The formation of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history is deeply troubling for J Street and all those who care about Israeli democracy, human rights, and long-term hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace. The new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rewarding some of the most extreme figures in Israeli politics with key roles, and is preparing to enact highly destructive policies. Now is the time for the US government, and friends and allies of Israel, to speak out – and prepare to take action to keep this radical coalition in check.
Within the State of Israel itself, the new government threatens to undermine an alarming range of democratic institutions and freedoms – from the independence of the Supreme Court, to the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people, to the education system and Jewish pluralism.
In the occupied Palestinian Territory, settlement movement leader Bezalel Smotrich will exercise control over the occupation and settlement expansion via a new ministerial role within the Department of Defense, while the Kahanist convicted terror supporter Itamar Ben-Gvir will oversee Israel’s internal police and border police as National Security Minister. Advocates of unilaterally annexing the occupied territory will have far more power in this government than ever before. It’s no exaggeration to say that pyromaniacs are being handed responsibility for an already incendiary, deteriorating situation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
As a pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy organization committed to a US-Israel relationship rooted in shared democratic values, J Street urges the Biden Administration and Congress to stand up clearly for the key principles and commitments that this government will undoubtedly threaten.
J Street has enumerated a number of concrete steps that the Biden Administration should take to reinforce and five weight to long-held, traditionally bipartisan US positions. These urgent policy recommendations can be found here.
J Street will continue to press our political and communal leaders to be just as committed to Israel’s democracy as we are to its security. We will continue to champion the democratic rights of all Israeli citizens, as well as those of the millions of Palestinians who live under Israeli authority without civil and political rights.