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Jeremy Ben Ami Responds to Harsh Criticism of J Street

Last week in a Times of Israel Blog, Rabbi Brian Strauss of Houston, Texas accused J Street (a pro-Israel, pro-peace, and pro-democracy political organization in Washington, D.C.) of being anti-Israel based on a selective misreading of J Street statements and actions. Here is his piece – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/j-street-is-honest-about-what-it-is-we-just-have-to-listen/

J Street’s President and CEO, Jeremy Ben Ami, responded, also in a Times of Israel Blog, and clarified J Street’s policy positions which, according to polls, represent the views of 70% of the American Jewish community vis a vis its support of Israel, its security (e.g. support for the Memo of Understanding granting $3.8 billion military support annually for ten years, support of the Iron Dome defense system, support for the JCPOA, and against BDS), prospects for peace and justice with the Palestinians (opposes Israel’s Occupation policies and the expanding settlement enterprise), and supports democracy in Israel and the United States. Here is his piece – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/j-street-and-what-it-really-means-to-be-pro-israel/

I urge those who are concerned about the historically close and important American-Israel relationship and what J Street actually advocates to read both articles carefully. Also, I suggest that they look at J Street’s website (www.jstreet.org) and read its policy positions, blogs, and press releases, and then come to an informed conclusion about J Street’s positions and advocacy work. They may disagree with positions J Street has taken, but it is important that civility amongst American Jews and a respect for each other’s pro-Israel bona fides be sustained and that name-calling and the questioning of motives vis a vis Israel be rejected.

A disclaimer: I have been a supporter of J Street from its beginnings in 2009. I believe in its mission and advocacy goals before the American Congress and Administration as well as its role as a safe space for pro-Israel liberal and progressive American Jews to express their liberal American Jewish values. I serve currently as a national co-chair (with three colleagues in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Tel Aviv) of the J Street Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet that has grown to 1100 members nationally.

About the Author
John L. Rosove is Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles. He is a national co-Chair of the Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet of J Street and immediate past National Chairman of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA). He serves as a member of the newly created Union for Reform Judaism's Israel and Reform Zionism Committee (IRZC). John was the 2002 Recipient of the World Union for Progressive Judaism International Humanitarian Award and has received special commendation from the State of Israel Bonds. In 2013 he was honored by J Street at its Fifth Anniversary Celebration in Los Angeles. John is the author of two books - “Why Judaism Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove” (Nashville: Jewish Lights Publishing, a division of Turner Publishing Company, 2017) and "Why Israel [and its Future] Matters - Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove" (New Jersey: Ben Yehuda Press, 2019). Both are available at Amazon.com. John translated and edited the Hebrew biography of his Great Granduncle – "Avraham Shapira – Veteran of the Haganah and Hebrew Guard" by Getzel Kressel (publ. by the Municipality of Petach Tikvah, 1955). The translation was privately published (2021). John is married to Barbara. They are the parents of two sons - Daniel (married to Marina) and David. He has two grandchildren.
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