On Wednesday, the Council of Major Jewish Organizations will vote on whether to admit J Street as one of its constituent organizations. Currently, the council has approximately 50 organizations under its umbrella.
J Street lobbies heavily to direct U.S. policy in Israel’s favor. It claims to be the “political home of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans fighting for the future of Israel,” and that in order to obtain that peace there has to be “a Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace and security.”
Very noble goals, to be sure. After all, who is against peace?
Unfortunately, when J Street uses the word “peace,” it really means that it wants Israel to capitulate to the demands of the Palestinians. If only the so-called hardliners would yield the “West Bank” to the Palestinians, peace would reign over the region! Perversely considering the Jews to be at fault for the violence and terrorism, for the deaths of innocent Israeli civilians blown up by terrorist bombs, J Street ideology blames the victims rather than the perpetrators of violence.
J Street’s stance represents a pathetic reformulation of the failed “Land for Peace” slogan of the 1980s and 1990s. Israel has seen the tragic dividends of such a policy of shrinking its borders for so-called peace. It gave up the entire Sinai desert, an important strategic buffer zone captured at the cost of many hundreds of Israeli soldiers. In return, it received a tenuous cold peace with Egypt, whose government has consistently sponsored anti-Semitic articles and broadcasts.
Israel unilaterally gave up the Gaza Strip under international pressure. People had questioned why Israel should support a few thousand residents surrounded by more than a million Palestinians. There was much hand-wringing about the “oppression” of the “occupation.” And the IDF was tying up troops in Gaza, constantly battling stone-throwers and terrorists. So who needed that overcrowded strip of land, anyway? Furthermore, the Gaza withdrawal was supposed to be a pilot project of a larger peace plan, a prototype for future Palestinian self-determination that would eventually encompass Yehudah and Shomron. If only the Palestinians would be granted some autonomy, then they would develop a democratic state alongside Israel. The Gaza withdrawal was portrayed as a litmus test of what kind of nation the Palestinians would build given the autonomy to do so.
The Palestinians failed that test miserably. Instead of a democratic Palestinian state on its border, Israel now has a terrorist state committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. Where at one time the IDF had to worry about rocks as the offensive weapon of choice, the army now has to defend the citizens of southern Israel against missiles that directly target civilians. Southern Israel has turned into a deadly shooting gallery, where residents sometimes only have seconds to scramble into a shelter.
A similar scenario greeted the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. Consistently condemned for its presence in Lebanon, which the rest of the world called an “occupation,” Israel pulled out. In exchange for relinquishing that security zone, Israel now has an Iranian-supported Hizbullah armed with thousands of missiles pointing at her.
Can J Street explain how giving up more land in Yehudah and Shomron would lead to more peace? Why doesn’t J Street demand that the Abbas
government, now that they are allied with Hamas, fully dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza as a precondition for any further negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians?
In exchange for land, Israel has not received peace, but continued vicious hostility, terrorism and missiles.
J Street also supports the notion that areas of East Jerusalem should “become the capital of the future Palestinian state.” That would place the most sacred place to Jews, the Kosel, under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian state. There are no historical grounds for such capitulation. Jerusalem was never an Arab capital and there is no reason to insist that it should become one now. According to the Turkish census of Jerusalem in 1845, there were 7,120 Jews in the city and 5,000 Muslims. Even when Jordan controlled Jerusalem, it was Amman that remained the Jordanian capital. But J Street thinks relinquishing Jerusalem will bring peace — so why not just hand it over?
Despite different viewpoints regarding the course the United States should take to support Israel, American Jews have always understood that it is the Israeli people who know what is best for their own security. It is vitally important not to undermine the efforts of its democratically-elected government when negotiating with those sworn to its destruction.