The release of Amnesty International’s new report on human rights in Israel and the territory it occupies shines another bright spotlight on the injustice of Israel’s occupation and the illegality of deepening de facto annexation of the territory it has occupied since 1967. The ongoing denial of fundamental rights and freedoms to millions of Palestinians in occupied territory runs counter to the values on which Israel was founded and undermines its security and international standing.
J Street does not endorse the findings or the recommendations of the report, nor do we use the word “apartheid” to describe the situation on the ground. At the same time, we urge Israel and its friends around the world not to use issues with the report as an excuse to avoid grappling with the day-in and day-out realities of occupation and the moral and strategic catastrophe it represents for Israelis and for Palestinians.
Supporters of Israel who pour time, energy and resources into attacking anti-occupation activists and human rights organizations are failing to address the very real threat to Israel’s future posed by never-ending occupation. Those who level false charges of antisemitism against such activists and experts do a further disservice to the critical fight against the very real scourge of antisemitism.
J Street believes that the state of Israel as a democratic national homeland for the Jewish people is historically just and necessary. The 55-year occupation of territory by Israel and the illegal, gradual de facto annexation of that territory through relentless settlement expansion is counter to Israel’s own interests and a violation of core Jewish and democratic values.
J Street intends to focus its energy on working toward a political resolution to the conflict and an end to the occupation, which we believe is the only way to provide a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.