We’re thankful for the principles and values that brought us here.

November 26, 2014

As many of us head to Thanksgiving gatherings, there is a strong temptation to forget, if only for a few days, the bleak news coming out of Israel and the Middle East.

If ever we needed a time-out, this is the moment.

But once the break is over, I intend to recommit myself to the cause I believe in so deeply–the struggle to preserve Israel’s future as a homeland for the Jewish people and as a democracy. I hope I can count on you to be by my side.

I have to admit that those of us raised to believe in peace, justice and equality can’t help but feel that things are heading in the wrong direction and are largely out of our control.

Yet there’s one thing we absolutely can control: how we respond.

Each of us has a choice to consider over the long holiday weekend with family and friends–and one we can contemplate as we head toward the fresh start of a new year.

One option is to throw up our hands and walk away out of frustration, anger and despair.

The only winner when you walk away from a tough fight is your opponent. Difficult as this battle is, the very values we care most deeply about will be the biggest losers if we give up now.

The other option–the one we in this movement choose–is to stand and fight for what we believe. To work even harder to build the strength to win.

Even amid all the bad news, I know I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday weekend. I am grateful to those who came before me in my own family and for the choices they made and the battles they fought that saved lives and ensured my future and my children’s future.

And I am grateful to those who chose to fight seemingly unwinnable battles in prior generations that overcame discrimination, rolled back injustice, and made our world a far better place.

To me, the choice over how we deal with this moment in J Street’s work is clear. I’m not saying the road ahead is easy, but I promise that we will fight in the days, weeks and months ahead with everything we’ve got for the values and principles we hold most dear. And like our gratitude to our ancestors, future generations will look back and be thankful for our indefatigable commitment and work to ensure a better future for them as well.

– Jeremy Ben-Ami