiations toward a longer-term halt in the fighting, should be pursued to ensure the safety of hostages and their swift release.
  3. We support a massive commitment to humanitarian relief by the United States that matches its commitment to security assistance for Israel. Congress should approve a supplemental assistance package that includes significant, designated assistance for Gaza civilian relief – the Biden Administration must ensure conditions on the ground enable the rapid delivery of this urgent aid, including further breaks in hostilities. US funding of weapons and equipment for Israel brings with it responsibility for the well-being of the civilians in harm’s way.
  4. We support the Biden Administration’s warnings to Israel that it modify the nature of its military campaign. The Netanyahu government’s large-scale bombing and ground invasion have caused an unfathomable level of civilian casualties, as well as a humanitarian crisis that had led to rising levels of disease, hunger and death. More must be done to protect civilian lives and facilitate humanitarian aid. As the US has stated, continuing the operation in this way is both strategically and morally unacceptable.
  5. We support consideration of alternative strategies and tactics for removing Hamas from operational control of Gaza that minimize harm to Palestinian civilians. The relentless air campaign and the invasion underway on the ground have killed tens of thousands of noncombatants. The Israeli government must consider alternative strategies and heed the advice of military veterans of recent urban combat in Iraq among others offering alternatives. As US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has warned, Israel’s current path risks a “strategic defeat.”
  6. We support the Biden Administration’s efforts to prevent regional escalation. Regional actors from Hezbollah to Iran and other loosely affiliated groups continue to try to expand the field of fighting. The Biden Administration is right to send clear diplomatic and military signals that it does not want escalation but will not hesitate to respond appropriately to those who try to take advantage of or expand this crisis. The Biden administration must continue as well to press Israel to end violence and provocations in the West Bank, aimed at driving Palestinians from their villages and land.
  7. We urge the White House and Congress to impose clear guardrails on Israeli policy as it works to secure further security assistance from Congress in a supplemental aid package. These include ensuring that Israel: take all possible measures to minimize civilian casualties and harm; facilitate robust humanitarian aid; enact zero tolerance for settler violence and bring a halt to all provocative policies and actions on the West Bank and East Jerusalem; and acknowledge that post-conflict arrangements will ultimately result in the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
  8. We call on the President to outline a clear vision to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This conflict did not start on October 7th. It has no military resolution. Only courageous diplomacy to achieve a political resolution leading to a Palestinian state can end this conflict and provide the meaningful security both people crave and the freedom Palestinians must have from occupation, settlements and blockade. J Street has outlined thoughts about how to do this, and we believe the President should commit to recognition of a Palestinian state and lay out a clear vision now of the path to statehood that establishes the rationale for removal of Hamas from operational control of Gaza and clarifies the future the United States envisions.
  9. We urge leaders of all communities – Jewish, Arab, Christian, Muslim and more – to condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia and to express empathy for the suffering of all caught up in this conflict. We are deeply concerned by the upswing in antisemitism, and hate generally, around this conflict. 21st century communications are driving people to extremes, and bad actors are stoking the divisions. All Palestinians cannot be held responsible for the actions of Hamas or other Palestinian groups nor can all Jewish people be held responsible for the actions of the state of Israel.
  10. We call on leaders in politics, education, business and other fields to refrain from silencing opinions they do not like. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of democracy, which must not be a victim of this conflict. Our commitment to fighting antisemitism is ironclad. We believe efforts to silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies by labeling critics of Israeli policy antisemitic only undercuts our efforts to counter this scourge. This admonition applies as well to Israel where we oppose efforts by the government to crack down on organizations expressing alternative viewpoints.

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Since the Hamas attacks on October 7, J Street has issued the following statements/messages:

J Street Welcomes Resetting American Policy on Settlements: ‘Inconsistent with International Law’
February 23, 2024

President Biden Must Forcefully Oppose Netanyahu’s Rafah Escalation Plans, Stress Unavoidable Consequences
February 15, 2024

President Biden: Be Bold
February 13, 2024

J Street Welcomes Renewed Biden Administration Efforts to Broker Hostage Releases, Halt to Gaza War
January 25, 2024

Time for Diplomacy
January 22, 2024

J Street to Biden: Act Now to Save Lives, Hostages, Chance for Long-term Peace
December 21, 2023

J Street Expresses Deep Sympathy Over Hostage Deaths, Urges Renewed Approach
December 15, 2023

Moment of Truth for Israel’s Government: Either Heed Biden Administration Limits Or Lose U.S. Support for Military Operation
December 7, 2023

As Humanitarian Pause Nears End, US Must Demand Change in Israeli Tactics and Must Not Provide a Blank Check for Netanyahu
November 30, 2023

J Street Welcomes Hostage Release and Pause in Fighting; Urges US to Set Red Lines for Netanyahu
November 22, 2023

Defeat Terror, Protect Civilians, Pursue Peace
November 16, 2023

One Month Since October 7
November 7, 2023

Secretary Blinken’s Message to Netanyahu
November 2, 2023

President Biden: Provide Us Light in This Darkness
October 27, 2023

J Street Supports Urgent Calls For Humanitarian Pauses In Israel-Hamas Fighting
October 26, 2023

Israel’s Looming Ground Invasion
October 24, 2023

J Street Statement on Ongoing Israel-Hamas War, Israeli-Palestinian Calamity
October 19, 2023

J Street Calls on Biden Administration to Address Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza, Stress Adherence to International Law
October 13, 2023

Standing with the Israeli People in Pain, Horror and Grief
October 9, 2023

J Street Outraged, Horrified by Hamas Terrorist Onslaught Against Israel
October 7, 2023

Additionally, we have issued statements on specific key issues:

J Street Horrified by Reports of Dozens Killed in Aid Convoy Incident Amid Humanitarian Catastrophe
February 29

J Street Welcomes Senate Security Package, Urges House Passage
February 13

J Street Supports Comprehensive Military Aid Package to Israel, Rejects Republican Ploy
February 5

J Street Welcomes Executive Order Addressing Settler Violence
February 1

J Street Responds to Provisional Measures Ordered by the International Court of Justice in South Africa Petition Against Israel
January 26

J Street Supports Accountability for Israeli Government Actions in International Forums and in the US Congress, Rejects “Genocide” Charge
January 16

J Street Rejects Allegation at International Court of Justice of Genocide In War Against Hamas in Gaza
January 16

US Should Seek Unequivocal Israeli Commitment, in Word and in Deed, Against Mass Transfer of Civilians from Gaza
January 8

J Street Welcomes Israel Supreme Court’s Decision to Uphold Democratic Principles, Urges Netanyahu to Respect Court’s Decision
January 1

J Street to Lobby for Van Hollen Arms Accountability Amendment to the Supplemental
December 8

J Street Welcomes the Biden Administration’s Announcement of Visa Restrictions against Perpetrators of Settler Violence
December 6

Issue Brief: Achieving Israeli-Palestinian Peace in the Wake of the Israel-Hamas War
November 30

J Street Welcomes Senators’ Important Questions to Biden on Israel-Hamas War, Supplemental Military Assistance
November 8

J Street Opposes Inadequate, Politicized GOP Supplemental Bill – Urges Passage of Full Supplemental Aid Package, Including Security and Humanitarian Assistance
October 31

J Street Welcomes Letter to President Biden from 131 Members of Congress on Israel-Hamas War
October 20

J Street Condemns Violence Against Civilians in the West Bank, Calls for Action to Prevent Disaster
October 20

J Street Deeply Concerned Over Anti-Democratic Crackdowns in Israel
October 20

J Street Urges All Possible Action to Protect, Release Hostages in Gaza
October 19

J Street U Alarmed by the Excusing of Hamas War Crimes, Dehumanization of Israelis and Palestinians
October 11

J Street has endorsed the following legislation and Congressional letters, and urged our endorsed candidates to support and sign on to these measures:

Since October 7, J Street has held the following public webinars and virtual gatherings:

J Street’s Statehood Proposal: What You Need to Know | February 7

Tackling the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza | February 7

A Third Narrative: Palestinian Citizens of Israel on a Way Forward | January 31

The Risk of Regional Escalation | January 16

Palestinian Public Opinion with Dr. Khalil Shikaki | January 4

The Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza | November 21

Bring Them Home: The Struggle to Protect & Free Hostages in Gaza | November 9

Challenges and Dilemmas of Israel-Hamas Conflict, with Rep. Jason Crow | October 31

Israel’s Response to Hamas: Strategies and Dilemmas | October 26

Community Gathering with Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi | October 18

Community Gathering: Voices of Survivors, Reflections from our Movement | October 12

Expert Briefing: Terror Onslaught, Israel at War with Hamas | October 10

The Homefront: Challenges to Israeli Society During War | October 6

J Street is supporting organizations working to provide much-needed services to those impacted by the devastating attacks and ongoing crisis:

Click here to contribute to these organizations’ vital work, including medical services for victims and resources for Israelis stranded in the US.

 


In this difficult, painful and incredibly consequential time, there are no easy or simple answers for US policy, for Israelis and Palestinians, or for the pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy movement. We continue to work with J Street U students on dozens of campuses, with rabbis, and with all of our supporters to help them navigate the incredibly divisive responses to this war in their communities. We are striving to do all we can, as best we can, to represent the core values and commitments of our organization and our supporters across the country.