Having returned from J Street’s annual conference in Washington, I find myself mystified by the terminology in your article (“J Street Copes With Its Left Flank At Conference,” JTA, March 4). I believe in individuals’ rights to representative government in a sovereign country, to own and enjoy their private property without fear of its seizure, to move around without hindrance and generally to engage in the pursuit of happiness. Such American — and Jewish — values are espoused across the political spectrum. Why then, do they suddenly become “left wing” when they are aired at a J Street conference, in the context of the Palestinians?
I am equally bemused how anyone supporting the continued occupation of the West Bank could possible be described as pro-Israel. The status quo, with its expansion of settlements, destruction of Palestinian property and humiliating denial of basic civil liberties, offers the most effective recruiting tool imaginable for extremist organizations bent on Israel’s demise. If we are to secure Israel’s future as a democratic Jewish state, which is J Street’s raison d’être, we must bring the occupation to an end and replace it with an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.
J Street’s call for an end to the occupation is moderate, not left wing, and very pro-Israel.