J Street’s Not Pro-Israel or Pro-Peace

J Street called Jamaal Bowman a “champion” after he took his name off bipartisan legislation supporting the Abraham Accords.

Even the most aspirational dreamer couldn’t have foreseen the remarkable speed with which Israel and its Abraham Accords partners have forged a new era in the Middle East.

In just a few years, we’ve seen a warm peace complete with coexistence projects, travel exchanges, academic partnerships, business and trade agreements, and security cooperation where Israeli technology is helping protect Arab and Muslim communities across region.

And this is just the beginning.

But there is more work to do to strengthen and formalize these partnerships. The rest of the story is up to us to help write.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees.

J Street is currently telling members of Congress that it opposes a bipartisan bill that embraces and strengthens the Abraham Accords – contending that if it doesn’t address the Palestinians or democracy in Israel, they are against the entire effort.

Of course, I too want to see a two-state agreement and Israel’s democracy to be preserved and strengthened. These are critical issues.

But discouraging our elected officials from strengthening the Abraham Accords and promoting coexistence?

That’s not pro-Israel or pro-peace.

Notably, J Street’s justification for opposing this bill doesn’t extend to another bill that it endorses. The organization is currently partnering with the most anti-Israel members of Congress like Rep. Rashida Tlaib (who opposes a two-state solution), openly anti-Zionist groups, and pro-BDS organizations by supporting a bill that also doesn’t explicitly reference a two-state agreement or Israel’s democracy.

What the anti-Israel, anti-peace bill does do is smear Israel with discredited reports and add new political conditions on security aid to the Jewish state. Of the bill’s 27 cosponsors, 20 are endorsed by J Street.

This hypocrisy is at the heart of an emerging pattern with J Street: They pretend to be one thing—pro-Israel—when their actions are anything but.

The organization is consistently on the wrong side of pro-Israel issues. J Street opposes bills that help Israel and supports bills that hurt Israel.

Earlier this year, Congress voted on a bipartisan bill to create a permanent U.S. envoy to strengthen the Abraham Accords. It passed with 413 votes, yet J Street endorses six of the 12 Democrats who voted against it.

When Congress voted overwhelmingly to approve emergency funding for Iron Dome, J Street again endorsed half of the eight Democrats who voted against it.

When Ben & Jerry’s pushed a boycott of Israel that then-Prime Minister Yair Lapid called “a shameful surrender to antisemitism, to BDS and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse,” it was J Street who publicly defended Ben & Jerry’s.

Nearly every member of Congress recently voted to stand with Israel and celebrate its 75th anniversary, but 13 of the 19 who didn’t are endorsed by J Street.

And when a member of Congress added his name to a bill to advance normalization between Israel and its neighbors, it was the J Street trip to Israel that persuaded him to take his name off the legislation. They then gave Rep. Jamaal Bowman $100,000 for his reelection.

Last December, Ha’aretz astutely noted that J Street is “growing increasingly critical and disillusioned with Israel.”

This isn’t the organization that was founded to be a “blocking back for peace;” it’s now an organization providing political cover for the most anti-Israel policies in Congress and actively working against Israel’s peace agreements.

It’s time to drop the façade and call it as it is: J Street is not a pro-Israel organization.

About the Author
Rabbi-Cantor Serebro-Litvak was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She made aliya to Israel in 1990 with her whole family where she pursued musical education at the Musical Academy of Tel Aviv University. In 1997 after graduation from the Musical Academy in Tel Aviv, she came to the United States. She continued her studies for a Masters degree from the Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary and was the first woman from the former Soviet Union to graduate from JTS. From July 2002 through June 2005, Cantor Inna Serebro-Litvak served as cantor at Temple B’nai Or in Morristown, New Jersey. From July 2005 through June 2018, she was on the professional staff at Temple Beth Am as their Cantor. Rabbi Inna Serebro-Litvak received her ordination and Masters Degree in Jewish Studies from AJR (Academy of Jewish Religion) on May 12, 2016. She currently serves as a solo clergy at Temple Shalom in Succasunna, NJ