Does J Street Stand With the pro-Israel community when Israel is under attack?

July 22, 2014

Myth: J Street doesn’t stand with the pro-Israel community when Israel is under attack, as evidenced by its decision to pull out of a rally in Boston on July 17, 2014.

Fact: J Street supporters are deeply attached to Israel and feel just as much pain, fear and sorrow as the rest of the Jewish community when Israel is threatened. In these times of crisis, we want to be able to stand up in our community and express our solidarity with the people of Israel.

Our public record throughout the current military confrontation in Gaza has been unambiguous: we support Israel’s right to defend its citizens.

We have condemned Hamas’ violent tactics and expressed solidarity with the Israeli people who are enduring the unspeakable terror of rocket fire. We have also made clear our anguish over the deaths of Israeli soldiers, Palestinian civilians and our firm belief that the only way to truly end this conflict is through a political solution. We have backed both Egyptian and US efforts to broker a ceasefire agreement, and condemned Hamas for rejecting a truce proposal. We have also raised questions about what we, as a community, can and must do help prevent another violent escalation in the future. These sentiments express what our movement believes being pro-Israel requires of us in times of crisis.

In solidarity with Israel during this difficult time, we have co-sponsored pro-Israel community-wide rallies in Philadelphia and San Diego. While we chose not to co-sponsor one rally in Boston, we sent representatives and mobilized support for the event, just as we have for events in many other communities nationwide.

Our reasons for withdrawing our co-sponsorship from the Boston event are explained by Northeast Regional Director Shaina Wasserman in this letter to Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council.

We decide whether to officially sponsor solidarity rallies based in part on whether the organizers provide an inclusive space for J Street supporters. This does not require the presence of J Street signs or speakers, or even that our views be voiced from the podium, though we would welcome all three. We acknowledge that there are times when the community simply aims to gather the largest possible number to express its depth of solidarity with Israel, requiring a broad and maximally inclusive message. To be clear: we want to be able to be a part of these efforts. What we ask is that we be given the same consideration and access as all other members of the pro-Israel community in shaping that message.

We remain committed to working within the community to build large and inclusive events that voice the breadth and depth of the support that exists for Israel in these times of crisis, and for ensuring its long-term peace and security.

See other myths, and get the facts: J Street’s Myths and Facts page.