J Street Response to Morally Repugnant Advertisement Campaign

September 24, 2012

J Street was founded on the idea that there are many ways to be pro-Israel, but Pamela Geller’s conflation of the hatred of Muslims with support for the Jewish homeland certainly isn’t one of them. Her latest billboard and bus-side screed is morally repugnant and a distortion of Jewish values and Jewish aspirations for the State of Israel.

While a vigorous and wide ranging debate about the critical issues affecting Israel serves to strengthen our community’s relationship with Israel and our country’s policy towards it, Geller aims to set the Jewish community on a collision course with the whole of Islam and with the values that have bound us together as a people for millennia—the love of justice, the love of Israel and the love of the stranger as ourselves.

Israel’s democratic and Jewish character depends on it forging a lasting peace with its neighbors. This is a political problem which requires a political solution, and if we relegate this conflict, as Geller has, to the realm of a religious holy war, and reduce the concept of “pro-Israel” to a zero sum game, we will drive both parties even further apart and resign ourselves to interminable conflict and violence.

The Jewish community has a long tradition of confronting prejudice and discrimination wherever it arises, because we know all too well what can happen when persecution of minorities goes unchallenged. J Street is proud to stand with our colleagues in the Jewish community in denouncing these ads.

We are committed to promoting open and civil dialogue regarding Israel, and we encourage other Jewish organizations to join us in opposing all attempts to inflame and divide our community.