In his blog on Times of Israel, “Say Thank You – It’s the Jewish Thing to Do,” Danny Gordis included statements about J Street that falsely represent the organization’s position and contradict the public record.
Gordis writes: “J Street, its web site tells us, is the ‘home for Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Americans.’ But we can’t make peace if we’re dead. Now that Iron Dome’s effectiveness has been so clearly demonstrated, have Jeremy or his Pro-Israel Americans found the time to express gratitude to the “communal institution” that’s saved Israel? If they have, I haven’t seen it. Have you?”
Had Gordis done a simple search on the J Street web site which would have taken around 20 seconds of his valuable time, he would have easily discovered that J Street has consistently lobbied for and supported funding for Iron Dome since 2010 when U.S. support for the program began. We are profoundly thankful that it exists and proud of our record of supporting it since day one.
Here is an abbreviated record, all available for public view on the website:
On May 14, 2010, our President, Jeremy Ben-Ami, released a statement saying: “J Street welcomes the Obama Administration’s recent Congressional request for additional funding for Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ to protect Israeli civilians from rocket attacks from Hamas, Hezbollah, and other militant groups. The project will help save lives and improve the quality of life of civilians, particularly in the South of Israel, who have lived under a cloud of fear of rocket attacks for too long. We urge Congress to quickly approve the funding.”
On April 23, 2012, we issued the following statement: “J Street strongly supports passage of the Iron Dome Support Act. Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ rocket defense system is essential to protecting Israeli civilians from rocket attacks from Hamas, Hezbollah, and other militant groups. Maintaining and expanding this project will help save lives and improve the quality of life of civilians, particularly in the South of Israel, who have lived under a cloud of fear of rocket attacks for too long.
Iron Dome is a critical element of robust U.S. assistance to Israel. American assurance of Israel’s security and qualitative military edge is an important anchor for a peace process based on providing Israel with the confidence and assurance to move toward the two-state solution essential to its long-term security and survival We applaud the Administration’s support for the bill, and urge its swift passage by Congress.”
We have subsequently issued statements calling for Congress to fund the Iron Dome or thanking legislators for doing so or in general praising the missile defense system on Dec 16, 2011, July 31, 2012, Nov. 18, 2012, April 23, 2013, May 28, 2013, March 5, 2014 and June 17, 2014. On July 15, 2014, we issued personal reflections of one of our Israeli staffers including her gratitude for the protection offered by Iron Dome.
We do not claim credit for ensuring that funding continues but we do have a voice in Congress which is listened to. So to say, as Gordis does, that if we had our way Israel would be in flames is just wrong — a horrible distortion of the truth.
Gordis seems to be so blinded by his hatred of our pro-Israel, pro-peace movement that he cannot stop for a moment to check his facts before lashing out with unsubstantiated and deeply hurtful accusations. Why? It’s appropriate to be thankful to all those who have supported Iron Dome — and that includes J Street.
Since this confrontation with Hamas has begun, we have repeatedly stated our solidarity with the people of Israel and upheld Israel’s right to defend its citizens. We condemned Hamas for rejecting a ceasefire – and yes, we have also expressed our sorrow at the deaths of Palestinian non-combatants in Gaza, especially children. We are beginning to think of possible ways to avoid a repetition of this tragedy two years hence, knowing that there is no military solution to this conflict.
That’s a principled, pro-Israel position which we stand behind proudly.