Ahead of a vote on its bid to join the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” J Street has aired its views about the Palestinian unity deal on multiple occasions.
On Wednesday, following the unity pact signed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party and the terror group Hamas, the lobby said, "J Street regards today's news of a preliminary agreement on political reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas with caution and urges the United States to press forward with an even more assertive effort to forge a two-state solution. Today's developments only highlight how important it is for the United States—backed by the international community—to define the contours of a two–state solution."
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), a member of the Conference of Presidents and an opponent of J Street's membership bid, said in a news release the next day, "Incredibly, J Street's call came on the very same day that Hamas reiterated its demand for Israel's destruction and explicitly refused to renounce violence against Jews and Israel. ... Shame on extremist J Street for promoting yet another anti-Israel pro-radical-Islamist policy. Virtually every position that J Street has taken since its establishment endangers Israel's security."
Also this week, ZOA National President Morton Klein distributed 18 bullet points for why J Street "must not be permitted" to join the Conference of Presidents, a Jewish umbrella comprising 50 member organizations. Membership in the umbrella is perceived by some to be an indicator of acceptance as a "mainstream" American Jewish organization. The Conference membership's vote on J Street's application comes April 30 in New York.
After Israel's halting of its peace talks with the Palestinians on Thursday in response to the Fatah-Hamas deal, J Street issued another statement, criticizing the Jewish state for ending the negotiations before their April 29 deadline for a resolution.
"J Street believes the Israeli government’s decision to suspend peace talks with the Palestinians over the preliminary reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas is premature," the group said. "The reconciliation agreement has yet to be implemented, and many critical questions remain unanswered. With five days left before the deadline for Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace initiative, all involved should be searching for purposeful actions to revive the troubled process, not accelerating its demise."