Tell Israeli PM Netanyahu: Treat J Street & the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement as allies

March 21, 2011

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami and J Street Board Chair Davidi Gilo are in Israel this week to participate in a Knesset committee debate on whether J Street deserves to carry the tagline “pro-Israel.” [1] They plan to introduce J Street to the Knesset and to the Israeli public. J Street is collecting petitions and letters addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu from pro-Israel, pro-peace activists like you telling him that it’s time to embrace our movement as an ally of Israel and to abandon efforts to push those who disagree with the government’s policy out of the communal tent. The petition reads: “J Street’s pro-Israel, pro-peace views represent a large segment of American Jewry. We should be welcomed as allies by Israel’s leaders.” J Street’s representatives will tell the Knesset about how we started J Street to send an unmistakable message that a huge constituency of Americans sees Israel’s future hanging in the balance in the absence of a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is a matter of self-preservation – as well as justice. We’ll also relay the deep love and dedication we have to Israel, and why we work day in and day out to advance the peace that will be the only way Israel knows security as a Jewish, democratic homeland. J Street has asked to meet with the Prime Minister while in Israel. We’ve asked to meet with him many times – to introduce ourselves and explain how we can work together as allies, even though we disagree at times on policy. The short answer has been “no.” Yet,  while the Prime Minister doesn’t have time to meet a movement that now represents over 170,000 pro-Israel, pro-peace supporters, he has time to host Sarah Palin for dinner Monday night. [2] It’s sad that this Government has such a narrow political definition of friendship – welcoming Palin and Mike Huckabee, but not J Street. [3] We call on the Israeli government to open its doors. Get to know us and the large part of American Jewry we represent – deep supporters of the state and people of Israel, and deeply committed to ending its conflict with the Palestinians now, before it’s too late to save Israel as a Jewish and a democratic home.