In response to the results of Tuesday’s Israeli election, J Street’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement:
“Last night’s election results in Israel are deeply troubling for all who care about Israel and about liberal democracy globally — for those whose core values of justice, equality and freedom are fundamentally at odds with those of the parties and leaders who stand on the cusp of victory.
Of course, Americans didn’t have a vote in yesterday’s election, and we respect the outcome even as we declare our staunch opposition to the dangerous policies and ideology of those who won. The likely formation of an ultra-right Netanyahu government should force a moment of serious reckoning for all Americans who care about the nature of the US-Israel relationship and a just, equal and democratic future for both Israelis and Palestinians.
J Street has long stressed that a relationship based on an ‘Israel right or wrong’ approach that tolerates without meaningful objection settlements, discrimination and endless occupation serves no one’s interests – not the United States’, not the State of Israel’s, and not the Jewish people’s. Under the looming ultra-right Israeli government that may take shape, that business-as-usual approach will be strained to untenable limits. Pro-Israel Americans and the US government must align our policies with our values.
The Biden administration and Congress must do more than give lip service to a commitment to equal measures of peace, justice and self-determination for both peoples – they must take action. At a minimum, the administration must immediately make clear that the US government unequivocally opposes unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank.
American Jewish groups in the United States must also stand up for justice, democracy and diplomacy – and refuse to normalize racism, incitement, and discrimination. If we truly believe that the US-Israel relationship should be grounded in our shared democratic values, we must be committed as much to Israel’s democracy as we are to its security. Groups should follow the lead of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Progressive Israel Network and other international diaspora groups in condemning “Jewish Power” and their allies – instead of ignoring or excusing the threat they pose.
J Street will continue to make clear that there is no contradiction in supporting Israel’s secure, democratic future while unapologetically championing the rights of all citizens of Israel, and the rights of those who live under its military occupation. We will stand up to anyone willing to sacrifice their commitment to democracy here at home and in Israel in order to promote lockstep, unthinking support of the Israeli government.”