J Street is profoundly dismayed by the recent comments of Dani Dayan, Israel’s incoming Consul General in New York, in which he described our organization as “anti-Israel” and “un-Jewish.”
We proudly represent the mainstream beliefs of a large segment of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans and of American Jews, including over 850 rabbis and cantors on our Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet. Particularly in New York, where Mr. Dayan will be posted, he will find the beliefs of many in the Jewish community more in line with our world view than his. He will find it more fruitful to engage in substantive debate on the issues in his new post, than to engage in personal attacks on the large number of Jews in the New York area and across the country who disagree with him. These kinds of slurs impugning our faith should simply be out-of-bounds for an official emissary of the Israeli government.
We appreciate that Mr. Dayan has subsequently acknowledged that his words were “somewhat undiplomatic” — though we wish he would go further and admit that they were flat-out wrong.
As we noted in our response to Mr. Dayan’s appointment, we have many disagreements with him, particularly over his long-time opposition to the two-state solution and championing of the settlement movement. But we also observed that he has shown himself willing to engage in dialogue and debate with those he disagrees with, including J Street. Dayan himself has also now said that “I always made a point of maintaining an open dialogue with [J Street’s] leaders and missions. I am often criticized by my colleagues for that but I am proud of doing it.”
We hope that our future engagement with Mr. Dayan can move forward in that spirit of respectful dialogue and debate.