J Street statement on Obama-Netanyahu meeting

May 18, 2009

After today’s meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement:

J Street commends President Barack Obama on restating today his commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his serious intent to pursue a viable and sustainable resolution to the broader Arab-Israeli conflict. Peace and security for Israel and the Middle East will require more than half-steps and further process.  It requires the United States to, as the President said, “roll up our sleeves” and be seriously engaged in the diplomatic process. J Street hopes that Prime Minister Netanyahu will act boldly and wisely in partnership with President Obama to make peace not simply with the Palestinians, but with the entire Muslim and Arab worlds, as discussed by both leaders today. Progress will require serious American leadership, full Israeli and Palestinian commitment, a regional approach, and international engagement.  As the President made clear, progress toward Israeli-Arab peace will help Israel, the United States and our allies to deal seriously with the threat posed by Iran. Today’s meeting was a first step on a difficult road that must be navigated skillfully and quickly before time runs out on the two-state solution and Israel is forced to choose between its democratic nature and its Jewish heritage. President Obama should know that the majority of American Jews support the direction he outlined and his commitment to actively pursue peace and security. We welcome as well his forceful statements that settlements must be stopped, Palestinian violence and weapons smuggling must end, and the humanitarian situation in Gaza must be addressed.