On Tuesday, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) weighed in on the upcoming vote on J Street's application to join the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. USCJ will vote in favor of the self-labeled "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobby's bid.
"The Conference of Presidents is designed as a forum in which the Jewish community, in all its diversity, can come together to discuss the major issues of the day and speak with world leaders and organizations as representatives of the Jewish people," USCJ CEO Rabbi Steven Wernick and International President Richard Skolnik said in a statement. "As Conservative Jews, we stand for religious pluralism, and believe we are stronger as a people when we listen to the range of voices within our community."
Wednesday's Conference of Presidents vote is seen as a litmus test for whether or not J Street's views fall within the so-called "big tent" of the mainstream American Jewish and pro-Israel community.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) hasn't hidden its feelings on the subject. Ahead of the vote, ZOA distributed 18 bullet points for why it believes J Street should not be admitted to the Conference of Presidents, and has slammed J Street's statements on the Palestinian unity deal and Secretary of State John Kerry's "apartheid state" remarks.
"J Street has again demonstrated that it is an extremist group, hostile to Israel, by supporting Secretary of State John Kerry's 'apartheid' accusation against Israel," ZOA said Monday.
J Street said the following on Kerry's controversial comments"
"Israel today is not an apartheid state, and that's not what Secretary of State Kerry said. For over a year now, Kerry has argued that, without a two-state solution, Israel is risking its future and its values as it moves toward permanent rule over millions of Palestinians without equal rights. Former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert have used the 'apartheid' term as well to describe this possible future. Instead of putting energy into attacking Secretary Kerry, those who are upset with the Secretary's use of the term should put their energy into opposing and changing the policies that are leading Israel down this road."