Letter: JStreet responds to letter

Neil Dunski’s letter concerning J Street requires correction and clarification. Name-calling and labeling do little to advance serious dialogue and conversation in the Jewish community.  J Street may disagree as much with Mr. Dunski’s views as he does with ours, but we would call his views misguided, not “anti-Israel.”  

J Street and our 160,000 supporters are working to ensure the long-term survival and security of the state of Israel as both a democracy and the national home of the Jewish people.  We have raised well over $11 million in operating and political funds in two and a half years, from over 10,000 Jewish Americans, like George Soros, as well as a number of moderate Arab and Muslim Americans who share J Street’s hope that peace and security can be achieved for both the Jewish and Palestinian people through a two-state solution.  

We do not accept Mr. Dunski’s statement that “one can logically assume” that people with Arabic sounding names can’t have the best interests of the state of Israel at heart.  In fact, we are heartened by support from both Muslim and Arab Americans for a reasonable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and hope to continue to develop even more such support.

Further we stand by our support for Jewish institutions, including JCCs and theaters, that host thought-provoking theatrical productions or conversations about the conflict.  We believe a former member of Knesset and Ambassador like Colette Avital’s words deserve serious consideration when they flag for a Jewish American audience the implications for the future of Israel of the failure to reach a two-state solution.

Lastly, Ambassador Avital did not use the word “apartheid” in connection with “the treatment of Palestinians by Israel”.  She used it in discussing the dilemma Israel will face, in the absence of a two-state solution, in trying to preserve its character as a both Jewish and democratic state while retaining all of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, in which the majority will be not be Jewish.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also highlighted this dilemma, saying that if the two-state solution collapsed, Israel would “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.”

Rather than calling names those with whom he disagrees on such issues as how best to confront Hamas, perhaps Mr. Dunski’s next missive to the Light might explain how he sees Israel remaining both Jewish and democratic if it fails to reach peace with its neighbors or to end the occupation of the West Bank.

Gillian Rosenberg, Midwest Regional Director, J Street