The March 3 op-ed, “Palestine is about America” stated, “Lobbies like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the only superficially more progressive J-Street continue to strong-arm congressmen and presidents alike to swear their allegiance to Israel and hound those who dare voice even tepid dissent, such as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.”
J Street, the political home for Pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans, welcomes open dialogue and even “tepid dissent” concerning Israel, as part of an effort to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and further a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. J Street’s official stance on Secretary Hagel in fact hailed him as “one of the most thoughtful voices in Washington for two decades on questions relating to American policy in the Middle East,” and defended him amidst “an outrageous smear campaign based on a distorted view of his record.” For more on J Street’s stance on Secretary Hagel, see the 2012 press release titled, “J Street Supports Sen. Hagel, Rebuts Charges Against Him.”
Israelis and Palestinians have been mired in conflict and distrust since 1948. J Street’s explicit support of Secretary Hagel, as well as other US politicians willing to constructively challenge the traditional rhetoric surrounding Israel, stems from the belief that American involvement is vital for bringing about a just, bilateral peace agreement. A secure, democratic state of Israel and a free, autonomous state of Palestine are contingent upon active American support.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a delicate political and humanitarian issue. Distortion of facts regarding any facet of American involvement in the conflict and the ongoing peace process, be it a politician’s political record or an advocacy group’s true stance, serves only to keep peace at bay.
J Street U Tufts Executive Board Member