Seeking a Palestinian Partner for J Street

J Street is a large and growing American Jewish organization that calls itself pro-Israel, pro-peace. J Street supports the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. The goal of J Street is for Israel and the Palestinians to take steps to negotiate a two-state solution that is fair to both sides. J Street also wants Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank. (Presumably, the occupation will be ended by a two-state solution.) J Street opposes BDS because by boycotting Israel, BDS undermines the trust needed for reaching a two-state solution.

J Street is one voice in the American Jewish community which advocates for both Israelis and Palestinians. J Street will have greater credibility among American Jews if J Street can find a partner organization within the Palestinian American community. Why don’t the leaders of J Street search for Palestinian Americans who would be willing to form a Palestinian American partner organization to J Street, perhaps named P Street, which would augment the goals and actions of J Street? People who join P Street, which could be described as pro- Palestinian, pro-peace, would share J Street’s belief that being pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel are not mutually exclusive positions.

Working together, J Street and P Street could jointly lobby the American government to take actions that they believe would encourage Israel and the Palestinians to start negotiations for a two-state solution. Both organizations could also jointly endorse American legislative candidates who agree with their shared positions. (J Street already lobbies the American government and endorses American legislative candidates.) In addition, J Street has urged the Israeli government to take steps which J Street believes would facilitate the start of peace talks. (To date, the Israeli government has largely ignored these suggestions.)  Acting in parallel with J Street, P Street could urge the Palestinian Authority to take steps which would enhance the prospects for beginning negotiations with Israel.

About the Author
Ted Sheskin is a professor emeritus of industrial engineering at Cleveland State University, and the author of a textbook, Markov Chains and Decision Processes for Engineers and Managers. He has published peer-reviewed papers on engineering systems and mathematical algorithms. His letters to editors addressing politics, economic policy, and issues facing Israel and American Jews have appeared in the NY Times, Daily News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Jewish News, Jewish Week, the Forward, and Jewish Voice.
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