The Israel Project drops "ethnic cleansing" term from its materials

February 13, 2011

The following was sent to J Street members earlier today.

In early July, nearly 10,000 J Street members asked The Israel Project to drop their use of the term “ethnic cleansing” to describe stopping settlements.

Late yesterday, The Israel Project’s President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi finally did the right thing and eliminated the term “ethnic cleansing” from her organization’s materials.

Congratulations. This is your victory – and proof that our online activism works.

With our online actions, we exposed The Israel Project’s use of the term “ethnic cleansing” and their defense of settlements in the media – and caused the organization to reconsider using the term in the pro-settlement talking points they were distributing to Members of Congress and the media.

This is a good first step for Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi and The Israel Project. Describing stopping settlements as “ethnic cleansing” does not help either the cause of Israel or the two-state solution peace process that is Israel’s only hope of security as a Jewish democracy.

I hope that The Israel Project and other members of the pro-Israel community use this opportunity to take a serious look at the sorts of defenses we mount for Israeli government policies in the press and on Capitol Hill. While we must defend Israel from its real enemies, supporting Israel cannot be conflated with being pro-settlement.

As Edgar Bronfman, a prominent Jewish philanthropist and supporter of the Birthright program that sends young Jewish adults to Israel for the first time, said this week in the Huffington Post:

“[Supporting President Obama’s call for a full settlement freeze in the West Bank] is the only approach you can take if you truly love Israel and care about its survival. A peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with two states for two peoples, is the only realistic way for Israel to ensure its Jewish and democratic character, and hence its existence.”