J Street responds to Neve Gordon’s "Boycott Israel" op-ed

August 25, 2009

This week, the Los Angeles Times ran a letter to the editor from J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami in response to an August 20th op-ed by Neve Gordon titled “Boycott Israel.” J Street believes that calls for boycotts and sanctions undermine our ability to achieve a two-state solution and regional, comprehensive peace.  Instead, we strongly support the course of engagement and dialogue outlined by President Obama.  Here is Jeremy’s full letter to the editor:

Gordon expresses the frustration many feel at the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict — including many of us who care deeply about Israel’s future. The answer, however, isn’t to divest, boycott or sanction — steps that deepen Israel’s sense of isolation and increase the antagonism that surrounds the issue. Instead, let’s invest our energy in a positive campaign to support what is likely to be a serious push by President Obama to achieve a two-state solution and broader regional peace. Ideologues on all sides will oppose the president. Let all of goodwill who seek a just, two-state resolution rally to support him. Jeremy Ben-Ami Washington The writer is the executive director of J Street, a Jewish group in Washington that advocates for Mideast peace.

An additional note: While J Street opposes boycotts and sanctions against Israel, believing they are wrong and actually undercut efforts to achieve a two-state solution, we are also firmly committed to freedom of speech and to academic freedom. Though we disagree with Prof. Gordon, calls for his removal or firing because of his editorial are inappropriate and only serve to limit healthy and open debate and discussion about the best way to secure Israel’s future.