J Street responds to The Israel Project’s likening of settlement removal to "ethnic cleansing"

July 10, 2009

J Street Campaigns Director Isaac Luria issued the following statement today:

It is time for The Israel Project and its supporters to consider whether the important effort they launched several years ago is actually advancing or undermining the purpose for which it was established – promoting and improving the image of the State of Israel. Does likening the dismantling of illegal settlements in occupied territories – a policy supported by the U.S. for several administrations and enacted by the Ariel Sharon and Menachem Begin governments – to ‘ethnic cleansing’ enhance Israel advocacy or damage it? Does allying the pro-Israel community further with Pastor John Hagee by appearing at his conference hurt or help – even after he was seen in the last election cycle to be so far outside the mainstream of American politics that even the campaign of John McCain rejected his endorsement? In fact, does the very concept of “Israel-right-or-wrong” advocacy really work on an issue and in a time when solving this problem requires recognition of complexity and nuance? We urge the entire pro-Israel community to consider these questions thoughtfully as we work to bring security and peace to Israel.

J Street is running an online advocacy campaign asking The Israel Project’s Executive Director Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi to remove any pro-settlement, fear-mongering talking points from her organization’s materials.